Top 10 Most Popular Foods in Naples

by GoWithGuide travel specialist

If you are planning a trip to Naples (or perhaps a visit to the nearby Pompeii ruins), you had better bring your appetite! Italy's third largest city is bursting with rich flavors and unique treats for visitors to explore. From world-famous pizza to delicious local pasta, there is something here to appease all palates. 

With so many delicious dishes to try, it can be hard to know where to start. That's why we have done the hard work for you by choosing the ten most popular foods you simply must try when visiting Naples. If you would like more insight into the local culinary scene, contact one of our Naples private guides to organize a food tour of the area. They will be more than happy to show you around the best eateries in town!

Pizza

This one is a no brainer - after all, Naples is known as the birthplace of Italian pizza. The most popular variety is the classic pizza margherita which features mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, basil, and olive oil. One of the best places to enjoy an authentic Neapolitan pizza is L'Antica Pizzeria da Michele. This historic pizzeria shot to world fame after being featured in the film adaptation of Eat Pray Love in 2010. Ever since, people have been flocking here to sample the pizza that made Julia Roberts swoon.

Spaghetti alla Puttanesca

While spaghetti alla puttanesca is a common dish throughout Italy, Naples has put its own unique spin on this popular pasta dish. Usually, it is made using anchovies, tomatoes, capers, garlic, chilies, and olive oil. The Naples variation however usually omits the anchovies altogether. Typical to the local cuisine, spaghetti alla puttanesca only uses a few ingredients to achieve culinary perfection, emphasizing the idea of beauty in simplicity!

Polpette

Polpette represents Italian home cooking at its finest. Not to worry though - you don't need to be invited to an actual Italian home to try out these flavorful meatballs, as these days they are commonly served in restaurants too. Polpette is essentially an Italian meatball that's usually served as a main course in its own right. In Naples, polpette is typically served covered in a rich tomato sauce – yum! Check out Trattoria da Nennella for some great Italian meatballs, or ask your Naples tour guide to show you their favorite places.

Pizza Fritta

The people of Naples really love their pizza. So much so that they've gone as far as to deep fry it! In its Neapolitan iteration, pizza fritta (literally fried pizza in Italian) usually includes salami, ricotta cheese, tomato, and basil. These toppings are then sealed with another layer of pizza dough before being deep fried to perfection (basically like a calzone). You can find this delicious treat sold by various street vendors as a to-go snack, or dine in at establishments such as 1947 Pizza Fritta Napoli. Being pizza, many places also deliver for extra convenience!

Spaghetti alle Vongole

As Naples is located along the Campania coastline, seafood is prominently featured in its local cuisine. One of the most delicious ways to try out the local seafood is by ordering a plate of spaghetti alle vongole. This is a simple yet delicious pasta dish that is built around clams. Mimi Alla Ferrovia is one of the local restaurants that's highly praised for its spaghetti alle vongole, so be sure to give it a try.

Lasagne di Carnevale

Lasagne is a very popular dish all across Italy and around the world for that matter. In Naples, people don't just settle for any old lasagne though. Here, the local specialty is known as lasagne di carnevale, or carnival lasagna. This hearty dish lives up to its festive name as the delicacy is stuffed with ground pork, eggs, ricotta cheese, bread, and sausage, and is best enjoyed paired with a glass of local wine. The key takeaway? You haven't had lasagne until you've tried lasagne di carnevale in Naples!

Insalata Caprese 

Insalata caprese, or caprese salad, offers a refreshing break from devouring all that pizza and pasta. This salad is usually enjoyed as an appetizer but it can also be served as a light meal in its own right. Typically, insalata caprese features tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, oregano, and olive oil. Simple and delicious! Though the salad originates from the neighboring island of Capri (the name of the dish actually means "salad from Capri"), it is also a very common dish in restaurants throughout Naples.

Sfogliatella

Sfogliatella is a yummy pastry which has its roots in Naples. Traditionally shaped like a lobster's tail, these delicate flaky pastries are filled with a delicious mix of semolina and ricotta cheese that's flavored with vanilla and lemon. The concoction is topped off with a generous sprinkling of powdered sugar. La Sfogliatella Mary, which is located on the main street of Via Toledo, is one of the most famous local bakeries to specialize in this quintessentially Neapolitan delicacy.

Pastiera

Pastiera is another sweet delicacy that originates in Naples. Though this tart is actually a traditional Easter food, it has become so popular that it can now be found in bakeries and stores throughout the year. Pastiera is thought to have been created in a convent in Naples, and the tart is filled with an irresistible mix of ricotta cheese, eggs, cooked wheat, orange water, and orange peels. Of course, there are many variations, with each one claiming to be the best. We recommend trying out a few versions to discover your own personal favorite, or ask your local Italian tour guide to take you on a tasting mission.

Limoncello

While Limoncello is not technically from Naples, it would be a shame to visit the area without giving this refreshing liqueur a try. Limoncello is a lemon liqueur that's closely tied to the Amalfi Coast - a popular destination for people staying in Naples and for those touring the Pompeii ruins. Limoncello is a very popular drink in Italy and it's easy to see the appeal. Nothing beats a perfectly chilled glass of this lemony liqueur after a day spent under the Mediterranean sun!

Conclusion

Are you ready to explore all the culinary delights that Naples has to offer? To discover all the best restaurants and must-try dishes the city has to offer, we recommend exploring the city with a Naples private tour guide. Our Naples tours are a great way to get to know the city beyond the tourist trails and discover all the hidden culinary gems only the locals know about!

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