I probably should’ve tried the pizza at Zia Esterina Sorbillo on Mulberry Street in Manhattan’s Little Italy because that is what they are famous for in Naples. I have eaten it there and wrote about it in a previous post.
This visit I was alone and wanted something a little lighter–not that this huge calzone was.
I ordered the salame calzone. I believe they use good ingredients here, and the prices do reflect that.
The calzone was good but a little peppery for my taste, although I do think it’s the Neapolitan style, as my grandma’s calzones had a good amount of black pepper.
If I return, I would definitely get the pizza. It’s Neapolitan-style, which tends toward a “soggy” center that is different from New York-style pizza. When I told my cousin in Italy that Sorbillo opened up in New York, he was very excited and said it is very good pizza. So I think if you are looking to try a pizza that closely resembles the style of pizza in Naples, this is the place to go.
If you are visiting Napoli, these are the 10 must-try foods that I recommend. There are so many wonderful dishes, foods, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, meats, seafood, etc that come from Naples or the Campania region. It’s hard to narrow it down to ten. But the average travelers don’t have an Italian nonna to cook local dishes for them nor do they have access to a refrigerator to buy groceries for themselves. So I compiled this list with the vacationer in mind. I think these foods are the best for visitors to try.
- Pizza–In the birthplace of pizza, there are many places to try the city’s favorite dish. Neapolitan pizza is different from American-style and New York-style pizza. If you prefer the crispy crust of a New York-style pizza, you may not like Neapolitan pizza. However, the ingredients on Neapolitan pies are usually top notch. A trendy place to try is Sorbillo. My favorite was Vesi, although I liked Da Michele too.
Da Michele pizza
- Sfogliatelle–A Neapolitan pastry that can be eaten for breakfast or dessert. It’s a popular one in Italian-American bakeries. The sfogliatelle is a difficult pastry to tackle and master–not one for the home cook. You must try one from Antico Forno delle Sfogliatelle Calde Fratelli Attanasio, a bakery not far from the main train station. It is by far the best I’ve ever had. It comes hot from the oven. The thin layers are crisped to perfection for a wonderfully crunchy bite. The custard and cherry ones are a special treat too.
- Pizza portafoglio–This pizza is the perfect fast food. It is sold from carts outside pizzerias. It’s a personal-sized pizza folded in quarters. Unlike most Neapolitan pizza, this pizza is crispier and doesn’t have the “soggy” center. It also doesn’t have much cheese. But the taste is divine.
- Taralli–A crunchy ring of dough, taralli is Neapolitan snack food. It comes in sweet and savory varieties.
- Pizza fritta–Pizza fritta is a popular Italian-American snack too. It’s a fried calzone with a cheesy filling in the center. It is also sold from carts outside fry shops.
- Rum baba–This pastry can be seen all over Naples. It is also a popular pastry found at Italian-American bakeries in the United States.
- Neapolitan ragu–aka Sunday gravy in the United States. Ragu is a slow-simmered tomato-based meat sauce for pasta.
- Frolla–The frolla is the easier version of the sfogliatelle that can be baked by home cooks. Or just as easily bought at numerous cafes in the city.
- Gelato–There are many gelateria in Napoli. One of my favorites with multiple locations is Fantasi Gelati. There are many flavors to choose from. I liked the cioccolato–so rich–and fior di panna.
- Mozzarella–Try some mozzarella di bufala made from buffalo milk. Yes, this is available in the United States, but it loses something on its refrigerated trip here. It is absolutely creamy and wonderful fresh. You can order it as antipasto or in a Caprese salad. –Dina Di Maio
Posted in Bakery, Dessert, Gelato, Italian, Mediterranean, Pasta, Pizza, Restaurant, Vegetarian
Tagged baba, calzone, foods, gelato, Naples, Napoli, pasta frolla, pizza, pizza fritta, portafoglio, ragu, sfogliatelle, taralli, travel
The owner of Di Matteo, Salvatore Di Matteo, comes from a long line of pizza makers. His pizzeria is a VPN member pizzeria and is touted by guidebooks and locals alike. Besides its pizza, the restaurant’s claim to fame is a visit from President Clinton. And in fact, a neighboring pizzeria owned by Di Matteo’s brother is named Il Pizzaiolo del Presidente in honor of Clinton.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try Salvatore Di Matteo’s pizza. He is also known for his fried snacks like pizza fritta, what we would call a fried calzone, that you can buy from the cart in front of the shop. According to Phaidon’s Where to Eat Pizza, Di Matteo assembles the pizza fritta himself. I love fried dough and fried calzones are my favorite (they shouldn’t be baked!). Of course, it was delicious.
–Dina Di Maio
Posted in Fried, Italian, Pizza, Restaurant
Tagged calzone, Di Matteo, Naples, Napoli, Neapolitan pizza, pizza fritta, President Clinton, VPN