Looking for the best food in Naples Italy to try on your trip? You’ve just landed on the ultimate Naples food guide perfect for foodies!
Naples Italy is known for being crowded, chaotic, and even a little rough around the edges. But underneath its electric atmosphere, there is an amazing food scene chock full of fresh ingredients, unique recipes, and fried local favorites.
This seaside city has a long history of serving up delicious eats. During the 1800s, Neapolitans were nicknamed mangiamaccheroni, or macaroni-eaters. Back then, Naples was filled with food vendors selling heaping platefuls of long pasta noodles, which customers would eat with their hands in the street.
Fast forward to today, and Naples has evolved to become what many consider the pizza capital of the world. But it doesn’t end with pizza; the city offers everything from tangy buffalo mozzarella and addictive fried bites to flaky pastries and rum-soaked cakes.
In this post, we’re sharing what to eat in Naples, Italy so that you can dig into the heart of the city’s food scene like a true insider. From the world-famous pizza to lesser-known local treats, we’re covering all the bases.
Ready to discover the best food in Naples Italy? Read on for our top picks selected by Olivia from Inspired by Croatia!
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Must-Try Food in Naples Italy
Napoli is the birthplace of pizza, so if you only try one authentic dish during your trip to Naples, let it be pizza! Luckily, there are tons of places offering traditional Neapolitan pizza that is melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
Whether it’s from a casual streetside vendor offering pizza al portafoglio (a folded, easy-to-carry pizza slice) or a bustling restaurant tucked into the city’s narrow, cobblestone lanes, you’re never far from a drool-worthy experience.
The number one place to try authentic Neapolitan pizza in Naples is Sorbillo. Don’t let the crowds of hungry guests lined up outside to get a slice of their pie fool you, locals swear by this place too! L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele is also quite a famous pizza restaurant–it’s where Julia Roberts enjoyed a Pizza Margherita in the movie Eat Pray Love.
Where to try it: Sorbillo, L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, Vincenzo Capuano, Figlia del Presidente, or Albero dei Visconti
Pizza Making Class! Learn to make your own pizza & enjoy it too in this cooking class (book the tour here)
2. Pizza Fritta
Pizza fritta, or deep-fried pizza, is a street food staple in Naples that’ll surprise you in the best way possible. You might think it sounds heavy, but bite into one and you’ll find it’s amazingly light and crisp. It’s almost like a calzone but much tastier.
Historically, pizza fritta was a post-WWII creation, stuffed with affordable and readily available ingredients like ricotta cheese and pork cracklings. These days, the sky’s the limit when it comes to fillings—you’ll find everything from mortadella to meatballs tucked inside.
And if you’re wondering where to grab the best pizza fritta in town, Sorbillo takes the crown again. They fill it and fry it up right before your eyes, sealing the deal for an authentic Italian street food experience. You can also try it at Pizza Madre too.
3. Tagliolini Pasta Arancini
Arancini, also known as crochette di tagliolini, is a popular street food in Naples you won’t want to miss. Originally from Sicily and made with arborio rice, Neapolitans put their own twist on these tasty croquettes and used pasta to make them instead!
Arancini are most similar to fried mac and cheese balls, but taken to the next level–crispy on the outside and gooey and cheesy on the inside. They are the ultimate comfort food classic that will make you feel right at home.
When in Naples, you’ll find arancini on the street or served as appetizers in local restaurants. They’re typically filled with pasta noodles, cheese, meat, and sometimes you might even find a few peas inside.
The name “arancini” translates to “orange,”, which makes sense when you see their golden, crispy exterior that mimics the fruit’s shape and color.
Cuoppo is like a grab bag of fried finger food served up in a paper cone. This tradition, particularly the cuoppo di pesce fritto or fried fish cone, dates back to the 1800s when it started as a budget-friendly option for those who couldn’t afford to buy premium cuts of fish.
Vendors would purchase the leftovers from the fish market like anchovies, calamari rings, and other odds and ends, batter them up, and fry them to golden perfection. The result? An affordable and portable seafood feast sold in paper cones, perfect for munching on as you stroll through the bustling streets of Naples.
5. Spaghetti alla puttanesca
Spaghetti alla puttanesca is another Naples original that you’ll want to get to know. Even though the dish has a somewhat scandalous backstory, don’t let that distract you from its robust and flavorful taste.
Prepared with pantry staples like tomatoes, olive oil, olives, anchovies, chili peppers, capers, and garlic, spaghetti alla puttanesca is a perfect example of how simple ingredients can come together to create something extraordinary. It’s a must-try food in Naples if you’re looking for a dish that delivers bold flavors.
Taralli is dangerously addictive. These traditional Italian biscuits, made with pork lard, are peppery and savory with toasted almonds inside. Perfect for pairing with prosciutto and cheese or just as a snack on their own, the lard is what gives taralli their irresistibly flaky texture–crunchy yet soft with each bite.
Often served with aperitivo, you can also find taralli in bakeries all over Naples in a variety of flavors and sizes. From miniature taralli to giant ones, these crumbly snacks pack tons of flavor into every bite. Think of them as Italy’s answer to the cracker, but way more delicious.
Taralli make great souvenirs too since they won’t spoil–assuming, of course, you can resist eating them all before you even make it home!
Where to try it: Taralleria Napoletana
7. Mozzarella di Bufala
Mozzarella di bufala is in a league of its own. Forget what you know about regular cow’s milk mozzarella; this cheese is crafted from the rich, concentrated milk of water buffaloes. Typically manufactured in the Campania region of Italy, where Naples is located, this special mozzarella has a unique, slightly tangy flavor. If you think you’ve tried buffalo mozzarella before, think again!
Here’s a local tip for you: real mozzarella di bufala isn’t refrigerated. Many Italians keep it right on their kitchen counter. Plus, it’s important to know that high-quality mozzarella should never be used for cooking. Its subtle flavor and delicate texture should be appreciated as they are, and cooking would just overpower its unique qualities.
So, when in Naples, make sure to enjoy this cheese in its purest form. You won’t regret it.
Sfogliatella—this pastry is the epitome of sweet, flaky perfection. Originating from the Campania region, these seashell-shaped delights come with a sweet ricotta cheese filling with a hint of lemon, and some even have bits of orange mixed in.
In Naples, you’ll encounter two main types: sfogliatella riccia and sfogliatella frolla. The riccia version is the one that resembles a seashell (or some like to call it a lobster tail) and multiple layers of ultra-thin, crispy dough. The frolla version, on the other hand, has a softer, crumbly dough and looks more like a round bun.
Both are equally delicious for breakfast or a snack, but if we had to choose a favorite, sfogliatella riccia is the one! Whichever one you choose, just make sure you enjoy it fresh and still warm.
Babà is the sort of treat that’s hard to resist. This mushroom-shaped sponge cake is drenched in rum syrup, sometimes served with a side of custard or berries. This scrumptious finger pastry looks simple but is complicated to make. Thankfully, eating babà is easy! You don’t need a plate or a fork, you can just eat it with your hands, which is why it is a staple of Neapolitan street food.
If you find yourself hooked, which is very likely, you can even take a jar of babà home with you. Many bakeries offer babà packed in glass jars, swimming in that sweet rum syrup, making it easy to extend your Neapolitan food adventure even after you’ve left the city.
Where to try it: Capparelli
10. Frittatina di pasta
Frittatina di pasta is a delightful local specialty in Naples, Italy. This scrumptious dish starts with leftover pasta, which is mixed with eggs and cheese, then fried to perfection. The result is a crispy, golden-brown bite-sized snack with a creamy interior. It’s a delicious way to repurpose pasta, and you’ll find these little frittatine at local eateries. They are perfect for a quick treat while exploring the streets of Naples.
Final Thoughts on Must-Try Food in Naples Italy
That wraps up our list of the must-try foods in Naples, Italy!
Naples is more than just a city with great food—it’s a place where the food tells a story of its history, people, and culture. From the simple yet delicious pizza to the unique street foods and desserts, you really get a taste of what makes Naples special when you dive into its culinary culinary scene.
Whether you’re munching on a folded slice of pizza while dodging Vespas in the narrow streets, indulging in the crispy, gooey delight of a pizza fritta, or letting a sfogliatella melt in your mouth, each bite is a piece of the local experience.
And if you can manage it, grab some babà in a jar or a bag of taralli as a tasty souvenir from your trip.
There you have it! Naples is foodie heaven. So if you’re planning your vacation and deciding among popular Mediterranean destinations like Greece, Croatia or Italy, Naples definitely deserves a spot on your travel—and food—bucket list. Buon appetite!
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