Few countries define the Mediterranean diet better than Italy. Few places on the planet manage to captivate as many people through the palate as the transalpine country, and that person who does not enjoy the flavors of pasta, risotto or pizza is a real rare bird in the globalized world in which we live. Although if there is something clear, it is that, as much as Italian gastronomy can be consumed in places as remote as Indonesia or Cambodia, there is nothing like tasting it in the country itself.

There have always been classes, and in Italy too. Italians proudly boast about their recipes (rightly so), but they are also aware that there are places where you can eat much better than others. Naples, in the Campania region, is certainly one of them. Since the dawn of the city of Partenopea, it has captivated locals and foreigners with its simple but exquisite gastronomy, its abundant but healthy dishes (leaving the sweets aside, of course) and its excellent variety of flavors that allow reaching the culinary Olympus in each bite. Not in vain, the Neapolitan origins go back to Magna Greek.spaghetti-alla-puttanesca.pngSpaghetti alla puttanesca, a typically Neapolitan dish.

Naples, where pizza is a world heritage site

Pizza in Naples is a world heritage site. Literally. And, therefore, it is practically an impossible mission to find a bad pizza in the streets of the capital of Campania, where even the most mediocre pizzeria is good (and at a good price). However, when you travel to the “Mecca of pizza” you don’t want to settle for a good one, but rather look for the best, and for many the best are found on via dei Tribunali, a long straight street parallel to Spaccanapoli, the scar that divides the historic center of the municipality in two.

Some of the most famous pizzerias are found on via dei Tribunali, where Gino e Toto Sorbillo stands out above all others, at number 32. Quality ingredients, a spongy and elastic dough, simple but unforgettable recipes… These are the weapons of this pizzeria that has passed from generation to generation to establish itself as one of the most famous in the city. If the line to sit down is very long, there are good alternatives in places like Vesi, a few meters away and with an equally spectacular product. pizza-from-naples.jpg

Let no one forget the pasta

It is true that the fame of Neapolitan cuisine lies in its pizzas, but this is not entirely correct. Moreover, it is a true injustice that deserves to be fought with the greatest of convictions. At least, this is what comes to mind when you try some of the most characteristic recipes of the area, such as spaghetti alla puttanesca, pasta with vegetables (something that has its origin in the humble tradition of Neapolitan citizens) or even the gnocchi alla sorrentina from neighboring Sorrento, which can also be proudly found in most trattorias in the city center.

All this in a place where, depending on the day, it is not uncommon for a singer to appear to liven up the party (and the staff following him) or even for people to sing the Italian anthem. Anything can happen in Naples, and even more so in da Nennella.

Seafaring tradition

The cliché of Italian cuisine is that it only has pasta and pizza. That wouldn’t be bad either, but nothing could be further from the truth. The Gulf of Naples, with Mount Vesuvius watching over it, is washed by the waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Therefore, it should not be surprising that in this city you can taste some of the most exquisite fish or seafood dishes in the entire Italian territory.

The octopus all’ischitana, or ‘calamaro’ mbuttunat (stuffed squid) or the salads with cuttlefish and prawns are some of the most famous seafood recipes, although not the only ones. Pasta, as expected, also usually accompanies many of them. The best restaurants to taste these flavors are usually found in the Santa Lucia neighborhood, one of the most historic in all of Naples due to its location next to the port and the Egg castle. The Pescheria Azzurra (via Portamedina 3/4/5) or the Pescheria Mattiucci (Vico Belledonne a Chiaia, 27) are sure hits.

The paradise of sweet tooth

It may sound like a hackneyed cliché, but in Naples it is a reality: you have to leave room for dessert. That, or add a couple more holes to the belt, which is not an option to rule out either. Who are to blame for this? The most famous sweets in the city of Parténope are the sfogliatella, the Neapolitan pastiera (both filled with a cream made from ricotta) and the rum babà, a fluffy drunken sweet. 

But they are not the only ones, although they are the most common: snowflakes, struffoli or zeppoles (these, very typical for Father’s Day) are other proper names to write down on the gourmand list.

In via Sanità, 147, north of the old town (very close to the birthplace of the emblematic actor Totò), is one of the favorite places for Neapolitans to unleash their gluttony. Antico Tarallificio Poppella is the name of this place, which traces its origins back to the 50s of the last century. There it is possible to taste all the recipes mentioned above (in fact, i fiocchi di neve were born there), and more. And if we add to this an espresso or macchiato (Naples is one of the cities with the greatest coffee tradition in Italy), the combo is unbeatable.

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