Guest Review: Via Napoli

Thanks to Gloria Blankenship for this great review of her experience at Via Napoli! She also added a photo to the growing number on our First Look!: Epcot Via Napoli Pictures post! Thanks, Gloria!

Via Napoli in Epcot's Italy Pavilion

Atmosphere
We went there today before the soft opening, scheduled for Thursday. We were able to walk right in, although the tables soon filled up. Epcot is beautiful — and my favorite park — so I am biased.

The wood-fired ovens have faces and names: Stromboli, Versuvio and Etna. Nice touch and amusing. Wood-fired pizza is the specialty here, and you can also find veal, chicken, pasta, eggplant, gelato, and assorted wines and non-alcoholic beverages on the Via Napoli menu. There are nice chandeliers, decor, and a fresh “natural light” feel to the restaurant along with the charm of back-lit wood-fired ovens, chefs tossing pizza dough, and servers whose goal is to feed and charm the guests.

Eats
The calamari fritti (14.00) was good and came with marinara and lemons. Very nicely portioned.

The pizza was quite good and came in three sizes: 16.00 for individual 10 inch, 27.00 for 20 inch, and 37.00 for half meter, which serves four. The Margherita pizza has real basil on it, although they only had grated parmesan pecorino from a shaker — not fresh parmesan service. The pizza sauce and dough are good, and the pizza’s cheese was nice. The crust is not too thick or thin.

The kids meals come with pizza, chicken, or spaghetti and meatballs, and include a drink (no grapes, carrots, [Read more…]

First Look! Epcot Via Napoli Pictures

Hey all! As we reported, Monday was Via Napoli‘s first day open to walk-in guests, and — lucky us — we got some pics from some wonderful DFB readers! Check out these fantastic photos:

First, a few external shots. You can see that Via Napoli has a completely different “look and feel” from the rest of the Italy pavilion. It’s much more “movie-set” than what you see to the right and left.

How Via Napoli Fits In With The Rest of Italy

A Close Up Shot of the Exterior

Lots of Folks In and Out of Italy Today

Heading inside, you’re greeted by a large lobby and a massive check-in desk. You can see the whole restaurant through the windows of the lobby, and the decor and themeing are colorful as well as light and “airy.” It feels somewhat more like “farmhouse” Italy with a contemporary twist; the brightness of the restaurants, high ceilings, and accent colors remind me a lot of Naples in Disneyland, a sister restaurant to Via Napoli run by the same company — The Patina Group.

Check In Area

Lobby Chandelier

Lobby Tile

Lobby Tile Close Up

Servers

From here, you enter into the expanse of the restaurant proper. To your right, you’ll find a room covered in an “aged” fresco depicting nature scenes, trees, grasses, and blue sky. In the center of this part of the restaurant, you’ll find acqua fresca containers holding strawberry, lemon, and blood orange flavors. Outside some double doors is an [Read more…]

Via Napoli Reservations

Great news! Pam Brandon over at the Disney Parks Blog has announced a few more details about Via Napoli:

You will be able to start booking reservations by August 6th for the official opening day — September 10th — and later.
A “grand opening” will be held August 5th, and walk-up patrons will be admitted through the September 10th official opening. After that, those with advanced dining reservations will be given priority.

Other news:

  • Table service only (no pizza window :-( )
  • Disney Dining Plan is accepted (one point per person per meal)
  • Lunch and dinner menus will be the same

Click the link to see our other coverage of Epcot’s Via Napoli.

Epcot’s Via Napoli Menu

Disneyland's Naples Pepperoni Pizza -- Sister Restaurant to Via Napoli

Update: This restaurant is now in soft opening! See full Via Napoli menu here.

Thanks to Pam Brandon and the Disney Parks Blog, we now know that Via Napoli will be opening early — next month! — and we have a good idea of the menu for the upcoming Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy pavilion!

Appetizers will include:

Main course salads will include:

  • Manzo (filet of beef) with greens, red onion, gorgonzola, apple and cucumber with a red wine-mustard vinaigrette
  • chopped salad with lemon chicken, greens, cantaloupe, cucumber, red pepper, green beans, onions, almonds and pasta crisps with honey-citrus vinaigrette
  • calamari with arugula, carrots and fennel with orange vinaigrette

Pasta dishes will include:

  • candele (long, tube-shaped pasta) with sausage ragù
  • linguine with seafood; malfadine (ribbon pasta) with guanciale (unsmoked Italian bacon) and pomodoro sauce
  • lasagna verde

The Wood-fired pizzas, which is what Disney is hoping the restaurant is known for, will be made with caputo flour imported from Southern Italy, San Marzano tomatoes, handmade mozzarella, and water from a local spring just like in Italy’s Campania region. The 10-inch, 20-inch or 1/2 meter-sized pies will come in a dozen choices, from a simple pizza Margherita with tomato, mozzarella and basil to carciofi with artichoke, potato, pecorino cheese, prosciutto and cantaloupe.

Also available will be Piatti alla Parmigiana, which are dishes topped with Parmesan and mozzarella gratinée. These will include veal, chicken, and eggplant.

Finally, the desserts! These will include:

  • tiramisù
  • zeppole di ricotta (ricotta cheese-fried dough, whipped cream and chocolate sauce);
  • apple cake with almond sorbetti
  • vanilla gelato with almond cookies and amarena cherries

The pictures I’ve linked to in this post are what we sampled at Naples in Disneyland, a restaurant also run by The Patina Group. You can see the full review of Naples here.

To see more of our coverage of Via Napoli, along with specifics about the restaurant’s interior decor, three massive pizza ovens, and more, check out this page for links.

As always, check out the Disney Parks Blog for further info on Via Napoli.

Epcot Via Napoli Menu Items and Storyline

Disneyland's Naples Pepperoni Pizza -- Sister Restaurant to Via Napoli

Update: Via Napoli reservations available August 6th. The restaurant will soft open on August 5th and grand open on September 10th.

According to a press release from the Patina Group, here’s a bit more information trickling out about Epcot’s new Italian Pizzeria, Via Napoli, set to open in September 2010:

Menu Items

Featured on the Via Napoli Menu will be several authentic Neapolitan pizzas. Here are just a few that were mentioned in the press release:

  • pizza bianca (the restaurant will likely offer several different types of white pizza)
  • quattro stagioni (featuring artichokes, ham, eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes)
  • piccante (with chicken sausage, tomatoes, hot pepper, provolone, mozzarella)
  • traditional margherita pizza

Famed Pizzaiolo Charlie Restivo will serve as executive chef, and ingredients will include Marzano tomatoes, Caputo flour, handmade fresh mozzarella, Parma Cotto, crumbled sausage, and water calibrated specifically to the pH found in Naples.

Storyline and Restaurant Features

The three wood-burning ovens of Via Napoli will be named after the three active volcanoes in Italy –- Mount Etna, Mount Vesuvius and Stromboli (ah ha — a Pinocchio reference! Or is that the other way around…).

Each oven will be sculpted with the “face of the volcano” — reflecting the gods whose mythology surrounds each volcano’s history.

That’s what we know so far! Check out our other coverage of Epcot’s Via Napoli here.

The Five Best Things I Ate In Disneyland

So, as my twitter and facebook friends know, I am embarking on a series of posts with the working title, “The Best Thing I Ever Ate at Disney.” (What? I love the Food Network!) I’ll be including in the series a bunch of suggestions from readers and friends about delicious, not-to-be-missed Disney foods, so stay tuned for those posts.

But I thought it’d be fun to start off the series with my own picks for the five best things I ate on my recent trip to Disneyland! I’ll be reviewing each of these restaurants separately as well — but here are the dishes that really knocked my socks off while in the “west coast office.”

#1. Pommes Frites: Cafe Orleans, Disneyland

I’m pretty sure my husband and I both dream about these at night. Think about the best french fries you’ve ever eaten, and then make them about 50 times better, and then you might come close to imagining the Pommes Frites at Cafe Orleans. According to the official Disneyland Cafe Orleans menu: Traditional French Fried Potatoes tossed with Parmesan, Garlic, and Parsley served with Cajun Spice Remoulade. The amazing part? They cost $5.

Cafe Orleans Pommes Frites

#2. Cinnamon Roll French Toast: Carnation Cafe, Disneyland

This stuff pretty much speaks for itself. The Cinnamon Roll French Toast came frosting-less, with a cup of cream cheese frosting and [Read more…]

Disneyland’s Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port

We’re back with another Disney World and Disneyland comparison! Every Wednesday in May, Main Street Gazette and Disney Food Blog are reviewing back-to-back, mirror image foodie havens in the Florida and California parks. Whether you’re headed to the East coast or the West, we’ve got your Disney Food needs covered!

Today, I’ll be checking out Disneyland’s Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port, and Main Street Gazette will be taking a look at Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Pizza Planet.

Redd Rockett’s Pizza Port is a counter-service location in Disneyland’s Tomorrowland, offering pizza by the pie or slice, salads, and pasta dishes. Built in the space previously inhabited by Flight to the Moon and Mission to Mars, the restaurant carries a space port theme and provides a great spot to grab a bite after numerous flights on Space Mountain.

Atmosphere
Redd Rockett’s is set up in a cafeteria style. You can head to the Salad Station, the Pizza Station, or the Pasta Station to order and receive the dishes [Read more…]

Naples Review: Is This What We Can Expect from Epcot’s Via Napoli?

In Disneyland last week, I chose to have lunch at Naples, a restaurant/pizzeria located in Disneyland’s Downtown Disney area and run by the Patina Group — the same folks who will be running Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy!

As you know, Via Napoli will be opening as a Pizzeria in Fall 2010, just in time for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and we’re all eager to determine whether this will be the opportunity to get some really great pizza in Walt Disney World.

We dined here primarily to see what we might be getting in Disney World this fall, but we had a wonderful experience that makes Naples one of our new favorite and [Read more…]

Fresh Look at Disney World: A Disney Dining Trip Report

Mark Weaver and his family had never been to Disney World together before their March 2010 trip, and that was Mark’s first time back to the “World” in 10 years! As I’m sure you’re getting used to my “frequent visitor” perspective on these restaurants, I’m honored to share with you this dining trip report from a foodie who’s looking at WDW with fresh eyes. Thanks, Mark! (When Mark’s not dining in Disney World, you can find him contributing awesome news articles and features over at DisZine.com)

Our dining experiences at WDW were amazing. Sadly we missed 2 of our ADRs (and went home early) thanks to everyone getting sick on the last 2 days of our trip; however, we still had a great time and ate a lot of great food. Here’s an overall review of where and what we ate!:

Disney’s Pop Century Food Court:
After we checked in, we headed here to get some food that didn’t come from the cooler in the back seat of our car (YAY!). Overall, it was pretty good. I had the Parmesan Chicken which was very well done. The chicken was fully cooked — very crunchy, and the pasta with alfredo sauce was pretty good as well. I was able to get extra sauce at no extra cost which went very well with the breadstick. Speaking of the breadstick, I was actually surprised that it was not just a plain breadstick. It was seasoned with herbs and matched well with the entire dish.

Pop Century Parmesan Crusted Chicken

My wife had the vegetarian lasagna, which she enjoyed more than [Read more…]

What CAN’T You Get in Disney Parks?

What food items do you wish you could find at Disney Parks, but just aren’t there?

Does Epcot Need More Spanish Food...Permanently?

Does Epcot Need More Spanish Food...Permanently?

In other words,

What CAN’T you get to eat or drink in Disney parks?

I posed this question on facebook and twitter last week and got some really interesting answers.

Some folks wanted old-school items to return, like the cheese omelet from Electric Umbrella and those yummy character-shaped filled chocolate truffles (remember those? I liked the peanut butter ones.). But the rest of the answers were clamoring for things folks have been missing (or haven’t yet found) in Disney parks, like:

  • Good Maryland-style crab
  • Spanish food
  • Sweet Tea
  • Now THAT'S a Cheesesteak

    Now THAT'S a Cheesesteak

  • Fondue
  • Philly Cheesesteak
  • A good gyro
  • A make-your-own salad bar
  • Good Italian food
  • “Decent ribs”
  • Mr. Pibb (only available at McDonald’s on property)
  • Chic-fil-a :)
  • Toblerone bars
  • And…everyone’s most emphatic answer…GOOD PIZZA!

Personally, I’ve got my sights set on some good Buffalo Chicken Wings, though I’ve been told I can find those at the ESPN Club on WDW’s Boardwalk.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear:

Sometimes Hershey's Just Ain't Enough...

Sometimes Hershey's Just Ain't Enough...

1. What favorite items do YOU wish you could find in the parks?

2. If you’ve got an idea where folks can find any of the items listed above, please chime in! I figure, between all of us, we’ve been to every restaurant and food stop in the Disney parks. If those items are available, someone who reads this blog will know about it!

Photo credits: Spain: Joe Shlabotnik, Toblerone: Ultra, Cheesesteak: Sauce Supreme