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10 popular Italian dishes and drinks you must try in Naples

10 popular Italian dishes and drinks you must try in Naples

by Yulian Rohmy

Naples is the capital of the Campania region and the capital of the Metropolitan City of Naples, it is on the western coast of Southern Italy. It's the most densely populated city and the third-largest city in Italy. Naples means "New City" in Greek, the city was founded by Greek in the 6th century BC and it was called Panthenope at first. It was a part of the independent Kingdom of Sicily for a long time and it joined the Kingdom of Italy only in 1861. Naples is located near Mount Vesuvius, which destroyed Pompeii in 79 AD, and the extinct supervolcano Campi Flegrei made with 24 craters. 

The Naples harbour is one of the largest passenger ports in Europe and it's a very popular tourist attraction. The historic centre is the biggest in Europe and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Neapolitan cuisine is heavily influenced by Greek and Roman cultures and it's mainly based on seafood and vegetables. Naples is the birthplace of pizza, the city is also famous for its mouthwatering pasta. It boasts a number of Michelin restaurants. Read the guide and find out the best restaurants to try traditional Italian dishes in Naples.   

1. The best pizza in the world
The best pizza in the world
Neapolitan pizza

As its name implies, Neapolitan pizza originates in Naples, Italy. It is made with a basic dough, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and olive oil.

Gino Sorbillo
#1 of 1987 pizza restaurants in Naples, Italy
Via dei Tribunali, 32, Naples, Campania, Italy
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Neapolitan pizza is one of the most recognizable Italian dishes all over the world. There are three kinds of authentic Neapolitan pizza: Pizza Napoletana Margherita with fresh basil leaves and sliced mozzarella, Pizza Napoletana Margherita Extra with bufala, and Pizza Napoletana Mariana with tomatoes, oregano, and garlic. Pizzerias must meet strict requirements and apply only certain ingredients to cook authentic pizza: for instance, only mozzarella fior di latte or mozzarella di bufala are allowed. As for tomatoes, they must be raw pureed San Marzano ones. Genuine Pizza Napoletana must be cooked in wood-fired ovens and topped with fresh basil leaves and extra virgin olive oil. 

It's interesting that the very first pizza was invented here in 1889. The baker Raffaele Esposito cooked the pizza for the kind and queen, he used the ingredients whose colours resembled the ones of the Italian flag. That's how the story of pizza Margherita begins.

Visit the Gino Sorbillo restaurant, which is a Michelin Selection, the best pizzeria in Naples serving gorgeous pizza. Take into account there are always long queues but it's worth waiting.   

2.  A wide range of incredible pasta recipes
A wide range of incredible pasta recipes
Di Martino Sea Front Pasta Bar
#1 of 4459 restaurants in Naples, Italy
P.za Municipio, 1, Naples, Campania, Italy
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Naples is widely known for its great variety of pasta to any taste: spaghetti, ziti, paccheri, linguine, gnocchi, and so on. Pasta is traditionally cooked al dente and legumes are often added. The first reference of pasta dates back to the beginning of the 18th century when industrial production was launched nearby Naples. It's a must to enjoy magnificent spaghetti alle vongole, Napoli pasta, pasta and potatoes with provolone, pasta alla genovese, and so on, and so forth. The Di Martino Sea Front Pasta Bar offers its guests outstanding pasta.  

3. Zuppa di Cozze, Polpo Affogati and other seafood dishes
Zuppa di Cozze, Polpo Affogati and other seafood dishes
Trattoria Casetta Rossa
#14 of 1525 seafood restaurants in Naples, Italy
Piazzale Pisacane, Naples, Campania, Italy
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Take the chance to try a variety of seafood dishes in this port city. For example, try zuppa di cozze that is a very tasty mussel soup, a Neapolitan classic. It's a spicy dish made from fresh mussels, tomatoes, garlic, white wine, and olive oil. Polpo affogati (poached octopus) is another genuine Neapolitan dish: octopus is boiled and sauteed in olive oil, tomatoes, and peppers. Order the best seafood dishes at Trattoria Casetta Rossa and have a great evening outdoor.   

4. Eggplant parmigiana - a simple local favourite
Eggplant parmigiana - a simple local favourite
Parmigiana

It's one of the most popular Italian dishes made of thinly sliced, floured and deep-fried eggplants. Parmigiana is layered with eggplants, cheese and tomato sauce and then baked in the oven. Try it with zucchini or artichokes instead of eggplants.

Spuzzulè
#1 of 4993 pubs & bars in Naples, Italy
Via Sergente Maggiore, 54, Naples, Campania, Italy
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Parmigiana di Melanzane, or eggplant parmigiana, is a typical Neapolitan-style vegetable dish. Eggplants were brought by Arabs in the 15th century, and this vegetable has become the staple of Naples. The main ingredients of the dish are deep-fried slices of eggplants, parmigiano, mozzarella, basil and tomato sauce. Try this tasty hearty dish at the Spuzzulè restaurant. That is a nice place with a friendly staff.    

5. Panuozzo - fantastic huge sandwiches

Panuozzo is a large sandwich whose recipe was invented in 1982. It's considered a pizza alternative as it is cooked from light and soft pizza dough that is sandwich-shaped with a length of about 25-30 centimetres. Bread is baked for half an hour, stuffed with eggplants, tomatoes, bacon and cheese, then the dish is baked again. All the ingredients must be local and they must meet the strict requirements of DOP and IGP certifications. It's popular street food, take a stroll and enjoy exceptional panuozzo.        

6. Remarkable Neapolitan сoffee - customs and traditions

Although coffee reached Naples from Vienna only in the late 18th century, it is regarded as a coffee city today. It's a genuine ritual to drink coffee here: you should add sugar before pouring water, stand (don't sit!) and hold your mug with your right hand. Authentic Neapolitan coffee must be black, dark and strong. And it must be freshly made, reheating isn't allowed. Local water contains unique minerals, that's why Neapolitan espresso is so exceptionally tasty.         

7. Calzones - iconic inside-out pizza 
Calzones - iconic inside-out pizza
Calzones

This dish is a popular Italian oven-baked inside-out pizza. Calzones are made from pizza dough, folded into a half-moon shape and filled with mozzarella and ricotta cheese, vegetables, ham, salami or meat. They were invented in Naples in the 18th century and literally mean 'trousers' or 'stockings'.

Trattoria Pizzeria la Lazzara
#18 of 4459 restaurants in Naples, Italy
Piazza Francese, 9/10, Naples, Campania, Italy
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Calzones mean "trousers" in Italian, it's a classic Neapolitan dish that originated there in the 1700s. A full-sized pizza was folded in half as it was designed to be sold in the street and eaten on the go. Calzones are usually stuffed with ham or salami, pecorino, mozzarella, parmesan, and ricotta, parmesan, and they are oven-baked. Amazing calzones are served at Trattoria Pizzeria la Lazzara. You will return to this place again and again!

8.  Risotto alla Pescatora - seafood risotto of your dream
 Risotto alla Pescatora - seafood risotto of your dream
Risotto

This dish comes from Northern Italian whose climate is ideal for growing rice (riso means 'rice'). The key ingredient is semi-rounded short-grain rice cooked with meat, fish or vegetable broth. Try risotto with parmesan cheese and white wine. Add saffron for flavour and yellow colour.

Bistrot Diaz
#1 of 2847 cafes in Naples, Italy
Via dei Tribunali, 25, Naples, Campania, Italy
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Risotto alla Pescatora literally means "fisherman's style", it's a very tasty seafood risotto, a typical Neapolitan dish. The ingredients are simple: Carnaroli rice, fresh fish, squid, shrimp, mussels, clams, tomato sauce, garlic, parsley, and white wine. Enjoy delicious risotto at the Bistrot Diaz restaurant. Here you can ask for gluten-free options.       

9. Sfogliatelle - a delicious shell-shaped pastry

It's a classic dessert of Naples, the name means "small thin leaves". The dish was born by chance in the 17th century in the monastery of Santa Rosa. A nun accidentally mixed semolina, dried fruit, and liqueur. You can degust two variants of this shell-shaped pastry: curly one (puff pastry stuffed with ricotta, semolina, and dried food) and shortcrust one (all the ingredients are added to a shortcrust dough, there are no layers).    

10. Limoncello - famous lemon liqueur

This drink is very popular in Southern Italy, especially in Naples. Limoncello is easily recognizable by its neon-yellow colour (it's up to a syrup that makes it so bright). The beverage is usually made with grappa that is infused from the zest of local lemons and it gets sweetened with sugar so that limoncello has a strong flavour without lemon bitterness. The drink provides great digestive proprieties, and there are no chemicals. The alcohol content is 20-32%. As a rule, limoncello is served in small chilled ceramic cups.      

Have a great trip to Naples and enjoy its delicious cuisine!

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10 popular Italian dishes and drinks you must try in Naples