Thanks to Amanda Tinney of Disney Every Day for sending over her report of the Via Napoli media preview! For pics of the restaurant’s decor and atmosphere, check out our First Look! photos! Take it away, Amanda!
I don’t know about you, but for me and my family pizza is something that we order when there are no groceries in the house or we are crunched for time and don’t feel like cooking. It’s not something that we actively seek out, which is strange considering the fact that my hubby is Italian with a grandmother that came to the US from Sicily.
I recently had the pleasure of attending the Grand Opening for Epcot’s newest dining experience, Via Napoli in World Showcase’s Italy Pavilion. Being the huge Disney fan that I am, I’m ashamed to admit that I may have never tried the new pizzeria if not invited to the event, but after sampling some of the cuisine, I will be back for sure.
Knowing that I would be writing this post for the Disney Food Blog I just HAD to take a sample of everything that was offered to me so that I could report directly to YOU the Disney Foodie Fans! The things I must do for you…
Upon entering the restaurant we were offered an array of beverages. The first thing I grabbed was a glass of Sangria (Glass $8; Pitcher $19). I am not a wine drinker so my opinion is from a very non-sommelier perspective. The Sangria was… ‘good.’
I also sampled the Fantinel Borgo Prosecco, which is a sparkling wine. It was light and slightly fruity. I could have probably gone for another glass of this. Can you tell I’m a beer drinker?
I hesitantly took a glass of the Limonata Acqua Fresca ($5 for a 14 oz glass).
Lemonade will sometimes give me a belly ache and make me even more thirsty that I was to start, but this one did not. It was delicious! Via Napoli also serves up Blood Orange and Strawberry Acqua Fresca. The following photo is just to illustrate what the beverages will look like; this was set-up for the preview only.
Bring on the appetizers! First up…Arancini. Arancini are fried risotto balls filled with mozzarella cheese with a meat ragu ($10) and are served with a pomodoro sauce. I have made these at home but with regular rice instead of risotto and salami instead of beef. These were small and delicious with the sauce. If you run out of sauce you may find these to be a bit bland.
My favorite thing by far was the Fritto Misto. Finally…a dish on Walt Disney World property with SALT!!!! Many of the dishes here at WDW seem to be lacking in the sodium chloride I love so dearly. Not this. The Frito Misto is an assortment of fried seasonal vegetables, fish and cheese to be shared by the table ($24) Ours were served to us in paper funnels (for the preview).
Jackpot in my funnel! I was able to sample the calamari (squid rings), zucchini and carciofi. OMG…the carciofi was the ULTIMATE! “I’ll take an entire funnel full please!” Carciofi is basically an artichoke heart. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. If you order the Fritto Misto you may get any of the following: Arancini, mozzarella, calamari, melanzane (eggplant), asparagi, zucchini and/or carciofi.
On to the Wood-Fired Authentic Pizza Napolentana! The menu describes the pizza as: Caputo flour imported from Naples, San Marzano tomatoes, handmade fior di latte mozzarella, water from our own wells identical to the water found in Naples to make our pizza as authentic and delicious as that found on the streets of Naples. (Individual $16; Large $27; 1/2 Meter to Share $36)
Our table was able to sample four different varieties. Girl Scout’s Honor, I tried every single one…just for you =)
What was our favorite? It was a tie between the Margherita and the Quattro Formaggi.
The crust on this pizza is great. The Margherita is simple and full of flavor and topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella and large pieces of basil. I LOVE basil. My family does not but the pieces were big enough to be picked off easily. The tomato sauce was light and delicious. Here’s a closer view…
These pizzas are made in a wood fired oven which gives them a fantastic flavor. They do not run through an electric oven on a conveyor belt. I wanted to take a pic of the bottom of the pie considering that this is Walt Disney World and some children may have a problem with the bottom side of the crust. This didn’t bother me in the slightest but I just wanted to give the parents of picky eaters a heads up.
The other fan favorite was the Quattro Formaggi or Four Cheese. This is a sauceless pizza topped with mozzarella, parmesan, fontina and provolone cheeses and seasoned with luscious garlic.
The photos don’t do this cheesy masterpiece justice. Here’s a closer look at the Four Cheese…
Next up…is the Carciofi which is another sauceless pie topped with artichoke, pecorino, mozzarella and truffle oil. I had a hard time believing that there were actually artichokes on this pizza. It tasted like green beans and was not one that I would order again. Don’t get me wrong, I love green beans but this one was just *meh*.
And the most popular pizza in America has got to be topped with this…Pepperoni!
I was still dreaming about the Quattro Formaggi pizza, but how can you go wrong with pepperoni? Two thumbs up!
Although I didn’t get a sample of this, I snapped a picture of what looked like the Lasagna Verde ($20) which contains spinach, parmesan and besciamella.
Hold the phone! It’s time for dessert!
Feast your eyes on the Zeppole di Caterina ($10) which are ricotta cheese fritters served with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.
For the preview we were not offered the whipped cream and chocolate sauce and our fritters were dusted with powdered sugar. (Editor’s Note: Check out a pic of the Zeppole with chocolate and cream here.) I had a hard time trying to find the ricotta in this dessert. It looked exactly like a donut hole and tasted precisely like kettle corn. If you’ve never had kettle corn before, think sweet popcorn. I now have to go back and try it with the chocolate and cream so I can experience a different flavor profile. These bite size beauties can be addictive. Once you pop, you can’t stop.
Another one of my favorite desserts is Tiramisu and this one didn’t disappoint. The Via Napoli Tiramisu ($8) is made with mascarpone cheese, espresso coffee, lady fingers and chocolate. We joked that the chocolate art topping had gold lips printed on it but they were actually coffee beans. Tiramisu = Outstanding.
For guests with food allergies, the restaurant also offers gluten free brownies as a dessert.
A manager told us that they can attempt to make gluten free dishes if given advanced notice but warned that there is flour “flying all over the kitchen”.
And the sleeper hit of the dessert service….Gellato Frizzante. The gellato frizzante ($9) made with San Pelligrino’s “Aranciata” (orange soda) and vanilla gellato topped with whipped cream and garnished with mint and a chocolate straw.
The overall experience of dining at Via Napoli was good food and good fun. I would definitely eat here again. My next meal…Fritto Misto Appetizer, Quattro Formaggi Pizza and the Gelato Frizzante for dessert. Have you tried Via Napoli yet? What did you think?
Thank you Amanda!! You can check out our other coverage of Epcot’s newest restaurant here on our Via Napoli post. Also, check out these other great reviews of the restaurant: Jess’s Via Napoli Review, Gloria’s Via Napoli Review. To see photos of the restaurant’s decor and atmosphere, check out our First Look Via Napoli! photos. And click here to see the full Via Napoli menu!