Review: Lunch at Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

One word: PIZZA!

Two more: VIA NAPOLI!!

Okay, so we’re having more than “just pizza” at Via Napoli today (even though it still easily takes the top spot on our Best Pizza in Disney World list by a mile). We’ll also be trying some soups, pasta… and maybe even a little vino while we’re at it.

No matter what I order, though, I look forward to my Advance Dining Reservation for Via Napoli — tucked in the back of Epcot’s Italy Pavilion — on every Disney World trip without fail (especially when my husband’s with me — this is a MUST for him). Not only does it serve up the Best Pizza in all of Disney World, but it also earns gold stars in my book for a pretty rare accolade from me: it is consistently good food.

Via Napoli Window

Via Napoli Window

Atmosphere

Stepping into Via Napoli for the first time, you’ll likely be struck by a couple of things.

Via Napoli in Epcot

Via Napoli in Epcot

First, just the sheer size of the main room, thanks to the high ceilings and abundance of seating options for what has come to be a pretty popular spot.

Via Napoli Dining Room

Via Napoli Dining Room

Via Napoli Seating and Frescoes

Via Napoli Seating and Frescoes

And second — all the SOUND! The cavernous room and non-carpeted flooring make for a fairly loud dining experience. I’ve come to expect it and now it feels almost festive rather than distracting, but it’s good to know there is also a slightly quieter covered patio that is a bit more peaceful.

Outside Seating

Outside Seating

No matter where you’re seated, it’s totally worth taking a few minutes to stop by and say “Hello” to Stromboli, Vesuvio, and Etna: the themed wood-fired pizza ovens inspired by volcanoes in Italy.

Via Napoli's Pizza Ovens

Via Napoli Pizza Ovens

This is where all the pizza-making magic happens!

Via Napoli Pizza Chef

Via Napoli Pizza Chef

It’s fun to watch, but it sure does make you hungry… So, what are we waiting for? Buon appetito!

Eats

As you can tell from the prominence of the ovens, pizza is the absolute star of the show at Via Napoli. But man does not live by pizza alone… so let’s check out that Wine and Cocktail list ;) .

Via Napoli Drink Menu

Via Napoli Drink Menu–click to enlarge

You gotta hand it to ‘em… they have managed to make some downright tempting cocktails: drinks like the classic-with-a-twist Lemon Drop (vodka and Limoncello over shaved ice), a Sicilian Sunset (vodka and orangecello this time, served with juices over shaved ice), a Tiramisu Martini and a Cannoli Martini, just to name a few (though I might save either of those last two for a dessert cocktail). And though it wasn’t on the list this time, the Italian Margarita still rotates on and off the menu here.

Ultimately, I opted for the far more simple — but really refreshing — White Sangria, made with Italian wines and fresh fruit.

White Sangria

White Sangria

By the way, you can find beer options listed on the food menu, along with the appetizers, pastas, and — of course — pizza.

Via Napoli Menu

Via Napoli Menu

We began our meal with the Salame e Provolone from the small plates. The fresh cheese and cured sausage nicely serve their purpose of whetting your appetite for what’s to come. Though the presentation of the sausage is different from visits past (do my eyes deceive me, or is it a bit smaller?) the strong, hearty provolone never disappoints.

Salame e Provolone

Salame e Provolone

Even on a hot day, the soups were calling my name, starting with the savory Tortellini in Brodo: beef tortellini (and lots of it!) and spinach in a simple broth. The amount of tortellini nearly made for a meal in itself.

Tortellini in Brodo

Tortellini in Brodo

The Pasta e Fagioli is your standard pasta and bean soup. I was surprised by how heavy on the broth my serving was.

Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli

The white beans and pasta were pretty typical, but fresh.

Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli

Now here’s the thing: we make a pretty big deal of Via Napoli pizza around here, because –frankly — it’s well deserved. And believe me, we’ll be getting to another beautiful pie here shortly. But you may be surprised to learn that the pasta dishes at Via Napoli should not be overlooked. This time I went with the Paccheri alla Crema con Pollo, a rich, decadent cream sauce over pasta and chicken.

Paccheri alla Crema con Pollo

Paccheri alla Crema con Pollo

It’s difficult to spy, but there are bits of pancetta (Italian bacon made from pork belly) mixed in as well, adding extra bursts of flavor to the creamy mix. This was one of those dishes that I didn’t plan on finishing, but I couldn’t help taking more bites! It was deeeelicious! I’m always pleasantly surprised by the simple-but-excellent pasta dishes here.

Paccheri alla Crema con Pollo

Paccheri alla Crema con Pollo

But then, of course, there is the piece de resistance! Presenting the Piccante Signature Pizza: tomato sauce, Italian spicy sausage, and mozzarella.

Piccante Signature Pizza

Piccante Signature Pizza

It bears repeating that one of the things that makes the pizza such a standout is the thin crust, made with flour imported directly from Italy (not to mention water sourced from a similar spring to those in the Campania region) and nicely charred in the wood-fire ovens by their two-minute visit inside those volcanoes.

There is beauty in the simplicity of the few ingredients. Delicious crust, a thin layer of tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and your chosen toppings.

Piccante Signature Pizza

Piccante Signature Pizza

I enjoyed the mildly spicy sausage, but it’s really hard to go wrong with any pizza here no matter how you top it.

We didn’t have room for dessert after all of that, but there are some worthy ones at Via Napoli.

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

Gelato Frizzante

Gelato Frizzante

Zeppole with Chocolate Sauce and Whipped Cream

Zeppole with Chocolate Sauce and Whipped Cream

Pistachio Gelato Close-Up

Pistachio Gelato Close-Up

And that’s a wrap on another visit to Via Napoli!

Overall

As you can tell, we really love this place. The only drawback? The price. It’s up there, so you have to reconcile yourself to that fact before you go or you’ll just be annoyed the whole time. ;-)

While a few of the non-pizza dishes may be take-or-leave (excellent pasta notwithstanding), the star entree just can’t be beat. Add some fun cocktails, a festive atmosphere, and the chance to watch some excellent pizza chefs at work during your visit, and you’ve got yourself a memorable meal in World Showcase.

Have you visited Via Napoli? Please let us know about your experience with a comment!

Comments

  1. says

    I am the same way I have to go to Via Napoli every time we visit and get that same pizza! We have had the pasta and same apps in the past but seriously, game face…i want that pizza! the house red Chianti is a really good house red wine as well.

  2. Gigi says

    Is that really the size of the salami and provolone? For $9?! I get that it’s a small plate, but that’s more along the lines of an amuse-bouche.

  3. Pat says

    Another great pizza to try is the Carciofi. We found this a couple trips ago and we usually do a half and half with the Piccante. Half red and half white. Absolutely delicious with the artichokes and truffle oil.

  4. Betty says

    We have stopped at Via Napoli several times and each time has been perfect. We have tried several different dishes as well as the pizza and have been very happy with everything. The arancini as an appetizer is fantastic. As close as you can get to the one we had when visiting Sicily years ago. This is one of my favorite places to eat while at WDW.

  5. Keith says

    Yes, keep pumping the propaganda for Via Napoli….as long as the superior Tutto Gusto remains un-hyped, it will continue to be charming and quaint.

  6. Nurse Jackie says

    We always order a pizza metro between 3 of us and we clear the plate. It’s so big it has to sit on a stand on the table so we can fit our dishes and drinks on too. Roll on December when we are back at Via Napoli for more pizza metro, my mouth is watering as I write this……………………………..mmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  7. Dru says

    I hope everyone will try the Prosciutto, Cantaloupe, and Arugula Pizza. Not traditional toppings, but simply amazing!!

  8. Frank says

    The pizza is excellent, but as mentioned, very expensive.
    If open, try the pizza at the outside “pizza window,” located just to the left of the entrance to Via Napoli(VN). It’s opened “seasonally.”
    It’s thick crust pizza…purchased by the slice… not cheap… but…. totally opposite from what you get inside VN. I love both the thin that you get inside and the thick from the outside, but if given one choice, imho, I’d go with the outside thick crust, but that’s just me.
    As mentioned the house Chianti is very good. No need to go to the higher priced wines, unless of course you are so inclined.
    Fun, loud place, gorgeous inside. Take time to literally look around!!
    The Italian pavilion restaurants have upped their game. Tutto Italia (wish they’d bring back fettuccine Alfredo, but I know, it isn’t Alfredo’s anymore), Tutto Gusto (most of the time you can’t order what’s on the sit down restaurant menu..but hey, that’s ok, it is what it is, and it is excellent, fun, at a great venue), and Via Napoli.
    Plus the staff is more friendly at all the venues. I’ll leave it at that.
    Frank

  9. MeLissa says

    We were very pleasantly surprised with our pasta dish on our last visit. Perfectly cooked, not over-sauced, well seasoned.

  10. Lori says

    Does anyone know what type of red pepper is served in the Salame e Provolone? My brother-in-law loved them.

  11. says

    Lori — Look for hot or sweet marinated cherry peppers, and you should be on the right track. Better grocers in your area might have them on their olive bar. They’re delicious stuffed with a little provolone and salami, too. Good luck!

  12. Jess says

    How many slices are on an individual pizza? I am assuming the one in the picture feeds 2-3 so I wanted to compare the two.

  13. Mark says

    Ok, so finally had pizza here last night. I am sorry, but Cici’s makes better pizza than this. Nice and hot on the outside and cool and under cooked in the middle. We had a large 20 inch one. We took several slices home and recooked them for lunch today and it was much better. Did like the house salad for two. If you order pizza here check the middle when it arrives and if under cooked, send it back.

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