Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy pavilion has been a mainstay in our dining reservations since it opened. I even asked my family for an upcoming trip if they wouldn’t like to try something different this time—I was met with a resounding NO! There are many things that we love about Via Napoli and I think you will too—here are 8 of them:
8. The Staff
I’m just going to come right out and say it—the servers at Via Napoli are very easy on the eyes. I’m not sure where they come up with so many attractive servers, but it definitely enhances the dining experience. But they are not only attractive, they are also attentive and helpful. And if you ask they may share something with you about their hometown in Italy.
7. Fritto Misto
You will find that the majority of the items in my list are food items from the fantastic menu at Via Napoli. The Fritto Misto serves two people and it is a variety of delectable Italian foods including Calamari, Mozzerella, Arancini (more about that later), and just fried vegetables like asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms and eggplant served with a Pomodoro Piccante sauce for dipping. These vegetables are fresh and crispy—so delicious.
6. The Décor and Atmosphere
The décor inside the restaurant feels like an Italian villa with beautiful frescos painted on the walls. One of my favorite things is the multi-colored glass chandelier as you enter the check in and waiting area. The restaurant fills bright & sunny, and very open. The only downfall is that it is also very loud as the acoustics echo throughout the restaurant.
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5. Zeppole di Caterina
Zeppole di Caterina are ricotta cheese fritters with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Need I say more? This delicious and decadent dessert is a great way to top of your meal at Via Napoli—you may want to share though! These little nuggets of fried ricotta are served in a cone with the sauces on the side so you can dip as you wish.
Yet another menu item that makes my list of reasons why I love Via Napoli. Can you see why we keep coming back? There is more food than we can eat at one meal! Arancini is an appetizer option on the menu, and if you are not familiar it is a ball of fried risotto filled with mozzarella and meat ragu. It is a savory treat and a great option to split with your fellow diners before your meal.
3. Aqua Fresca
There are many drinks that I enjoy around the World Showcase and also many nice options at Via Napoli itself. But my personal favorite is the Aqua Fresca—specifically the Strawberry Aqua Fresca. I think I get it very time I dine there. It is served in a pretty Italian glass and has the strawberries in the bottom. It is light and refreshing. It cools you off and rehydrates you after a walk around World Showcase to get to Italy with just the right hint of strawberry flavor.
2. The Ovens
The element in Via Napoli that adds most to its character are the wood fired pizza ovens at the front of the restaurant. The three ovens have decoration around them to make each one look like a man with an open mouth—the open mouth is the oven part where the pizzas and other dishes are baked. Kids and adults alike love to check out the ovens, and the open kitchen with its hustle and bustle right in front of them add to the entertainment. Fun fact: each oven is named after an Italian Volcano: Vesuvius, Stromboli and Etna. Appropriate for ovens that reach 700 degrees, right?
1. The Pizza
The number one reason we keep coming back to Via Napoli is the pizza. It starts with the right ingredients and achieves perfection in those volcano ovens. The mozzarella comes straight from Italy. The restaurant uses water from the United States, but it is close to the alkaline of the water in Naples, Italy. San Marzano tomatoes are a must as well. The dough is hand stretched as well. All to make sure the rules are met for a certified “Vera Pizza Napolitana.” And I can tell you the proof is in the pizza! The result is a delicious pie with a thin crust that is bubbly from the hot wood fired ovens. We order the Mezzo Metro—a ½ meter of pizza. While the price tag is high compared to your local pizzeria, the result is worth it. The Mezzo Metro is wheeled over on a cart and hoisted onto risers above your table. It is gigantic and fun, and we don’t leave any slices when we are done. We are sort of traditional and order it half Margherita and half pepperoni most times, but I’ve also sampled several of the house combinations and they are fantastic flavors (shout out to the Prosciutto and Melon!).
Have you enjoyed a meal (or 2) at Via Napoli? What do you love about it?