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Where to Eat in Naples – a food and dining guide

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Foodies, this is it: the Holy Grail. In few other places will you see such passion poured into food, with so many grocers, butchers, bakeries, cafés, and restaurants stuffed into the tiniest of streets. Naples is the fire of Italy’s oven, and the birthplace of several classic dishes, benefitting from the glut of beautiful ingredients provided by Mother Nature in this sun-soaked, coastal region. In short, it is a city to sink your teeth into.
Typical dishes

 

 

You haven’t had an authentic pizza until you’ve been to Naples. Cooked in a wood-fired oven, with expertly pummeled dough, a simple, classic margherita is hard to beat.

Centro Storico

 

With narrow lanes and tall, ochre buildings, throngs of tourists and irresistible Mediterranean aromas spilling from tiny trattorias, Centro Storico is the heart of Old Naples. You could spend hours trying to decide which traditional, red-checked tablecloth spot to go to. If it has a Vera Pizza sign – an organization which authenticates pizzas – it’s probably a good bet. For a rustic experience, an experience, visit Da Michele, which takes no reservations, has no fancy decor and serves only two kinds of pizzas, yet people turn up in their droves just for a taste. For a fancier dinner, try the five-dish tasting menu and wine selection at Michelin-starred Palazzo Petrucci.

 

• Da Michele, Via Cesare Sersale, Naples; Tel. +39 081 553 9204

Palazzo Petrucci, Piazza San Domenico Maggiore, Naples; Tel: +39 081 552 4068

 

Chiaia

 

Chiaia is a more genteel, cultural district, compared to the chaotic parts of the Old Town. Neighborhood restaurants, excellent seafood, and gourmet cafés dominate the area. Just off Piazza del Plebiscito, Gambrinus is a hot favorite with locals and tourists alike. With its grand salons, flaky, buttery pastries and intense, dark coffee, you’ll find it hard to resist temptation. For dinner, try the markedly more casual environment of Osteria Don Maccarone. It’s a tiny place, and the friendly staff are equally passionate about simple, excellent pasta dishes and the Napoli football team.

 

• Gambirinus, Piazza Trieste e Trento, Naples; Tel: +39 081 417582

Osteria Don Maccarone, Via Gradoni di Chiaia, Naples; Tel: +39 081 403 251

 

Quartieri Spagnoli

 

Just west of Chiaia, Quartieri Spagnoli is perhaps the most colorful and traditional district in Naples. Hop off at the Toledo metro station, and get lost in the network of tiny streets, crammed with bikes, vans, and pedestrians, as people yell at one another in a barrage of Neapolitan. Nennella is one of the liveliest neighborhood trattorias you’ll find – be prepared to shout loudly, and for the waiters to shout back in a surly manner. But you’ll be rewarded with delicious seafood and pasta dishes for a bargain price. Hosteria Toledo offers a slightly calmer environment, with large portions of traditional Neapolitan fare and a great selection of wines.

 

• Nennella, Vico Lungo Teatro Nuovo, Naples; Tel: +39 081 414 338

Hosteria Toledo, Vico Giardinetto, Naples; Tel: +39 081 421 257

 

Santa Lucia

 

This pretty little harbor district overlooks the oldest castle in Naples, which sits on its own island in the bay. As a romantic dinner destination, it’s ideal. The restaurants here do a brisk trade in seafood – you know it’s fresh if you can see the fishing boats coming in. Da Ettore is a family-run veteran of the restaurant scene here, and is a serious contender for the best margherita in Naples, so it’s hard to pass up the chance to taste it and judge for yourself. For alfresco dining with atmosphere, hop across the water to Trattoria Castel Dell Ovo, which serves up seafood platters on its waterfront terrace.

 

• Da Ettore, Via Santa Lucia, Naples; Tel: +39 081 764 0498

Trattoria Castel Dell Ovo, Via Luculliana, Naples; Tel: +39 081 764 6352