A Disney Dining Reviewby Cheryl Pendry, PassPorter Featured Columnist
Last modified 03-01-2012
I'll confess here, dining is one of the main reasons that I love going to Walt Disney World, with so many wonderful choices to pick from.
Disney doesn't make things easier, adding new options all the time. One of the newer choices is Via Napoli in Epcot's Italy.
Italy - Via Napoli
The wonderful ovens at Via Napoli.
I thought there was no way that we could include a meal at Via Napoli during our last visit to Walt Disney World, but fortunately circumstances conspired to give us an opportunity to try it out, and we took it. I’m so glad we did, as it turned out to be a great addition to our vacation.
I'd heard almost universally good reviews of Via Napoli before we experienced it for ourselves, so I did have reasonably high expectations of this place. As we entered, we were taken around to the side of the building, an area I didn’t realise existed! It was a shame in a way, as I would've preferred being seated in the main area, as that had more theming, but we did have some wonderful views of the Italy pavilion, and it turned out to be a fairly quiet area, which was a bonus.
We set about studying the menu, and I was overwhelmed by the amount of choice on it. I had expected to mostly see pizzas, as that was what I'd heard so much about, but there was so much more! It took us quite a while to select what we wanted, and while we were choosing, we ordered a sangria and a strawberry agua fresca (fruit cooler). I was fascinated by the latter, and it was very refreshing; a good choice for a hot day.
Appetizers included eggplant salad with olives, calamari, salami and cheese, and parma ham and melon. After much deliberation, I went for the mozzarella and tomato. Having had some disappointing attempts at this dish already during this vacation, I wasn’t sure about this, and it was lacking salt, but apart from that, it was better than those previous attempts. My husband sampled the arancini, fried risotto balls filled with mozzarella and meat ragu, and he was disappointed with the lack of meat in them.
So it wasn’t exactly the best start to the meal, but things were about to get a lot better. Despite the presence of salads, and pasta dishes such as lasagne, spaghetti and meatballs, and seafood linguine, we both opted for pizzas, and my goodness, we were glad we had! We’d already been told that they were cooked in the traditional Neapolitan way in wood-fired ovens, but to be honest, I took that to be Disney spiel, and wasn’t expecting what we ordered to be any different to any other pizza, but how wrong you can be!
It really was the most amazing thing I’d ever tasted, and so light, very different to the takeaway pizzas we get at home. There’s a great selection here, with signature pizzas including four cheese; ham and melon; pepperoni; tomato, mozzarella and vegetables; and Four Seasons--eggplant, artichokes, parma ham, and mushrooms. I ordered the funghi pizza with portobello and crimini mushrooms, while my husband went for a Build Your Own. The Build Your Own comes with an impressive selection of 15 options to put on your tomato, mozzarella and basil base. My recommendation is to definitely try the pizza here, as we absolutely loved it. On the pizza alone, we’ll be coming back to Via Napoli again.
I will say that it’s not a cheap table-service option, with lunchtime prices for individual-size signature pizzas $18, while the individual-size Build Your Own starts from a base price of $16, with each additional topping $2. [Large pies that serve 2-3 starts at $28, and "Mezzo Metro" (half-a-meter) pies for 3-5 start at $39.] Parmagiana and pasta dishes cost even more, and the average appetizer costs $8. As a result, if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, this is a good use for one table service credit.
Via Napoli- Italy- Individual Size Piccante Pizza
iccante. Italian Spicy Sausage, Brocolli-Rabe, tomato, mozzarella.
After we’d finished our pizzas–we were far too stuffed to sample any of the desserts on offer!–we took a quick tour of the restaurant. It’s very light and airy in here, and I absolutely adored the pizza ovens called Stromboli, Vesuvio, and Etna (for the famous Italian volcanos), and it was fascinating to see the chefs creating those amazing pizzas, right in front of our eyes. I was mesmerized by the scene, and stood watching for some time. All around the dining room were reminders of the Italian setting, with posters on the wall, and small mosaics, depicting Italy, on some of the tables.
All in all, Via Napoli is a wonderful addition to the dining options at Disney, and one that we’ll certainly be returning to time and time again, particularly whenever we want to get a mouth-wateringly good pizza!
Updated 03-01-2012 - Article #781
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