If you cannot get excited about the food in Italy, you may want to check your pulse. Eating great food is one of life's biggest pleasures, and even in the culinary heaven of Italy, Naples stands out. This is because Naples is the birthplace of pizza, and things always taste better in their hometown.
Pizzas in Naples
By the time you reach Naples, you may have eaten quite a few pizzas. You may even think you never want to eat another pizza again. But the pizza in Naples is different. Restaurants display the "Vera Pizza Napoletana" sign, meaning their pizzas are certified by the pizza governing body as being genuine representations of the traditional Neapolitan pie. Pizzas in Naples (and in much of Italy) are consumed using a knife and fork, they serve one, and they are not sliced into triangles. They tend to be moister than conventional versions because the fresh cheeses have a higher water content. They are also the best pizzas you will ever taste.
L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele
This pizzeria on Via Cesare Sersale is considered by many to be a bigger Neapolitan attraction than the Duomo or the football - particularly after it featured in the book/film Eat Pray Love. The menu at L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele is short and simple, but the ingredients are stunningly fresh, and the tomato sauce is legendary. Prices are tiny, and the atmosphere created by crowds of eager diners is buzzing.
Di Matteo has been serving great pizza in Naples since 1936. Situated on the Via dei Tribunali, it serves fried delicacies and small pizzas from a window onto the street. Alternatively, you can enter through the kitchen past the furnace-like pizza ovens and sit down in the restaurant for a stellar pizza experience.
Pizzeria Vincenzo Costa
Italians take their football as seriously their food, so don't be surprised to find a pizza named after a soccer legend. Pizza Maradona, at Pizzeria Vincenzo Costa, near the courthouse in Naples, is a fitting tribute to the star. Enzo Costa and his father before him have been serving the flat, round calzone stuffed with mozzarella, tomato sauce, ricotta, ham, and mushrooms since 1987, the year Maradona brought the city its first soccer championship. Maradona's number 10 is depicted in pizza dough on top of the pizza.
Il Pizzaiolo del Presidente
On the same street as Di Matteo, Il Pizzaiolo del Presidente also operates via a window on the street and an inner restaurant. The pizza is great, but its biggest claim to fame is that former U.S. president Bill Clinton ate here (hence the name and the American flags). If there is a queue here or at Di Matteo's, try I Decumani. The pizza fritta here is very good, if you just want a snack.
La Dolce Vita
You deserve a little sweetness in your life, and what better way than with a pastry from one of Naples' tempting bakeries. Scaturchio's, in the Piazza San Domenico Maggiore, is the oldest pastry shop in Naples, and the Gran Caffe Cimmino on via Gaetano Filangeri is another fine establishment. Try the decadent flourless chocolate cake called torta al Caprese, the croissant-like sfogliatelle straight from the oven, or a rum-soaked baba.