Where to eat in Naples

1. Friggitoria-Pizzeria Giuliano, Calata Trinia Maggiore 33, open at 7 a.m. or so, one of the best pizzas I’ve had, and for only four euros.

2. Mandara, Via Ponte di Tappia 90-92, doesn’t look like much, more of a deli than restaurant, order at the counter and mimic the choices of others.  Go before the line heads out the door.

3. Il Piccolo Ristoro, Calata Porto di Massa, inside the port, not really on a street, the cabbies seem to know where it is, only a few tables, one of the best seafood meals I’ve had.  Not outrageously expensive.

Recently I had two and a half days in Naples, following a meeting in Rome, and it is one of my favorite cities.  To live in, it combines the worst of Europe and the developing world…to visit, it combines the best of Europe and the developing world.


No one will ever use this. This is all about Tyler. Boring. Trash it.

I will

Me too.

You don't eat, won't travel, not curious. Boring people...

Me too. In December.

If it is so boring, than why will you yourself use it?

Seems a little harsh. He had good experiences at these places and he is passing it on. That's somewhat useful. Still, I find the tone of Tyler's food blogging problematic. Litigators learn that one of the best ways to discredit an expert is to get him to opine about subjects for which he lacks genuine expertise. It opens them up for devastating impeachments because the expert does not really know how to protect himself. And, even though these impeachments do not relate to the expert's actual expertise, they undercut his credibility, often fatally. I think of this whenever Tyler blogs about food. Rather than just sharing his experience, it seems like he is holding himself out there as an expert on Neapolitan restaurants or "authentic" Indian or Sichuan cuisine. And I have a lot of trouble believing that Tyler really is an expert in these areas. It makes me wonder where Tyler's real expertise lies (I presume in economics and, possibly, a few other subjects, like chess) and how often his blog posts are simply covering his random thoughts and impressions with a pretense of expertise.

Had Tyler written this about some small village in Tibet that no one ever visited, your comment might have merit. Naples is hardly an unknown hideaway, visited only by people looking to signal themselves as elite travelers.

It is, though, about the most divise tourist destination in Europe. It is the only place (outside of a school yard) where I have ever been physically attacked, yet I still loved it. My wife will never go back, although even she admits it's a great food city.

Every since Tyler has been constantly linking to Matthew Yglesias, MR has had a lot of trolls. ugghh..

Are these just the places that you ate at duing your 2.5 days there? How do you know those are the best places to eat?

It's impossible to go wrong in Naples with espresso, though some places sfogliatelle are better than others. When I was in Naples last year for 3 days I think I ate 6 sfogliatelle. I apologize for not knowing the name of the place, but the best I ran across was behind the Hotel Cavour on the Piazza Garibaldi (the big ripped up piazza in front of the train station). The bakery (and it was just a carry-out bakery) is in the block of buildings with the hotel...follow the building around the back and there you are. Saturday morning at 7:45 a.m. the line of customers was out the door.

markets in everything - religion

Recommending restaurants in Italy is generally redundant.

Ben, there are actually plenty of terrible restaurants in Italy.

I'm with Ben. On a 2-week Italian honeymoon -- in all of the touristy places, no less -- the worst meal we had was Merely Very Good.

At one point, in great haste, I had to grab a piece of lasagna at the first place I saw outside the train station in Rome. A clear-cut recipe for gastrointestinal disaster. But it was absolutely incredible.

I'm sure they are not all great, but rating Italian restaurants is like rating Miss Universe contestants. Fun, but generally not necessary.

I had a couple meals I can honestly describe as "awful" when travelling in Rome. We learned to not ask the concierge at our hotel for recommendations after that.

Unless you stay at very, very nice hotels — say, Four Seasons and up — never ask the concierge for advice on anything. The overwhelming majority will direct you exclusively to businesses that provide them kickbacks, and businesses that attract customers by bribing people in the travel industry generally suck. This is a universal truth across the world, up there with death and taxes.

Except for Bologna, where they take their food Very Seriously. It is one of the very few places where those idiotic "where to eat" touristy sheets that they have in the rooms was spot on, every time. As are the folks at the front desk.
Its still hard to credit, but its true...

That's been my experience. The italian food scene seems to have a high floor, but a lower ceiling than, say, French cuisine.

In general, the Italian food scene seemed extremely conservative. Nearly every menu was the same.

Don't overdo it, chaps. Much as I've liked Italian nosh, the worst pizza I've ever eaten was in Venice. Tuscany, though; Milan; the Lakes.... Yum, yum.

I clearly have the wrong job.

I'm with you Steve! I'd love to back to Naples sometime. It was so unpretentious and fun. And the pizza was great as well of course.

So where's the place that combines the best of Europe and the developing world if you LIVE there, and the worst to visit on that basis? I submit Portugal or Northern Spain.

@dearieme: Venice has a bad reputation for food because most tourist-friendly restaurants hock pizza and pasta, neither of which are Venetian, to visitors. Had you chosen a risotto with seafood or gone to one of the city's many wonderful bacari for cichetti (Venice's answers to tapas), you wouldn't have been disappointed.

Better luck next time. I've had terrible food in Venice but then was lucky enough to marry a Veneta and that stopped.

Well, while we're at it, let me throw in il Pizzaiolo del Presidente, Via dei Tribunali, 120-121. Very near the Duomo. My vote for "best pizza ever" and it was €17 (cash) for two pies, a big coke and a beer. Exactly the right atmosphere, somewhere between kitsch and art/Brooklyn and Naples.

Aw, Hank, you can't expect me to take culinary advice from someone who drinks coke with his food. Anyway, we found the answer in Venice was to eat the sea food, just as you say.

To me sfogliatelle is only second to lobster in my favorite things to eat list.

A few comments from someone who moved to Naples (after ten years of shuttling between here and the US) in large part for the food....

Giuliano (known locally as 'o sozzuse, the filthy one) is a great place for fried stuff and stuffed pizzas but they also do a margherita that I would put in the top 20 in Naples and I'm not surprised Tyler liked it.

La Pizzeria del Presidente was started in 1992 when Ernesto Caccialli, the master pizzaiolo of the neighbouring Di Matteo, left to start his own place around the time of Clinton's visit for the G8. They used to be great - in my top 3 - but have gone downhill since Caccialli passed away last year.

The sfogliatella place that CrankyProfessor was referring to is called Attanasio and they have many pretenders but no equals.

Tyler...are you sure you ate at Piccolo Ristoro? The seafood place that all the port hands (and nearby office workers like myself) eat at shares a front porch area with Il Piccolo Ristoro but is much more makeshift and anonymous (in fact I don't believe it has a name displayed anywhere).

Happy to offer food and other tips to anyone visiting Naples.

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