Travel to Naples
Pensione Margherita, V. Cimarosa 29, 5th fl. (081 578 2852; fax 556 7044), in the same building as the Centrale funicular station (go outside and around the corner to the right and buzz to enter). 19 rooms are large and share 6 spotless baths; some rooms with terraces. Endearing management, excellent views of Vesuvius and Capri, and low prices for this posh, peaceful residential area. Check-out 11am. Curfew lam. Closed Aug. 1-15. Singles ‚32; doubles ‚58; triples ‚82. MCV.
If you ever doubted that Neapolitans invented pizza, Naples’s pizzerie will take that doubt, beat it into a ball, throw it in the air, spin it on their collective finger, punch it down, cover it with sauce and mozzarella, and serve it alia margherita.
ElGino Sorbillo, V. Tribunali 32 (081 44 66 43; www.accademiadellapizza.it). The only pizzeria that boasts 21 pizza-making children in this generation alone and a grandfather who invented the ripieno al forno (calzone). Peer inside the kitchen to watch the frenzied action and original flame-spewing brick oven. Open daily noon-3:30pm and 7-ll:30pm. MCV. O
Pizzeria Di Matteo, V. Tribunali 94 ( 081 45 52 62), near V. Duomo. Former President Clinton ate here during the G-7 Conference in 1994. The marinara is your best cheap bite (‚2). Pies burst with flavor, and the building bursts with pizza aficionados-put your name on the list and expect a short wait. Open M-Sa 9am-midnight. O
Antica Pizzeria da Michele, V. Cesare Sersale 13 (081 553 92 04). From P. Garibaldi, walk up C. Umberto 1 and take the 1st right. Watch sweltering chefs toss pies from pizza-board to flame-licked oven and onto plates all with superhuman grace and dexterity. Pizza ‚3.10-4.20. Open M-Sa lOam-llpm.
Pizzeria Brandi, Salita S. Anna di Palazzo 1 (081 41 69 28), off V. Chiaia. In 1889, Mr. Esposito invented the margherita in Brandi’s ancient oven to symbolize Italy’s flag with the green of basil, red of tomato sauce, and white of mozzarella di bufala. Famous customers include Luciano Pavarotti, Isabella Rossellini, and Gerard Depardieu. Open daily 12:30-3pm and 7:30pm-late. AmExMCV.
RESTAURANTS AND TRATTORIE
Nothing can compare to Neapolitan seafood; locally caught fish and shellfish enjoy an exalted place on the city’s tables. The waterfront offers a combination of traditional Neapolian fare and a change of culinary pace. Among the shops of downtown, small options can be found on side streets, away from the louder, more expensive trattorie. Some of the cheapest, most authentic options lie along Via dei Tribunali in the heart of Spaccanapoli.
Zorba’s, V. Martucci 5 (081 66 75 72). M: Mergellina. 2 blocks off P. Amedeo, to the right as you exit the station; turn left at the sign, and it’s 3 doors down. A delightful change of pace from the relentless pizza parade, serving good Greek fare. Open Su-F 8pm-lam, Sa 8:30pm-3am. Cash only.
El Bocadillo, V. Martucci 50 (081 66 90 30; www.elbocadillo.it). M: Mergellina. Real Brazilian-style barbeque joint, serving tasty, juicy slabs of your favorite animal. The decor won’t transport you, but the cuisine just might. Open daily 7pm-3am. 0
La Cantina di Albi Cocca, V. Ascensione 6 (081 41 16 58). Take V. Vittoria Col-onna from P. Amedeo, take the 1st right down a flight of stairs, turn right, and then left onto V. Ascensione. Hard to find, but this small, dimly lit restaurant is ideal for a romantic evening out. Primi ‚6-8. Secondi ‚8-10. Cover ‚1. Open M-Sa l-3pm and 8pm-midnight. MCV.
Ristorante Bellini, V. Santa Maria di Constantinopoli 79-80 (081 45 97 74), off P. Bellini. Come for obliging service and an evening al fresco, surrounded by fragrant flowers and wrought-iron screens. Try the linguine al cartoccio (‚11) or anything from the pesee menu. Open daily 9am-4pm and 7pm-l:30am. Closed Su in summer. MCV.
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