by Kristin Casagrand
I’m going to come right out and say it….I love Italian food. Give me a plate of pasta and some bread and I am a happy camper. One of my favorite Italian restaurants in Epcot is Via Napoli. Not only do you feel like you’re in Italy, but they also have great food, service, and atmosphere. I will confidently make the statement that in my opinion, Via Napoli has the best pizza on property. I think they import their water in directly from Italy, which gives their pizza the perfect taste of an authentic Italian pizza. The water involved in the making process of the crust gives pizza much of its defining character.
The building of Via Napoli has beautiful architecture, blending into the feel of the Italian pavilion. The windows are painted with theming that makes it look directly off the streets of its home country. The main dining room is large and open with three large, neat looking pizza ovens lining one of the walls. The restaurant is colorfully decorated with Italian destination pictures adorning the walls. The restaurant can get pretty noisy with the amount of people dining together, but it also gives it a homey feel as though you are a part of a big Italian family sitting down for dinner. Make sure to make dining reservations ahead of time because this place can be pretty popular! Last time my family went we actually didn’t have reservations, but had to wait almost an hour and a half for walk-in dining.
Be prepared to have a full belly when you leave dinner. You need to get a starter and dessert to have the full Italian experience, so save room. Last trip, our table started out with a classic Mozzarella Caprese plate that came with delicious fresh mozzarella cheese and tomatoes. For dinner, I ordered the chicken Parmesan with Alfredo penne pasta. It was one of the best chicken Parmesan meals I have ever had. We also had a Margherita pizza at the table, which is essentially a plain cheese pizza with basil on top. Like I said before, the pizza is to die for. Let’s not forget the fact that we filled ourselves with bread and dipping oil before dinner, which is never a bad decision. At this point in the night, we were feeling pretty stuffed, but knew we couldn’t pass up on dessert. I got the chocolate gelato and our table shared a popular Via Napoli dessert called the Zeppoles. They are fried cheese filled balls that are served with dipping sauce.
I would definitely recommend Via Napoli for a family dinner after a day in EPCOT! It offers consistently good food and service that are sure to not disappoint.
This week’s recipe is for a copy-cat of the artichoke pizza at Via Napoli. Brought to you courtesy of http://www.disneygals.com/2013/07/a-taste-of-via-napolis-carciofi-pizza.html
Carciofi Pizza Recipe
9 oz. fresh prepared pizza dough*
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup shredded fontina cheese
7 oz. canned plain artichokes (not marinated), drained, rinsed, and cut into quarters (if not already)
2 T. white truffle oil
Flour, for rolling out dough
*Local grocery stores have these available in bags for around $1 and I’ve also seen them at both Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.
1. Lightly oil a plate, place dough on plate, and let sit out for at least an hour.
2. Place dough on floured surface and roll to 13″ diameter.
3. Preheat grill to 425 degrees.
4. Place dough on preheated grill and cook for 2-3 minutes, until browned and grill marks appear, then turn over. If the pizza crust puffs up or large bubbles appear, don’t worry – just pop them!
5. Drizzle olive oil on browned crust, add artichokes and cheese, then close grill lid. Cook 2-3 minutes more, just until cheese is melted.
6. Remove from grill and place on pizza peel or cookie sheet.
7. Drizzle with white truffle oil and serve.
Kristin Casagrand is a student currently studying physical therapy at Bellarmine University. Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Kristin has taken many a family vacations as a child driving 24 hrs, cramped in the back of the car and fighting with her sister to get to Disney (definitely worth it though). She looks forward to sharing “A taste of Disney” with everyone each week.