What to Eat in Naples: 11 Treats You Should Not Miss
Italy, of course, is famous for its food. But dive even just a little into Italian food culture, and you'll find that Italian cuisine is intensely regional. That's as true of the southern Italian city of Naples as it is of anywhere else in the country.
In fact, what foreigners think of as Italian food is often Neapolitan in origin. After all, this is where pizza, possibly the world's favorite food, was invented, and an authentic Neapolitan pizza is something you absolutely have to try while you're in Naples.
But there's much more to Neapolitan cuisine than pizza Margherita. Visiting Naples allows you to dive into the incredible flavors and traditions of Neapolitan street food and eat your way through not only one of the most beautiful of all Italian cities but one of the best for local cuisine.
Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage in Naples, and you'll have your hands free to grab a delicious pizza and other iconic Italian dishes. Local food is a way of life in Naples, as you can see from our Naples street food guide. And if you have dietary restrictions, don't worry. Neapolitan food offers plenty of vegetarian options, including some of the best Naples restaurants for vegetarians in this guide.
Naples food: Pizza
There's no way around it. We have to start here. Pizza was invented in Naples, and the Neapolitan pizza remains a huge point of pride for locals in the city.
Naples pizzas are cooked very quickly in an intensely hot woodfired oven, which gives them their unique slightly charred crust. Unlike pizzas you may be used to elsewhere, Neapolitan pizza makers insist on only the highest quality ingredients. That's why it's best not to go overboard with the toppings. A simple pizza Margherita, made only with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, oregano, and basil, is the perfect thing to eat in Naples and an excellent introduction to Neapolitan cuisine. Besides, how do you not eat a pizza that's based on the colors of the Italian flag?
If you want something a little bit more elaborate than the standard Margherita pizza, you could try a pizza marinara, pizza con funghi (with mushrooms), or prosciutto pizza. You can eat pizza in hundreds of restaurants in Naples or even get it folded to be carried as street food, the way it was initially intended to be. Just don't ask for pineapples on your pizza unless you want to be chased out of the city by angry pizzaiolos.
Naples food: Fried Pizza
Technically, this is just a variant of pizza, but fried pizza, or pizza fritta in Italian, deserves its own entry. This is street food at its greasy, delicious best. Fried pizza is, as you may have guessed, pizza that's been fried in oil. It's then filled with all sorts of deliciousness, like mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, and ham. It's the perfect on-the-go snack to keep you going as you explore the city.
You can find fried pizza all over Naples, but one of the best places to try it is at Scugnizzi in Via Toledo. This place is always packed with locals getting their fix of fried pizza goodness.
Naples food: Mozzarella di bufala
You may have already encountered the famous local cheese on a pizza Margherita. But this variety of mozzarella has uses that go far beyond a mere pizza topping. Mozzarella di bufala is made from the milk of water buffalo and is a truly delicious cheese.
In Naples, it's often eaten as a starter, drizzled with olive oil, and served with some bread. But you'll also find it in all sorts of other dishes, like insalata caprese (a salad of mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil) or melanzane alla parmigiana (eggplant Parmesan).
If you want to try some Mozzarella di bufala, head to Pizzeria Sorbillo in Via dei Tribunali. This place is famous for its pizzas, but the starters are just as good.
Naples food: Pastry shops
Everywhere you turn in Naples, you'll run into some of the city's seemingly endless pastry shops. And visiting Naples just isn't the same without indulging your sweet tooth at one or more of these pasticcerias.
The pastries on offer vary from season to season, but there are some that you'll find all year round. Cannolis and tiramisu, for example, are more or less always available, and they are invariably delicious.
If you have a sweet tooth, then you'll definitely want to visit Pintauro in Via dei Tribunali. This place has been around since 1885 and is one of the best pastry shops in Naples.
Naples food: Seafood
Almost as soon as you arrive in Naples, you'll realize that this is a city that lives off the sea. With the glittering Bay of Naples forming the border of the city and the legendary Amalfi Coast close by, it's no surprise that seafood is an important part of local cuisine and one of the best things to eat in Naples.
While you're in Naples, you simply must try some of the city's fresh seafood. The most famous dish is spaghetti alle vongole, pasta with clams. This simple but delicious dish is a staple of Neapolitan cuisine and can be found on menus all over the city.
For something a little bit different, try fritto misto di mare, a fried mix of seafood that includes everything from shrimp to squid to zucchini flowers. You can find it all over Naples, but one of the best places to eat it is at Da Zio Emanuele in Via Partenope.
Naples food: Friggitorie
If you want an authentic experience of local food when visiting Naples, you can't go wrong with visiting a friggitoria. These small, usually family-run establishments make a variety of fried food, often served in a cone and designed to be eaten on the go.
Friggitorie are all over Naples, but one of the best is Antica Focacceria San Francesco in Via Benedetto Croce. This place has been around since 1824 and is famous for its panelle, fried chickpea fritters that make for a delicious and filling snack.
Naples food: Sfogliatelle
You may have already encountered these delicate pastries on your travels through Italy. But sfogliatelle are definitely worth mentioning as one of the best things to eat in Naples.
Sfogliatelle are made with layers of paper-thin dough filled with ricotta cheese and flavored with orange peel. They're usually served dusted with icing sugar, and they make for a delicious and indulgent treat.
If you want to try some sfogliatelle, head to Pintauro in Via dei Tribunali. This place is famous for its pastries, and the sfogliatelle are definitely worth trying.
Naples food: Baba
Baba is a type of cake that originated in Naples and has since become popular all over Italy. It's made with a light and fluffy dough, soaked in rum, and often topped with candied fruit.
If you want to try some baba, head to Scaturchio in Via P. Colletta. This place has been making baba since 1892, and it's definitely the best place to try this delicious treat. Realistically, though, you can get a baba al rhum at just about any pastry shop in the city, and it's one of the most popular and tastiest traditional dishes you're likely to try when you visit Naples.
Naples food: Pasta
Of course, Italy is the land of pasta, and each city and region has its own preferences when it comes to this essential part of local cuisine. In Naples, it's all about spaghetti.
Spaghetti alle vongole is the most famous dish, but there are plenty of other options to choose from. Spaghetti carbonara, for example, is another popular dish that originated in Naples - at least, according to some accounts. This dish is made with eggs, bacon, and cheese, and it's definitely a comfort food classic.
You wouldn't normally think of pasta as a street food. But in Naples, there's nothing you can't eat on the go, and that includes pasta. A timballo is a baked pasta dish that may not have originated in Naples, but has certainly become an essential part of Neapolitan street food. Grab a chunk of baked pasta to go, and you can enjoy all the great flavors of Italy while you stroll the streets in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius.
Naples food: Coffee
Italians take food very seriously as a rule, and Neapolitans are no different from the rest of the country in this regard. For that matter, Neapolitans take their coffee every bit as seriously as their food, if not more so.
Coffee in Naples is as much a part of life as sunshine is. But you won't find a Starbucks here. Instead, you'll find traditional Italian cafés, some of them centuries old, that serve coffee the Neapolitan way. That means thick, dark shots of powerful espresso, often served standing at the bar for a quick burst of caffeine while exploring the city.
If you want to try some of the best coffee in Naples - or anywhere else in Italy, for that matter - head to Caffè del Professore. This place is run by a real-life professor of coffee, and it shows in the quality of the product. The coffee here is made with care and attention, and it's definitely worth trying if you're a fan of this essential Italian beverage.
Naples food: Limoncello
Another legendary Italian drink that originates in Naples - or on the nearby Amalfi Coast, anyway. Limoncello is a lemon-flavored liqueur that's traditionally made with the juicy, fragrant lemons that grow in this part of Italy.
Limoncello is usually served as an after-dinner drink, but it can also be enjoyed on its own or mixed into cocktails. If you want to try some authentic limoncello, head to Sorrento - a town on the Amalfi coast that's just a short drive from Naples. But you'll find plenty of places offering limoncello in the city itself, as well as other fruit liqueurs like meloncello that make the perfect digestif after yet another incredible Naples meal.
The world of food in Naples is so rich and diverse that an article like this can only scratch the surface. In fact, you could spend months in the city and still not exhaust all the incredible food options there are here. If you're in search of the best food in Naples, feel free to ask a local, but be warned. Ask two Neapolitans where the best place to get a coffee or a pizza is, and you'll get three or four different opinions.
With so much delicious food on offer — much of it deep fried — it's a good thing you'll do plenty of walking as you explore this fabulous city. Try some of the best hikes in Naples to burn off the calories you take in as you eat your way through this delicious city. No matter what you like to eat, Naples has something that's bound to tempt you. And the commitment to excellence on display by even the most humble pizza shop or café here is an essential part of the culture that you shouldn't miss on your visit.
Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage and get ready to enjoy excellent street food, one incredible pastry shop after another, and the best pizza on earth. Your diet can wait until you get back home.