Pizza Napoletana

We went to Bologna to eat spaghetti bolognese and mortadella, and in Rome we indulged ourselves with pasta carbonara. We ate gianduia in Turin and cantucini in Florence, and when we arrived in Naples, our first stop was a pizzeria. But Naples isn’t just about pizza, it’s about real Italian food, exactly as it is: simple and made with passion and dedication. This article is a virtual Food Tour in Naples Italy, in which I want to introduce you to six of the best and traditional Neapolitan dishes that you should try if you visit Naples.

Let the feast begin!

Food Tour in Naples

Neapolitan pizza – Food Tour in Naples Italy

I knew right from the very beginning that we would be eating a lot of pizza in Naples, but I had no idea that a simple slice of pizza – dough, tomatoes, mozzarella and olive oil – could bring me so much joy. Pizza napoletana isn’t just a pizza, don’t let the name fool you, it’s a little slice of heaven, and authentic pizzerias in Naples are little havens for both body and soul. Besides, in Naples you don’t eat pizza, you enjoy it. You let yourself be carried away by the smell of fresh basil and pampered by the taste of San Marzano tomatoes, tomatoes grown at the foot of the Vesuvius volcano. Pizza napoletana is not food…it’s art!

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that you must try pizza napoletana in Naples, because it goes without saying. Anyway, the first thing you will read about Naples will refer to pizza napoletana and Naples as the place where pizza was born…real pizza.

Where do we eat the best pizza in Naples?

Tripadvisor is full of restaurants and pizzerias, but there’s one place that stands above the rest, that has gone on from generation to generation, and where you’ll have an authentic Neapolitan experience. L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele is the place loved by tourists and locals, it’s a true temple, a holy place.

There may be even better pizza, but we haven’t experienced many locations. The first thing we did when we arrived in Naples was go to L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele. We had a great time there, the pizza was sensational and we really didn’t want anything else. But don’t think we didn’t have a comparison, in fact we went to another pizzeria and the experience was quite unsatisfactory (good pizza, bad service, higher prices).

A bit of the pizzeria’s history

L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele has physically been around since forever. More precisely since 1870, when Michele Condurro, after decades of courses, research and improvement, opened his own pizzeria with his family. The Condurro family traditions have been faithfully preserved by the fifth generation, and the pizzeria has been in the same location since 1930.

Physically speaking, there’s nothing fancy or fancy about the pizzeria, it’s a place where you go for a quick pizza fresh out of the oven, pay and leave happy. The menu is modest because the great Condurro was of the opinion that there are only two types of pizza – margherita and marinara – and that the perfect pizza should have a thin, light dough, tomato juice, mozzarella and a few basil leaves.

Food Tour in Naples

Eat Pray Love

The movie Eat Pray Love is responsible for the hordes of tourists and the endless queues you have to stand in if you visit Naples in high season. The author of the book, conveys even more emotion than the mere seconds-long scene in the film, saying these words about pizza at da Michele: “I love my pizza so much, in fact, that I have come to believe in my delirium that my pizza might actually love me, in return. I am having a relationship with the pizza, almost an affair.”

Food Tour in Naples

The best pizza in the world!

Like I said, after you stand in line (we didn’t stand too long, and when it was crowded, we simply got pizza to go), walk in, sit down at a table (try to sit at a table in the main room to enjoy the smell of pizza and get a live demonstration), order one of the 4 types of pizza, wait 10-15 minutes, during which time you wander your eyes to either the oven where the pizza is baked or the family photo boards. Then you enjoy your pizza, pay and leave.

A pizza over the edge of the plate costs €5, coperto is €0.5, and a juice or water costs €2-2.5.

Food Tour in Naples
Food Tour in Naples

Ice cream from Mennella – Food Tour in Naples Italy

The second thing I ate in excces was ice cream from Mennella. The gelateria was halfway between L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele and our hotel (Cineholiday Hotel), and from the very first evening, Mennlla tempted us with all sorts of flavours. Our favorites were gianduia and cantaloupe, and the most unique ice cream flavor we’ve ever had was apple peel (it was so good!). It was like we had a ritual…pizza napoletana and gianduia ice cream.

There are many Mennella ice-cream shops in the city centre; it is a family business; the ice-cream is made from natural ingredients and fresh, high quality milk; there are many special flavours: cassata, apple peel, etc; the price for two flavours of ice-cream is 2.5 euro.

Food Tour in Naples

St Joseph’s Zeppola – Food Tour in Naples Italy

Zeppola di San Giuseppe is by far my favorite dessert of this entire culinary journey. Personally, I love vanilla custard cakes, and Italians really know how to make a vanilla cake.

This cake is often found in southern Italy, and its origin is hotly disputed between Sicily and Campania, each of which believe that it was on their lands that this dessert originated. Other stories say the cake originated in North Africa, particularly Tunisia and Egypt, while others say it was invented during the Roman Empire. Whatever the story, Zeppola di San Giuseppe is the kind of dessert you eat on a shady terrace when taking a break from exploring.

Zeppola di San Giuseppe – Leopold CafeBar

The cake consists of a fried dough, similar to eclair dough, crusty, filled with vanilla cream and served with candied cherries. This is the original recipe, but various combinations are now available. At Leopoldo Cafe Bar – I really recommend this cafe-cafe, I had Zeppola with freckles.

The price for a zeppola is 3 euros. If you choose to sit on the terrace, there is an additional service charge of 2 euro/cake.

Food Tour in Naples

Baba – Food Tour in Naples Italy

Baba is the most famous Neapolitan dessert, which actually does not originate in Naples. Strange, isn’t it? All pastry shops sell baba, in all possible forms – small, large, chocolate, cherry, plain, whipped cream or vanilla, and so it has easily become one of the most famous cakes in town. In other words, it’s hard to leave Naples without tasting this fluffy, syrupy and extraordinarily sweet cake.

Where was the Baba cake invented?

As I said, baba – short for Ali Baba, is a cake that originated in a small town in 18th century France, in the kitchen of an exiled Polish king. The king, who had no teeth (it was fashionable at the time :)) ), took an Austrian cake and soaked it in Tokaji, a type of Hungarian wine. Later, his daughter replaced the wine with something even better…Jamaican rum. Apparently the dessert traveled around Europe until it ended up in Naples, where it took root.

Personally, baba is not a dessert to my taste, but it’s worth a try. If you go to Leopoldo’s, in addition to a zepolla, order a baba, which costs 1-2 euros

Food Tour in Naples

Sfogliatella – Food Tour in Naples Italy

Another famous dessert in the Campania region is sfogliatella. It is believed that these cakes were invented 400 years ago in a monastery near Conca dei Marini. It is said that the intention was to reproduce a Sicilian dessert, but the nun of the Santa Rosa monastery added ricotta, mixed with dried fruit. Nowadays, every terrace in Naples sells delicious sfogliatelle like the one pictured.

Sfogliatella ricca is the most common version. It consists of a crispy pastry dough filled with flavoured riccotta cream.

They can be found everywhere in Naples and the price for a single piece is 1,5-2 euro.

Food Tour in Naples

Cuoppo – Food Tour in Naples Italy

Next to pizza fritta, cuoppo is a popular street food dish in Naples. O’Cuopp, in Neapolitan dialect, is the name for a paper cone filled with deep fried food. At the most famous stand in Naples, which is called Îl Cuoppo of course, you can buy a cone with various ingredients for 3-5 euros.

As well as the classics – mozzarella, fries and chicken, you can try a cone with anchovies – with sardines, with cranberries or with courgette flowers.

Food Tour in Naples
Food Tour in Naples
Food Tour in Naples

Food Tour in Naples Italy

Over the past five years we’ve travelled a lot around Italy, and in every place we’ve been, we’ve tried the local cuisine. And the truth is, we’re not crazy about Italian food…or at least we weren’t. Meanwhile Naples has changed our outlook a bit. As I like to say: Naples is a foodie’s paradise, it’s where you find true Italian cuisine. Of course there are many other delicious dishes in Neapolitan cuisine, which I hope we will be able to discover on our next Naples escapade.

Have you been to Naples? Where did you eat the best pizza napoletana? What other dishes have you tried?

Read more:

The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Pompeii

Polignano a Mare – a day trip from Bari (Puglia Itinerary)

A short guide to Alberobello

The Ultimate 4-day Travel Itinerary in Puglia / Italy