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One of the food meccas of Europe, Naples is the largest city in the heart of Campania. One of the busiest metropolitan cities in Italy, visitors flock to Naples for the sunshine, the agriculture – and of course, the food. Food experiences are a way of life in Naples – and there are plenty of popular dishes both locals and tourists love. It’s not just pizza and pasta here!

Eating Food in Naples

Much of the popular food in Naples is inspired by centuries of tradition and recipes passed down through generations. Whether you’re looking for a restaurant to sit down and have a traditional meal in, or finding a snack among the dozens of street kiosks and stalls that dot the city, there’s always something delicious to eat in Naples, from sweet to savoury.

Lots of dishes you’ll find in Naples – and in Campania generally - are healthy and simple, made with few, but high quality ingredients. Whilst there’s no shortage of junk food – look no further than pizza frita, AKA fried pizza - the Mediterranean diet is very influential in this area of the country, and it reflects in the cuisine.

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Neapolitan pizza

Perhaps the most obvious choice – you can’t go to Naples without eating Neapolitan pizza.

The Neapolitan pizza has a storied history that goes back centuries, but the contemporary pizza we know and love today was actually a reinvented peasant dish that was then served to Queen Margherita in 1889. So delighted by the pizza, the dish was given the name pizza margherita in her honour.

The classic pizza involves a basic dough, tomato sauce made of San Marino tomatoes, mozzarella, a sprinkling of basil and extra virgin olive oil. This is the classic margherita. But you can also get two other varieties – marinara pizza with garlic, onion and oregano, and margherita extra, which uses buffalo mozzarella instead of normal.


Flaky, sweet and ever so moreish, sfogliatelle is a traditional Neapolitan pastry that’s otherwise known as ‘lobster tails’. Made up of lots and lots of layers of sweet pastry the pastries are then filled with semolina and ricotta, though depending on the bakery there might be other ingredients in there too.

The pastry is the grand dame of the Italian patisserie world and was believed to have been invented in the 18th century in a monastery around forty minutes from Naples.

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If you’re wandering through the streets of Naples, you’re going to find fried food everywhere. And whilst you have your choices, might we recommend a Neapolitan favourite, cuoppo. It’s not just one fried food, in fact, it’s an entire mezze of fried foods! In a nifty paper cone, you’ll get things like fried courgette, fried aubergine, fried fish, fried potato and even balls of fried mozzarella. With so many deep-fried things, each bite is a little mystery – but you can be sure it’s delicious.

Spaghetti alla Vognole

You can’t visit any area of Italy without encountering delicious pasta dishes – and Naples is no different. Spaghetti alla Vognole is one of the most traditional pasta dishes you’ll find in the region, making great use of the local seafood that’s readily available from the Bay of Naples.

Simple and delicious, spaghetti alla vognole mixes pasta with olive oil, garlic, parsley, tomatoes and – the all-important clams. It’s a dish you’ll often find in the summer months – and you can bet every Italian grandmother has their own little twist on the classic recipe.


Another sweet treat that’s traditionally enjoyed in Naples around Easter is the Pastiera, a tart that’s steeped in mythology. Many prepare it during Holy Week just before the celebration of Easter Eve, though it was once considered not a celebratory dish – but a gift for celestial beings.

According to the legend, a version of the tart was prepared to celebrate the return of spring, then presented as an offering to Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture. The more common version of pastiera, however, is believed to have come from the convents in Naples – rather than any particular divine being.

A buttery tart, a pastry case holds a mix of ricotta and pastry cream, combined with wheat berries, candied orange and orange blossom water, to give a rich, deep flavour to the pastry.

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Back on the fried food express – and this one combines two things that Neapolitans love; pasta and fried food.

One of the most popular street foods to pick up in the city, frittatina is is essentially fried pasta, pushed together with peas and bechamel sauce, then breaded and deep fried. Heaven, right? Depending on where you go, it’s a relatively cheap eat – with most costing just a euro for a delicious snack.

A great way of using up pasta leftovers, you’ll find plenty of varieties at street kiosks that use different added ingredients, like ham, seafood, mozzarella and parmesan for an extra kick of taste.


For those visiting Naples around Christmas, you won’t want to miss susamielli, a traditional Christmas cookie served with other Neapolitan pastries around the festive season.

The basic dough is not dissimilar to gingerbread. The cookies are made using sugar, butter, honey, flour and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. They’re carefully shaped into ‘S’s’ and then baked until they turn a beautiful deep brown colour.

In the past, these biscuits were dipped into dessert wine and consumed – but a cup of coffee is perhaps more customary these days. At least, before sociable drinking hours. The reason for this is because the biscuits can be quite tough and take a lot of work to bite into. The liquid helps soften the exterior and make the biscuit far easier to consume.

Ready to explore the most popular food in Naples? tabl. have a range of food and drink tours and activities ready to show you the secrets of Naples and help you experience the city just like a local. Visit our website to browse our selection today.

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