For a city that generates a lot of differing opinions, Neapolitan cuisine is universally celebrated. Not only is it the birthplace of pizza and home some of the best pastries and street foods in all of Italy, Naples has also perfect the art of la cucina povera, or “poor man’s cuisine”. Many dishes uses simple ingredients, like seasonal vegetables and legumes, to create outstanding dishes that reflect the city’s traditions and surrounding territory. If you’re looking for the best food in Naples, you won’t be disappointed.
From rum-soaked pastries and flaky shells filled with ricotta to cheesy parmigiana di melanzane (eggplant parmesan), fragrant fish pasta and a tantalizing array of fried street foods in all shapes and sizes, Naples’ culinary heritage extends well past the humble margherita to include some of the most mouthwatering dishes you’ll find throughout all of Italy. This waterfront metropolis is a veritable feast for the senses.
Where To Eat In Naples In 24 Hours
9am: Coffee at Spazio Nea
Naples brews some of the best coffee in all of Italy: it’s smooth and luscious, with caramel undertones and little acidity. Start your day off with coffee at Spazio Nea, a cozy café and art gallery buzzing Piazza Bellini. This contemporary space has a lovely atmosphere, with fresh flowers and fairy lights, though you can also soak in some sunshine in the courtyard, located at the base of a grandiose 17th century staircase. (Spazio Nea is open all day and it’s also a great spot for after-dinner drinks.)
10am: Sfogliatella at Pintauro
One of the city’s many beloved sweet treats is the sfogliatella, a fragrant pastry stuffed with ricotta and candied orange peel and dusted with powdered sugar. It comes in two versions, “riccia” (“curly”) with thin flaky layers that resemble a lobster tail, and “frolla”, a softer pastry with a smooth crust for a shell. Try this treat at Pasticceria Pintauro, a pastry shop that dates back to 1785 but feels very #AccidentalWesAnderson, with teal blue walls and an illuminated Sans Serif “SFOGLIATELLE CALDE” sign below religious idols and bottles of limoncello.
11am: Stroll Through Pignasecca
Street markets are a great place to feel the pulse of a city so head over to La Pignasecca after breakfast to mingle with locals and peruse the color stands (and even more colorful vendors). La Pignasecca is the city’s oldest market and has dozens of jewel-toned fruit and vegetable stalls, fishmongers with equally photogenic arrays of fish, home ware and specialty food shops, clothes for sale and much more. It’s a great place for a quick bite to eat as well, as there are plenty of hole-in-the-wall restaurants and canteens sandwiched between stalls at the market.
1pm: Pizza at Concettina ai Tre Santi
Naples is home to thousands of pizzerias that churn out hundreds of mouthwatering pizzas each day so it can be hard to decide where to get your fix. I’ve dutifully eaten my way through the best pizzerias in Naples and keep coming back to Concettina ai Tre Santi because I love the pizza and I love the neighborhood. Located in the heart of Rione Sanità, this historic mainstay has recently been updated into a modern pizzeria but stays true to its roots, using carefully sourced ingredients for a truly decadent pizza. Simplicity reigns supreme in Italy so stick to a traditional margherita, with juicy San Marzano tomatoes, fior di latte mozzarella and lots of fresh basil and be prepared for a transcendental culinary experience.
See More: The Best Pizzerias In Naples
2pm: Baba al Rhum at Poppella
Just around the corner from Concettina lies another gem in the neighborhood, the 100-year-old Pasticceria Poppella bakery with an incredible array of sweet treats. Although Poppella is best known for creating the fiocco di neve, a round ball filled with whipped cream and dusted with powdered sugar, you should order one of its many variants of baba al rhum, one of the city’s most famous desserts. This impossibly airy, rum-soaked sponge cake comes topped with whipped cream, chocolate, pistacchio or dotted with wild strawberries. Or you can stick with a simple baba because there’s much more to eat on today’s menu.
3pm: Fried Pizza at Pizza Fritta 1947
Naples may be known for its margheritas but did you know it also serves up a delicious fried pizza? Pizza fritta is one of the city’s most beloved street foods and a longstanding tradition: these golden calzones were traditionally made by wives of the pizza makers and stuffed with inexpensive ingredients, such as ricotta and cicioli (fatty pork bits), as a way to make extra money for the family during World War II. Today, you can find them on the menu at most pizzerias as well as friggitorias (fried food stands) around the city. Stop by Pizza Fritta 1947 to try the “Posillipo”, a spin on the classic fried pizza with rocket, lemon zest, provola and caciocavallo cheese.
4pm: Caffè Nocciolato at Il Vero Bar del Professore
Italians believe that a post-meal coffee aids with digestion – and you may be battling a food coma at this point – so it’s time for your second cup of coffee. Stop by Il Vero Bar del Professore for its famous Caffè Nocciolato, a frothy espresso with cream and a sugary hazelnut paste for a boost to power you through the afternoon.
5pm: Fritti at Di Matteo
By now you’ll have realized that street food is everywhere you look in Naples, with fritti being sold seemingly around every corner. From supplì (fried rice balls) and crocchè (fried mashed potatoes), to melanzane fritte (fried slices of eggplant) and zeppole (fried pizza dough with algae), Neapolitans will fry most anything. One of the most intriguing snacks is frittatina, a deep-fried bundle of pasta with prosciutto, peas, provolone cheese and coated bechamel sauce. Take your pick at Di Matteo, one of the city’s famed pizzerias and historic friggitorias.
6pm: Beer by the Bay
Goethe famously coined the phrase “Vedi Napoli e muori” (“See Naples and Die!”) for its enchanting beauty. With a prominent position overlooking the Bay of Naples and Mount Vesuvius in the distance, the city is certainly one of the most enchanting in all of Italy. Don’t miss the chance to soak in the sunset by the waterfront, an experience best enjoyed with a Peroni in hand. If you head down Via Nazario Sauro you’ll see the lockout point.
8pm: Pasta at Nennella
For a delectable culinary and cultural experience, dine at Trattoria da Nennella, the most boisterous and heartwarming trattoria in all of Naples located in the evocative Quartieri Spagnoli. The waiters are theatrical, the location is super casual, and it’s just an all-around delightful experience for a visitor to the city (but get there early as it fills up quickly). Your menu includes a mixed appetizer, first course, second course, side and fruit – all for only €15. The pasta e patate con provola (pasta with potatoes and provola cheese) is a Neapolitan classic and I love the friarielli in padella (sautéed broccoli rabe).