Take a culinary tour of Southern Italy at this family-friendly restaurant and pizzeria at Epcot.
Discover authentic Italian cooking, including hearty pastas, fresh salads and pizzas perfected in wood-burning ovens. (Excerpts from Walt Disney World website)
Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria held its Grand Opening in August, 2010 but didn’t officially open until a month later. Because our 2011 trip didn’t occur until May, I had almost nine months to read the reviews and drool over the pictures that were posted on the internet. Nearly every review that I read was positive and the food pictures looked divine. I could hardly wait to try it myself and, let me tell you, all those positive reviews were spot on! After that first meal, we were hooked and we’ve returned to Via Napoli Ristorante time and time again including during our last trip to Walt Disney World Resort in May 2015.
DIStracted Tip: As you can see from the picture above, there is a desk outside. This desk is for those who do not have an advance dining reservation and would like to inquire as to whether or not the restaurant is taking walk-ups. There is another desk just inside the restaurant foyer for those with reservations.
Our advance dining reservation for dinner was 7:45 p.m. and we arrived approximately fifteen minutes prior to our designated time. Given that we had a reservation, we went straight inside to check-in. The hostess there took our name and told us that there was a slight wait.
DIStracted Tip: An advance dining reservation does not mean that they will have a table ready when you arrive; however, your party will be seated at the next available table that can accommodate the number of people in your party.
Our name was called about ten minutes later and the hostess led us to a table in what I would describe as a sunroom on the side of the restaurant. One entire side of the seating area was glassed in and we were able to see out into a portion of the Italy Pavilion.
During our previous visits, we had been seated inside the restaurant and I must admit that the ambiance there was better than where we were seated this time. When seated in the other area of the restaurant, you can see the chefs at work and the wood burning ovens. Having said that, the view that we had wasn’t what I would exactly consider horrible because, like I said, we were looking out into Italy. Below are pictures of the other seating area.
A waiter came to our table within minutes of our being seated and another came to fill the glasses with water. We were offered sparkling water but we declined. For those of you who are fellow Southerners, you are probably already aware that many menus do not include sweet tea. While sugar and sweeteners are provided, they simply do not do the trick for most sweet tea drinkers. Many years ago, a waitress in one of the restaurants suggested that we try an Arnold Palmer which is half lemonade and half unsweetened tea and it’s a great substitute.
The appetizer and entree choices at Via Napoli are extensive but we knew that we wanted to order our favorites. My husband chose the Candele: candle-stick pasta, sausage ragù, polpettine meatballs, mozzarella, ricotta cheese.
Our son ordered the Individual Quattro Formaggi Pizza but added tomato sauce : white pizza, mozzarella, parmesan, fontina, provolone cheese.
My entree choice was the Individual Pepperoni Pizza: tomato sauce, pepperoni, tomato, mozzarella cheese.
As you can see from the pictures, though the pizzas were considered to be individual pizzas, they are quite large and, depending on how hungry you are, may be large enough for two people in your party to share. My teenage son was able to tackle the entire pizza all on his own and I made a fairly large dent in mine and my husband finished what I couldn’t eat.
The pizzas at Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria are out of this world delicious! The dough is made with real Caputo flour imported from southern Italy and the water is sourced from a spring similar to Italy’s Campania region. Pizzas are then cooked in wood-burning ovens named after the 3 active volcanoes in Italy—Mount Etna, Mount Vesuvius and Stromboli.
We could have eaten just our entrees and walked away from the restaurant fully satisfied. But, we were on the Disney Dining Plan and, knowing that the desserts were fantastic, we couldn’t pass them up. Although we were given a dessert menu to peruse, each of us knew what we wanted to order.
My dessert was the Zeppole di Caterina: Ricotta cheese fritters, served with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.
The Ugly But Good dessert had been on my husband’s mind all year long and there was no hesitation whatsoever when he was asked what he wanted for dessert. Coppa Brutti Ma Buoni: “Ugly But Good” Amarena cherry & vanilla gelato sundae.
And our son’s dessert selection was Gelato Frizzante: Ice Cream Soda “Italian Style” made with San Pellegrino’s “Aranciata” and vanilla gelato.
Just as was the case with our entrees, the desserts were amazing! All throughout the meal, our waiter was attentive, checking to see if we needed anything and refilling our glasses. He was one of the best waiters that we have had in all of our trips to Walt Disney World. We used our Magic Bands to access the Disney Dining Plan and charged the tip to the credit card that we had on file. Our meal from start to finish was approximately an hour and we were able to walk from the restaurant and out into the Italy Pavilion and were lucky enough to find a spot in World Showcase to watch IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.
I would highly recommend Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria to anyone looking for delicious Italian fare! It earns two thumbs up from our family and remains on our “must eat there” list of Walt Disney World restaurants.