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Guest Review: Via Napoli’s Arancini Appetizer in Epcot

Welcome guest author Paul Kuconis! Today, he shares the popular Arancini Appetizer at Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy pavilion. Grazie, Paul!

I always look forward to our Walt Disney World visits; and I look forward to the food! One of our ‘go-to’ Epcot restaurants is Via Napoli Pizzeria E Ristorante, or better known as ‘Via Napoli’.

One of the problems with dining here is that we have to walk almost to the very back of Epcot to get to Italy. But that only heightens the anticipation!

Via Napoli - almost there!

Via Napoli entrance.

Atmosphere

Although we had to change our reservation to a more convenient time, we were given a good table close to the pizza station.

Pizza Ovens!

While we waited, we took in the décor!

Intricate, beamed ceiling.

We enjoyed our seats under the watchful eyes of Stromboli, Vesuvio, and Etna. The three pizza ovens are named after active volcanoes in Italy; Stromboli on the Aeolian Islands, Vesuvius near Naples, and Mount Etna in Sicily.

Being Watched By Stromboli, Vesuvio, and Etna.

It was equally interesting to watch the chefs prepare and cook pizzas. They look like they enjoy their jobs and perform them with military precision.

Eats

I would like to share with DFB readers our favorite Via Napoli appetizer – Arancini.

Arancini means ‘little oranges’, which is exactly what these round/oval, deep-fried rice croquettes look like when they are removed from the hot oil.

They are served as snack food in bars and cafes all over Sicily, and their filling can vary — meat and tomato sauce with peas, chopped vegetables and white sauce-cheese, and prosciutto — depending on the cook.

Aranci Menu Item.

We were served by Luca, who came to Epcot via Turin, Italy. Luca agreed, “Good choice!”, and placed the order for the Arancini. I also ordered a glass of Batasiolo Chardonnay.

Chardonnay Batasiolo Menu Item.

If I planned on more that one glass, Luca suggested the quartino. Good idea! I enjoy a nice Chardonnay, but by no means consider myself a wine connoisseur. I drink what I like whether or not it is appropriately paired. It went well with my meal.

Quartino of Basasiolo Chardonnay.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, (but was, in fact only ten minutes!), Luca deliveredthe Arancini.

Arancini.

The dish was nicely plated as I would expect from a restaurant of this quality. Almost too pretty to eat! “Hah! Let’s dig in!”

The inside was nice and moist, contrasting with the crunchy outside. Prepared perfectly with a great color!

A look inside!

There was a nice balance of saltiness from the mozzarella and the meat in the rice, along with the tang of the tomato sauce. Delicious layering of flavors!

Overall

I have never been disappointed by any meal at Disney World. They know how to ‘get it done.’ The wait staff is always awesome, providing further details and explanations of menu items, which enhances the whole culinary experience.

If you haven’t experienced this appetizer, try it! All I can say is ‘Molto Buono’ — very good!

What’s your “go-to” appetizer when dining at Via Napoli? Let us know in the comments below!

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7 Comments

  1. Mike B says:

    AJ/Paul – thanks for sharing another gem! It’s one of our favorites at one of our favorite restaurants.

    Interesting enough, we were at Olive Garden a few weeks ago, and they have a version of it. Good in a pinch, but did not compare to the Via Napoli version.

  2. Matt says:

    My go to appetizer at Via Napoli is the Calamari.
    I love Calamari and one of the best I’ve had is there.
    But I may have to do something different next time….

  3. JoAnn says:

    I had this last year. I agree – molto buono

  4. Emma says:

    I had these a year or so ago and they were very good. Almost as good as the ones I had in Rome. I must say I am often disappointed with Disney food and these were delicious.

  5. Janet Sala says:

    Thank you, Paul! We love the arancini (and everything else) at Via Napoli! Even my husband, of partial Sicilian descent, loves them! If you find yourself at Citrico’s, they are often on the menu there as well. Traditionally, they are made of “left over risotto”, as if such a thing were possible.
    ;-)

  6. John says:

    One of my favorite in park treats. If you really enjoy these, and want to try a slightly more “upscale” version, take the short walk over to Il Mulino at The Swan. Worth the hike. Or if you like to cook, find Mario Batali’s Arancini recipe online – even though the Via Napoli version are enjoyable, the homemade ones are absolutely jaw-droppingly good (and not terribly hard to make). They are a go to for most of the dinner parties we through, and always draw raves.

  7. Lucy says:

    Oh, Luca was my server this past February. He’s awesome and I miss him!

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