Today, we’re traveling to Epcot’s Italy Pavilion for lunch at Via Napoli in this guest review by Julie B.!
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Buongiorni a tutti! I want to tell you about one of my favorite places for lunch in all of Disney World: Via Napoli, located in the Italy pavilion of World Showcase.
Via Napoli is a relatively recent addition to the dining options of Epcot (and part of a major restaurant overhaul in Italy’s pavilion over the past few years).
This pizzeria doesn’t disappoint when enlightening diners with the true wonders of Neapolitan pizza.
The first thing you should know about Via Napoli is that it’s huge, and I mean HUGE! When you walk into the main dining room you’ll notice that it’s very wide but also features sky-high ceilings. This does create a lot of echoing, so Via Napoli is not the best place to come for an intimate meal (but it’s great if you’ve got kids who need to blow off some steam).
A benefit of those high ceilings is that they have large windows and allow the room to be bathed in natural light. It’s one of the main reasons I love to dine here for lunch instead of dinner.
Another one of my favorite parts of the restaurant’s large size is the center table that stretches across the whole room. If you’re seated at this table, you’ll be right next to other parties, hinting at the Italian tradition of family dining. In Italy, food and family go hand in hand and Via Napoli has brought that beautiful tradition to Epcot.
Before you sit down (or at least before you leave after your meal), make sure to stroll past the open kitchen where you can watch the chefs preparing your pizzas.
Behind them are three wood fired ovens, aptly named after the three volcanoes of Italy: Stromboli, Vesuvio, and Etna. I love that each oven has its own personality apparent in the expression on the faces!
Via Napoli is primarily a pizzeria, but they do have more options on the menu.
We tried the minestrone soup. It’s not your typical red color because it’s a vegetable-based broth instead of tomato-based like most American minestrones. The flavor was mild and enjoyable.
After, we split the Frito Misto, a platter of fried vegetables, calamari, mozzarella, and arancini (fried risotto balls stuffed with meat and cheese — yum!).
This comes with a spicy tomato sauce for dipping (if you don’t like spicy, you can ask for a mild version without red pepper flakes). This is a perfect starter to share with everyone at the table. Everything was warm and fresh, but not oily. The breading was perfect and light, yet added an awesome crunch to the softer foods.
On the menu it says that this is for two people, but four of us still had some left on the plate when we were done!
Maybe that’s because we knew we had to save room for our pizzas! Via Napoli offers three different sizes of pizza: individual, large (serves 2-3), and mezzo metro (serves 3-5).
Our first pizza was the Capriciossa with eggplant, artichokes, prosciutto, and mushrooms. The saltiness of the prosciutto was a perfect contrast to the earthy eggplant and mushrooms!
Pizza number two is my absolute favorite — Prosciutto e Melone pizza, a white pizza (no sauce) featuring fontina cheese, mozzarella, prosciutto, cantaloupe, and arugula. I know, I know, you’re thinking “Cantaloupe on a pizza?!” But trust me, this combo is golden!
Between the saltiness of the cheese (count that — TWO cheeses! Mmmmm cheese!), the meatiness of the prosciutto, peppery flavor of the arugula, and sweetness of the cantaloupe, it’s pure poetry for your mouth! One bite and I do a little happy dance in my seat! I have no other way to explain this crazy combo except that it’s sweet/salty perfection to the max!
We didn’t order it on this trip, but on past visits I’ve also tried the Carciofi pizza, a white pizza with artichoke, fontina, mozzarella, and truffle oil. This pizza has truffle oil… enough said, I’ll eat it! You could put truffle oil on just about anything and I’ll love it! Plus when the extra oil runs off the side of the slices, you can rip off the crust from the pizza and dip it. Now that’s my idea of bread and oil!
Speaking of that crust, these pizzas are not your Average Joe pizzas. They’re made to meet the strictest requirements from Naples in everything from ingredients to style of preparation. They actually import the water used in the crust from a location that matches the water in Naples! Ordinarily I don’t care for pizza crust — it doesn’t have any of the toppings!- but this crust is mild, soft, and delicious. If a crust-hater like me cleans her plate, they’ve got to be doing something right!
After all of this Italian deliciousness, we were completely stuffed and didn’t have room for dessert this time. But if you fancy a little sweetness after your meal, the house-made tiramisu is delicious!
Having lived in Italy for four months, I sometimes yearn for the amazing pizzas I got so accustomed to there. In all my searching in the United States, this is easily the most authentic Italian pizza I have found! Everything from the flavor combinations to the style of cooking are perfect.
If you’re looking for a fun stop in World Showcase to cool off (house-made blood orange or strawberry fruit coolers or a pitcher of sangria are good for that) and enjoy a delicious lunch, bring your appetite and enjoy a true taste of Italy!
What’s your favorite pizza pie at Via Napoli? Let us know in the comments below!