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 delivered [Read more…]

Guest Review: Seafood Dine-Around at Walt Disney World

Join us in welcoming guest author KJ Simpson with a Walt Disney World Seafood Adventure!

Crab Cakes at Narcoossee's

A recent trip to Walt Disney World opened up a whole new world of culinary delights for me: seafood!

In my many previous visits, I had never tried any seafood dishes. This year, for a variety of reasons, I began incorporating seafood into my diet. As part of this new culinary adventure, I decided to sample some of the many dishes from the sea that are available throughout the parks and resorts.

If you’re curious about some of the offerings that can be found throughout Walt Disney World, read on as I embark on this seafood adventure…

And don’t forget to share your favorite Disney seafood dishes in the comments below!

Yorkshire County Fish Shop

No seafood tour would be complete without a stop at the very popular Yorkshire County Fish Shop, in the United Kingdom area of Epcot’s World Showcase, for an order of Fish & Chips.

There’s often a line at the Yorkshire County Fish Shoppe- this is a popular spot!

It’s a classic — two pieces of battered fish, served in a quick-service style over chips (also known as fries, here on this side of the pond). It’s even wrapped in faux-newspaper to give it a whimsically authentic appearance.

While not the healthiest of seafood meals, it was certainly one of the tastiest! There’s not a lot to go wrong here, and this was a perfect afternoon snack to share. The malt vinegar — a traditional accompaniment to the English fish fry — added the perfect tang and gave a whole different taste dimension to the fish.

The classic - Fish & Chips.

Sharing this while sitting in the seating area off to the side overlooking World Showcase Lagoon was a splendid afternoon respite! If you eat outside here, be forewarned: enjoy the view, but beware of the aggressive birds, ducks, and squirrels. They apparently love the food here as much as we do, and are not shy about wanting you to share.

Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie

Next was a visit to the newly-refurbished bakery in the France pavilion, Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie.

The expanded menu has a new seafood offering: Bisque de Homard, or Lobster Bisque.

Les Halles

This was a satisfying soup, smooth and creamy without being too heavy. Tomato was the more dominant flavor here, but the seafood added a richness and [Read more…]

Best Disney World Restaurants for First Time Disney Visitors

Everyday we receive lots of mail from you, our awesome DFB readers, asking for restaurant suggestions and recommendations. And while we certainly have our favorites, we know that you do, too!

So when a Disney first-time visitor recently asked what restaurants we would recommend for their upcoming trip, we couldn’t think of a better panel of experts to ask than YOU!

When I put the question out on the Disney Food Blog Facebook page, I was overwhelmed by the huge and immediate response that I got!

Let’s take a look at your recommendations for the restaurants first timers must experience on that inaugural Walt Disney World trip!

If you have other thoughts or ideas — or, better yet, stories of your favorite restaurants during a first-time visit — please share them with all of us in the comments section! More suggestions are always better!

Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

When it comes to first time Disney dining, the winning restaurant recommendation is, hands down, Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Many of you agree that anyone visiting the Happiest Place on Earth for the very first time MUST experience a buffet that includes lots of character interaction.

Chef Mickey’s is highly recommended by our DFB Readers!

But the suggestion is practical, too. Readers pointed out that a character dining experience offers terrific value for your Disney dollar, with an all-you-care-to-eat option. [Read more…]

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

Today, we’re traveling to Epcot’s Italy Pavilion for lunch at Via Napoli in this guest review by Julie B.!

Buongiorni a tutti! I want to tell you about one of my favorite places for lunch in all of Disney World: Via Napoli, located in the Italy pavilion of World Showcase.

Via Napoli is a relatively recent addition to the dining options of Epcot (and part of a major restaurant overhaul in Italy’s pavilion over the past few years).

This pizzeria doesn’t disappoint when enlightening diners with the true wonders of Neapolitan pizza.

Via Napoli!

Atmosphere

The first thing you should know about Via Napoli is that it’s huge, and I mean HUGE! When you walk into the main dining room you’ll notice that it’s very wide but also features sky-high ceilings. This does create a lot of echoing, so Via Napoli is not the best place to come for an intimate meal (but it’s great if you’ve got kids who need to blow off some steam).

The large dining room.

A benefit of those high ceilings is that they have large windows and allow the room to be bathed in natural light. It’s one of the main reasons I love to dine here for lunch instead of dinner.

Another one of my favorite parts of the restaurant’s large size is the center table that stretches across the whole room. If you’re seated at this table, you’ll be [Read more…]

New Craft Beers in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion

Craft beer lovers, rejoice! The Italy Pavilion at Walt Disney World’s Epcot has joined the ever-growing list of areas at Disney World that are focusing on unique brews.

Italian Craft Beers -- Photograph Courtesy of Beers and Ears

Our friends at Beers and Ears recently sat down with Eric Bandauski, who heads up the beer program for the Patina Group. Patina runs all of the Italy Pavilion restaurants along with three spots in Disneyland Resort.

Under his passionate direction, Epcot is now offering a wonderful array of craft beers. While craft beer is still an up and coming craze in Italy, the program is certainly giving beer aficionados some interesting things to sample and anticipate.

These bottles of winter Italian craft beers, which are available at Via Napoli, are almost too [Read more…]

Disney Food for Families: Getting Kids to Try New Foods at Walt Disney World

It’s no secret that my daughter Louisa is more than a little produce averse. There was a period of about four years when NO fruit or vegetable crossed her lips, and even now at age 12 she still has to be cajoled into having more than a bite or two of something as innocuous as sweet potato or banana.

Frozen bananas, a gateway fruit.

So you can imagine my surprise when, on a recent trip to the Animal Kingdom’s Yak & Yeti restaurant, she consumed nearly the entire plate of wok-fried green beans we had ordered for the table. It was one of those parenting moments where you hold your breath and move slowly so as to avoid breaking the spell.

Yak & Yeti wok-fried green beans. My hero!

Those Yak & Yeti yummies didn’t turn Louisa into an inveterate bean eater, but she is now occasionally willing to nibble on a tempura string bean if we’re out for Japanese. Based on our prior track record with legumes, I’m going to count that solidly in the win column.

The Theme Park Food Effect

What was it about the Yak & Yeti beans that made Louisa such a fan? Yes, they were quite tasty, and yes, the green part was handily obfuscated by a crunchy, yumtastic fried breading coating; but we had tried similar ploys in the past to no avail. My theory is that the Yak & Yeti beans were flavored by the spice of (cue the orchestra) The Theme Park Food Effect.

Much like campers will say that meals eaten on the trail are the BEST, you know that their experience is colored by the fact that their senses are overwhelmed and they’re starving from an [Read more…]

News! 2012 Candlelight Processional Lunch and Dinner Packages On Sale Now

It’s time!! The Candlelight Processional Dinner Packages are finally on sale!

This coveted ticket provides guests with a lunch or dinner meal at select Epcot restaurants and guaranteed seating to the popular Candlelight Processional holiday spectacular.

At the event, the Christmas story is told by a celebrity narrator while a 50-piece orchestra and choir accompany the re-telling. The event is held on select nights from November 23 – December 30, 2012, in the American Gardens Theatre at Disney World’s Epcot.

Package Details

The package includes your choice of an appetizer, entree, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverage or 1 full buffet from the restaurant’s menu. Guests also have access to an special Illuminations Fireworks viewing area.

Prices [Read more…]

Disney Food Post Round-Up: May 13, 2012

Citrus Turkey Plate at Flo's V-8 Cafe in Cars Land

Will you be dining at one of the new Cars Land or Buena Vista Street restaurants at Disney California Adventure when they open on June 15th?

We’re so excited to be taste-testing and reviewing the food offerings, including those at Flo’s V-8 Cafe and Sally’s Cozy Cone Motel!

Disney Food News

Here’s the latest happening in the Disney Food World this week!

We’ve got more food news (including poolside ice cream at Disney World’s Saratoga Springs Resort) on our Disney Food News Pin Board, where Disney Food News is updated on a regular basis!

The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2012 Ebook Review

Thanks to our good friend StudiosCentral.com for a great review of our latest guidebook, The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining 2012.


Here’s an excerpt:

… the amount of detail here astounds and impresses me. Topics I had never even considered were covered (scavenger hunts, how to avoid meltdowns in WDW restaurants, etc). If you love Walt Disney World and enjoy dining there, then to me there’s no question that you ought to pick up a copy of this book for your collection.

For Studios fans, you’ll find sections in the e-book that are just for you, including: a drinking guide, reviews of counter-service and table-service restaurants, snack recommendations, and a unique one-day dining strategy.

Read the full Studios Central review here!

Order your copy of the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World® Dining today! And don’t forget to check out our other great e-Books at our new DFBStore.com!

On To The Round-Up

AllEars.net’s Andrew Rossi visits the Artist Point at the Wilderness Lodge.

Walt Disney World for Grown Ups investigates options for solo diners at Disney World!

Yesterland reminisces about the Baker’s Field Bakery in Disney California Adventure.

Random Neat Stuff shares vintage Disneyland restaurant menus!

DVCNews announces that soft serve ice cream will be served pool-side at Saratoga Springs Resort.

Daveland shares vintage photos of the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship Restaurant in Disneyland. Awesome pics!

Eating (and Drinking) Around the World take us on a culinary tour around Epcot’s World Showcase, including a Wine Walk and pizza at Via Napoli.

Main Street Gazette discovers savory (not sweet) options at Boulangerie Patisserie in Epcot’s France pavilion.

Risotto Around the World

Ah…time to talk about one of my very favorite side dishes EVER!!! Risotto is often overlooked, but the creamy savory goodness that is risotto could easily take center stage in a dish (and does in some of these highlighted below)! Disney chefs have mastered the art of making this slow-cooked yumminess — rice patiently mixed with flavorful broth — and whether it’s mixed with meat, fish, or vegetables, risotto doubles as as a sophisticated recipe and mouth-watering, comfort food.

I was looking through our Disney Food Blog Flickr group and saw so many gorgeous photos of risotto that I simply had to do a post about this dark horse side dish. (Of course, I’ve added a few of my own photos as well…;-D.)

Let’s take a tour around the world…

Butternut Squash Risotto from Artist Point

This butternut squash risotto topped with pork belly is easily in my “top 5″ risottos in Disney World. Offered at Artist Point in the Wilderness Lodge, the hint of sweet from the squash and tartness courtesy of the cranberry drizzle create amazing (and memorable!) flavors. Sigh. I miss it.

butternut squash risotto

Dungeness Crab Risotto with Blood Orange Sauce and Pea Shoots; from Artist Point

This ample portion of risotto is mixed handsomely with crab creating a decadent appetizer. (Looks amazing!!!) Dishes at Artist Point tend to change seasonally, yet Dungeness crab seems to be used in many dishes — like these crab cakes we highlighted earlier this week!
(Photographer: Roger Weeks)

Dungeness Crab Risotto

Mushroom “Risotto” (in reality this is white corn, but I love that they made a “risotto” out of it), served along side Seared Bison with, Turnips, Chestnuts, and Pinot Noir Juniper Emulsion; from California Grill

This striking presentation from the California Grill has a slight [Read more…]

Review: Via Napoli

I realized we hadn’t reviewed Epcot’s Via Napoli for you since 2010, so it was time to head back!

Via Napoli, a Patina Group restaurant like its neighbor Tutto Italia, is our vote for the best pizza in Disney World, hands down. In fact, ever since moving to Texas from New York City, Via Napoli is the spot that’s come closest to re-creating my favorite NYC pie!

For that and several other reasons, this has quickly become one of our favorite Disney World restaurants, and we actually visit quite often; but we can’t help ourselves and always get the same thing, so there’s no reason to report on it over here! On this visit, we decided to break our own mold and order a few new items just to mix it up a bit!

Atmosphere

Via Napoli takes up the back wall of Epcot’s beautiful Italy pavilion. The imposing building was built in 2010 and soon became one of Epcot’s most-loved restaurants.

Window Themeing

The restaurant technically has two dining rooms — the main dining room is a large, two-story echo chamber of a room, punctuated by three HUGE pizza ovens named for volcanoes in Italy; a large, central table that [Read more…]