Taverna Santa Chiara, Naples, Italy, 12/21/19


Taverna Santa Chiara is in small rooms on 2 floors. It is set off a pedestrian walkway.  We sat on the bottom floor which had about 5 bare wood tables set with paper placemats and napkins.  Music was in the background and the place had lots of decorations.  The kitchen was right off the dining room but separated by a glass partition.  The menu was translated on itself and a couple of nightly specials were presented by the server.  They sold a house wine that was available in various quantities.  Chef was in the kitchen and came out to talk with friends but did not visit with all guests.   Continue reading

Taverna dell’ Arte, Naples, Italy, 12/20/19


Taverna dell’ Arte was a small place that opened in 1990.  The small tables were closely positioned and covered in beige cloths on top of black ones and set with beige napkins.  Outside there was a porch area with lots of candles.  Inside the lighting was lowered and music was in the background.  There are several rooms divided by half walls and some full partitions.  There was lots of dark wood and various decorations were on top of things and hung on walls.   The windows were covered.  The staff was friendly and spoke fairly good English, as I heard several tables speaking English.   There was a large menu in both English and Italian and everything was a la carte.  There were a lot of drink options.  The chef came out and visited with some but not all of the tables.  Overall this place was okay, not great. Continue reading

Gran Caffe Gambrinus, Naples, Italy, 12/20/19


Gran Caffe Gambrinus is a huge ornate place that is mostly a coffee and pastry restaurant.  They do serve heavier food but most people seemed to be enjoying a pastry, coffee and the surroundings.  The place has been around for 150 years and was restored in 1890 when they brought in many of the paintings and statues. It has been visited by many celebrities over the years, like Ernest Hemingway, Sigmund Freud, Angela Merkel, and Luciano Pavarotti.  They are ready for lots of tourists as the menu is in about 6 languages.  The tables are small but there were a lot of them and a good sized bakery at one entrance where you could come and get pastries to go.  We tried coffee and a Sfogliatella riccia which is a shell shaped Neapolitian classic pastry that has tons of layers of buttery pastry.  It was fabulous but looking around the place was just as good.  It is eye candy. Continue reading

Mangi & Bevi, Naples, Italy, 12/20/19


Frattoria Mangi & Bevi is a small place of 2 rooms with the third room being the kitchen.  It is a bright place with no music in the background and the tables are covered with plastic.  It seemed to be mostly populated with local, regular patrons.  The floor is tile, the walls are brick and lots of old photos decorate the walls.  Not much English is spoken by the staff.   It serves good, home style comfort food.  The menu is passed out with a small card.  You write on the card what you want and turn it into the waiter.  He brings stuff out as it is ready.  Service was efficient, fairly fast and portions good sized but not huge.  Wine is available by liter or fraction of and served in pitchers with plastic cups or they have beer.   Continue reading

Essencia Restaurant, Naples, Italy, 12/19/19


Essencia Restaurant just opened last May.  The building has a bar and kitchen downstairs and upstairs are a couple rooms for dining.  Window doors open to the outside and music is in the background.  The small tables are set with beige or white cloths on top of a contrasting floor length cloth.  Coordinated napkins and different colors of fabric on the chairs complete the stylish set up.  Bench seating was on one wall and the seats were pretty comfortable although the small tables are fairly close.  The walls are decorated with various pieces of art.  The menu offers a la carte selections and tastings of 4 or 5 courses.  I didn’t notice wine pairings being offered but the wine list was fairly reasonable.  Staff were very friendly, welcoming and spoke great English.  We chose the 5 course tasting.  Pacing and portion control were both wonderful. Continue reading

L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele, Naples, Italy, 12/19/19


L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele is made up of two rooms.  They serve beer, water or soft drinks, no wine and serve only Margherita or Marinara pizzas.   There is no menu. The entry room is slightly larger and houses the pizza oven, prep area and check out register.  The bare marble tables are large enough for multiple parties to be seated at.  Not sure they really liked having tourists in the place and I noticed they sat all the Asian people at one table, whether they were in the same party or not.  They let the folks in early as it was raining that day and when it was formal opening time one of the men came round to the tables and asked how many of each type you wanted and took drink orders.  Plastic cups, a pile of napkins and some flatware are then unceremoniously dumped on your table. Continue reading

Osteria “La Chitarra”, Naples, Italy, 12/18/19


Osteria La Chitarra is a small place with about 9 tables.  Wood beams cross the ceiling and were topped with Christmas or non-seasonal decorative items.  Music was in the background and lighting was lowered.  The bare wood pedestal tables were set with placemats and large paper napkins.  The menu is all a la carte and wine is available in bottles and also by liter or portion thereof.  We bought a pitcher of the house wine and it was very drinkable.  Service was provided by the wife of the chef/owner and she was friendly and efficient.  The chef, Giuseppe Maiorano did come out and visit with a few friends but did not make the rounds of the room, perhaps he only spoke Italian.  This is a place of home cooking at its best. Continue reading

Pizzeria Da Attilio, Naples, Italy, 12/18 & 12/21/19


Naples is the home of pizza and Da Attilio served the best pizza I’ve ever had.  It’s a medium sized place in a touristy area but packed with people speaking Italian.  The red cloth covered tables are topped with plastic and set with paper napkins.  A large pizza oven is at the entrance to the restaurant where there is room for a few people to wait for a seat.  The wait was not bad.  The counter keeps a list and calls outside when it is your turn.  Inside there are a couple rooms with fairly close tables and lots of decorations on the walls.  No music is in the background just the hum of people happily eating pizza with friends.  When you get to your table there is a large menu and sometimes a special pizza of the day.  After you finish there is a counter up front where you can pay.  They serve wine and beer but I didn’t see hard liquor.  The staff were very friendly but pretty much in a rush as they have lots of people to attend to.  It was so good that we came back for a second visit.  Chef Attilio is the third generation of ownership of this business, named for his grandfather who started the restaurant.  He started helping his mother at the age of 6. Continue reading