When Colin and I travelled to Naples, Italy, we only had one thing on our minds: food! We didn’t care about the sights, we paid no mind to where we would sleep, and we didn’t worry about transportation. All we needed to know was where to find our fill of pizza, pasta and more! And we definitely discovered exactly where to eat in Naples.
And not just where to eat in Naples – but what to eat too! This Italian city is famous for its pizza (which is amazing), but there’s more to Naples than just that. There’s pasta, baked goods, fried food, desserts, seafood… Is your mouth watering yet?
Yes, the food in Naples is amazing. It’s the reason to visit. In fact, I’d say it might be the only reason to visit (sorry, Naples!). This was my second trip to Naples, after first visiting in 2014, and the city itself doesn’t really do it for me. If you think Venice is dirty, just wait until you get to Naples. This city is gritty and certainly doesn’t care to clean up for tourists. I loved the authentic vibe but struggled in a place where the streets are literally strewn with garbage, where the traffic is horrendous and every street is crowded, and where there’s not much to do besides eat or go on a day trip to somewhere nearby.
Luckily, if you’re only looking to eat and do day trips, Naples is the perfect place for that. If you’ve never been to Naples before, I think it’s worth adding to an Italian itinerary – at least for a day of great eating! It’s also an awesome base for visiting Pompeii, Herculaneum, Capri, Sorrento and more of the Amalfi Coast.
But, let’s get back to the good stuff. Get ready to drool over my top suggestions for where to eat in Naples!
Pizza at L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele
Pizzeria da Michele is one of the most popular pizza places in Naples, and for good reason! The pizza here is delicious! Just ask the crowd waiting outside at almost all times of day, or the garbage collector who stopped in on his route for a pizza to go, or Julia Roberts, who filmed her iconic pizza scene of Eat Pray Love here. Or ask 2014 me, who dined at this very same pizza place!
At Michele, they only serve two types of pizzas, margherita or marinara. Both are very plain, but don’t mistake the lack of toppings for a lack of flavour. If anything, the flavour is even more important since all you’re tasting is the sauce, the dough and the cheese (if you go for the margherita, the marina is without cheese).
We arrived around 2:30PM, assuming we’d have missed the lunch crowd. But at Michele, there’s always a crowd. When you arrive, get the attention of the host who is handing out numbers. You need a number! You’ll then join the group of tourists and locals standing around outside until your number is called.
Luckily, we didn’t have to wait too long. Once our number was called, we found a table in the three-room restaurant and waited a while longer for a server to pay us any attention. There are no menus at Michele and barely any service. But you’re not there for the frills; you’re there for the pizza.
Despite people saying the pizza has gone down in quality since Pizzeria da Michele has become so popular, we still found it to be insanely good. I remember it being life-changing when I had it back in 2014. I don’t know if it was quite life-changing this time, but it was still pretty impressive. The dough was amazing! And as a bonus, two giant pizzas and two beers only cost us 15 euro!
Everything delicious when you Eatwith Anna & Pino
Our Eatwith experience was gifted but all opinions are my own!
One of the coolest things we did in Naples was an Eatwith experience. If you haven’t heard of Eatwith, they’re a company that facilitates local dining experiences such as cooking classes, dinners and food tours between locals and visitors.
For our Eatwith experience, we participated in a cooking class and dinner at the apartment of Anna and Pino, a local family from Naples. We struggled to get there, taking a cab (huge mistake!) in horrible weather with even worse traffic. We arrived late and I was in the worst mood. But as soon as Anna and Pino opened the door, my awful mood evaporated. They were so friendly and joyful that it was impossible to be anything but that ourselves. Plus, how can you not be happy when you’re cooking delicious Italian food?
Our experience started with Pino teaching us how to make gnocchi from scratch. It was fun and actually very easy – though I’m still waiting for Colin to recreate it for us here in Prague! We then helped to prepare a few more courses, before Anna lead us to the table for the meal to begin. Being an Italian meal, we started with wine, of which many glasses were drunk. Our first course was what I’m calling Italian pakoras, deep fried dough balls stuffed with seaweed or ricotta cheese. We had made these with Pino earlier and our handiwork was delicious!
Next we moved onto bruschetta and even Colin, the tomato-hater, was a fan. Then it was time for pizza fritta, fried pizza, which is basically Colin’s food heaven. We sampled one version, a fried dough with tomato sauce on top, and another one that was more of a calzone stuffed with cheese.
We then got to the main event, our gnocchi! This dish was my favourite. It was baked in the oven with tomato sauce and cheese and was so delicious! Seriously, Colin, why haven’t you made this for us yet?
And if that wasn’t enough, there was still more food to come! There was spaghetti puttanesca and then dessert of baba, a traditional rum cake you’ll see a lot in Naples. And, we couldn’t leave without tasting at least a few of their homemade liquers and limoncellos.
We feasted until we were about to burst. And the only thing better than the food was the company! We spent all night chatting with Anna and Pino, meeting their children, and hearing their stories of living in Naples. Anna and I took hilarious Snapchat photos and Pino drew out detailed maps of Naples for us to assist in our sightseeing. It’s not often you’re invited into a local’s home for a meal when travelling, so I’m incredibly grateful we had this experience.
When it comes to where to eat in Naples, I would strongly recommend Anna and Pino’s place!
Sfogliatella at Cuori di Sfogliatella
Another awesome benefit of meeting Anna and Pino was the recommendations they gave us, including getting sfogliatella at Cuori di Sfogliatella. Cuori di Sfogliatella, or the heart of sfogliatella, is a bakery with a few locations in Naples. And, as the name implies, the specialize in sfogliatella.
Sfogliatella is a flakey Italian pastry with lots of layers and stuffed with various fillings. They’re native to Naples, delicious and a huge mess. Traditionally, I think they’re filled with ricotta cheese. But at Cuori di Sfogliatella you can get ones stuffed with just about everything! They had colourful ones, savoury ones, and ones dipped in chocolate.
Needless to say, Colin and I were huge fans. In fact, we may have stopped by for sfogliatelle three times! We tried chocolate, lemon, apple, pistachio and almond. My favourite was the chocolate! But they were all delicious and I highly recommend you get your sugar fix at Cuori di Sfogliatella.
Pizza at Pizzeria da Gaetano a Porta Capuana
Yes, we’re back to pizza. When in Naples! There’s no shortage of places to eat pizza in Naples, and it seems every blogger, traveller and local has their favourite. But we did find a pretty great and off-the-beaten-path option close to our hotel. Pizzeria da Gaetano a Porta Capuana has really high ratings, and really good pizza, but isn’t crowded.
Colin and I split a prosciutto and rucola pizza and enjoyed it in a small dining area, with just a few tables all filled with locals. It was nice to be in a more low-key place that we didn’t find out about through a foodie blog (note the irony as I tell you about this place on my blog).
To be honest, I wouldn’t say this is the best pizza in Naples. But it was delicious! If you’re in the area and looking for a good quality pie, without the crowds, you’ll find it here.
Gelato at Gay Odin
I couldn’t possibly write a post about where to eat in Naples, Italy and not include gelato, right? Naples is more well known for its pizza and savoury dishes, but it is Italy, so gelato still must be eaten. Gay Odin is a chain of chocolate and gelato shops serving up some very delicious sweet treats.
If you’re looking for something sweet, you can’t go wrong here. They had some cool flavours, especially their chocolate options. It’s the perfect place to pop into for a snack as you’re exploring Naples, or just to cleanse your palate between pizza shops.
Cuoppo at Pizzeria Di Matteo
Cuoppo is one of the things you have to try when you’re in Naples. Cuoppo is Naples’ version of street food – deep fried, battered and available on almost every corner. You can get a sampling of seafood, meats, cheeses, potatoes or even just dough. And it will all be battered and deep fried. Naples is not a place you go to eat healthy!
We picked up cuoppo from Pizzeria Di Matteo, and ate it as we walked to our next destination for pizza. It was delicious! It was fun to try and guess what things were – because when it’s all battered and fried, it all looks the same – and to choose our favourites.
Besides fried appetizers, Matteo also makes great pizza. We didn’t have any on this trip but when I visited Naples in 2014, this was the first pizzeria I stopped at. And it made me fall in love with Naples’ pizza. Fun fact: Bill Clinton visited this pizzeria too and his pictures are on the wall! For the longest time, I just called it the “Bill Clinton pizza place” when telling people where to eat in Naples.
Pizza at Sorbillo
If you ask the internet where to eat in Naples, it will give you one answer: Sorbillo! This is easily the most popular and famous pizza place in Naples at the moment. And it does live up to the hype, so you’ll want to add it to your Naples itinerary. Follow my tips below to make the most of your experience!
First, you need to visit the right Sorbillo. You’re looking for Gino e Toto Sorbillo, on the corner. It’s suspiciously located next to two other restaurants also called Sorbillo; they’re clearly trying to get a piece of the original Sorbillo’s good press. The full names of the other restaurants are Antica Pizza Fritta da Zia Esterina Sorbillo and Antonio e Gigi Sorbillo, but all three restaurants on the same street go by Sorbillo. And they’re all packed! I’m sure the pizza at the other Sorbillos is also awesome, but the famous pizza people talk about is at the original Sorbillo, Gino e Toto Sorbillo.
The next thing you need to know are operating hours. Many restaurants in Naples will close between lunch and dinner. So no, showing up like we did at 3:00PM to try and avoid the lunch and dinner crowds won’t work because Sorbillo closes at 3:30PM. So by 3:00PM, they’re totally full with a big crowd outside and you have no hope of grabbing a seat. (Also good to note that they’re closed all day on Sundays.)
After not making it in at lunch, we made sure to arrive early for dinner. The restaurant opened at 7:00PM and when we got there at 6:30PM, the line was already to the end of the block. But we made it just in time! When they opened the doors at 7, we were the last people to make it in for the first round of seating. Tip: Get there before 6:30PM if you want a seat (and remember, this was November, so go even earlier in the busy season). Pro tip: Bring a cup of cuoppo to eat in line while you wait!
All right, so now that you know which Sorbillo to go to and when, let’s talk about what’s important here. The pizza! The menu is only in Italian, so bring out your Google Translate. But whatever you order, it will probably be delicious. We really loved the pizzas we had. Most pizza in Naples is pretty simple so it was interesting to see so many toppings and options here. Plus, the service is really great and quick. In addition to the pizza we ate for dinner, we also took an extra Margherita home for seconds!
But which pizza in Naples is best? Okay, let’s cut to the chase. Where should you go for the best pizza in Naples? Of the ones we tried, I think L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele has the best dough. The experience there is also pretty unique with the giant pizza oven, next to no level of customer service, only two types of pizza and cheap prices. I think it’s a must in Naples! Sorbillo is also pretty good though. If you prefer lots of choices and toppings, that’s a good pick.
But the best way to explore Naples’ food scene is to try it yourself! Don’t take my word on which pizza is best – go and try them all and decide which one you love most. (Then tell me, so I can go back and try it too!)
Pasta at Trattoria di Giovani
Believe it or not, Naples isn’t just pizza. There’s lots of other great food too. And one awesome place to have that food is at Trattoria di Giovani. Be warned, this place is in a bit of a rough part of town. But the food is worth it and you’ll be totally fine if you keep your wits about you.
Giovani’s is the place to go if you’re looking for some good home cooking. The loveliest Italian nonna, who speaks no English, comes out to greet you. If you’re lucky, she might even stop by the table with some free bruschetta. If you’re extra lucky, there will also be a cute dog hanging in the corner! There’s no rush to order, to get the bill or to find the sweet nona if you want to order something else.
And the food is delicious! We loved the pasta and the grilled calamari. I loved my pasta so much I even ordered another one to-go for dinner later!
Graffa at any bakery
Graffa is Naples take on the donut. Basically, this whole city is just carbs covered in tomato sauce (pasta or pizza) or carbs covered in sugar. And graffa is definitely covered in sugar. These donuts are extra large, fluffy and sweet. On this trip, we grabbed one from a random cafe we passed and it was delicious. I imagine it’d be even better if we went to a special bakery.
Back in 2014, my friend Nabil and I found a bakery where they stuffed nutella into the graffas. It was amazing! I can’t remember the name or where it is but if you are in Naples and happen to find it, let me know!
PS: In my opinion, graffa or sfogliatella over Naples other famous dessert, baba, every day of the week! Baba is a cold cake-like pastry that is soaked in rum. I always find it too strong and it’s even worse since it’s cold and kind of tasteless (besides the overpowering taste of rum).
Okay, last but not least, let’s talk drinks.
In Naples, you’ll definitely want to try the coffee. You are in Italy, after all! I’m not a huge coffee person, but enjoyed the coffee included in our hotel’s breakfast. But definitely check for a special coffee shop to try some of Naples’ famous coffee.
The other famous drink you need to try in Naples is limoncello. This is drank all over Italy as an apertif after dinner, but it’s especially big in Naples. When we were having our Eatwith experience with Anna and Pino, we got to try their homemade limoncello and other fruit liquers they had made. The apple was delicious!
What else to eat in Naples?
Full yet? Probably. Honestly, eating was pretty much the main thing we did in Naples. But in case you’re still hungry, here are a few dishes we didn’t manage to try:
- Pasta alla Genovese: This pasta dish is famous to Naples but has a few too many onions for our taste.
- Buffalo mozzarella: I was hoping for some BuMo the whole time we were in Naples but it just didn’t happen.
- Parmigiana di Melanzane: Cheese and tomato sauce? Yes. Eggplant? Not my fave.
- Ragu sauce: Another delicious pasta sauce you can find in Naples is ragu. And no, not the sauce you get in a jar at the grocery store. When I was in Naples in 2014, my friend and I went to a really cool ragu restaurant where you paid based on how fast you could finish your meal!
- More seafood! For a city on the coast that specializes in fresh seafood, I’m sad we didn’t eat more of it.
By now, you should be drooling all over your screen and have a great idea of where to eat in Naples. So wipe up that drool and book your ticket! Where would you eat first?
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