Culinary Quest: Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria at Downtown Disney

| July 7, 2010

As the writer of Culinary Quest, I feel that sometimes I do a disservice in that it is usually only two adults and one child dining. My family’s size makes it difficult to eat multiple dishes to review. Of course, we could just double up on our entrees, but our health and wastelines may not approve. For one quest, I was able to solve this problem by joining fellow DISUnplugged correspondent Tom Bell and his family. We dined at Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria in Downtown Disney.

For an appetizer, we ordered the mozzarella fresca for $9.95. This is a ball of burrata cheese (mozzarella and cream), rustic crostini, and tomato-garlic tapenade. The cheese was soft and fresh; it was tasty and enjoyed by all.

In terms of entrees, we ordered the children’s penne pasta with cream sauce for $7.95. Chicken can be added for an additional cost. The child in our party seemed to enjoy it. If you have older children, don’t hesitate to order for them from the kid’s menu, as the portion is large enough for an adult. The price of this meal seemed to be a decent value and enjoyable.

We ordered two pasta entrees. One was penne con pollo – pasta tossed with parmesan cheese, chicken, and a creamy marinara sauce for $17.95. I decided to branch out and order something unique and adventurous. Not really. I ordered the most generic of Italian dishes, the spaghetti con polpette, which is spaghetti with meatballs for $17.95. Any foodies that know better can correct me, but we all agreed that there wasn’t enough sauce on the pasta. In fact, I asked for an additional bowl of sauce, and in my defense, this decision did not garner any mumbles or eye rolls from anyone else at the table.

Both pasta dishes were nothing special. Yes, we liked them, but who doesn’t like spaghetti and meatballs or pasta with creamy marinara sauce? Is it even possible to mess up those dishes? I think not. Wait, maybe you can mess them up. How about charging $17.95? I could understand if it was some of the best spaghetti and meatballs or pasta I have eaten, but it wasn’t. I would have rather gone to a neighborhood mom and pop Italian restaurant and gotten the same dish for $9.95. Again, they tasted ok, neither bad nor good, but the $17.95 price implies better than ok.

On the other hand, we all thought the gourmet pizzas were tasty and a much better value than the pastas. We ordered the pear and gorgonzola pizza with shaved pear, gorgonzola, red onion, prosciutto, and arugula. It cost $17.95 and included 6 large slices. We also got the funghi pizza, which was topped with wild mushrooms, tallegio cheese, thyme, and lots of roasted garlic cloves. This generously portioned pizza was $18.95 and included 6 slices. Although these pizzas are described as individual sized, these were definitely shared and can feed more than one person. We all tried them, loved them, and brought home leftovers.

We did not try any of the Authentic Neapolitan Pizzas, but based on the quality of the gourmet pizzas, I expect them to be tasty as well. They come in three sizes: Individual ($16-19), Medium ($26-28), and Family Size ($38-45). Guests can choose from pizza margherita, bbq chicken, pineapple and pancetta, and sausage. Even though they seem expensive, they are really huge!

Additional entrees include grilled skirt steak, pork chops, scallops with risotto, a crispy half chicken, and gnocchi. These entrees range from $19.95-23.95. Appetizers are priced from $8.95-$15.95, and include choices such as fried calamari, risotto croquettes, and traditional antipasto. Large and small salads are available as well ($5.95-$12.95). Finally, the selection of Italian desserts range in price from $5-8. Specialty beverages include Italian sodas in a variety of flavors ($3.95) and espresso drinks ($3.95-4.95).

So ultimately, the Culinary Quest of Naples ended with mixed results. The pasta dishes were overpriced and average at best. However, the pizza was a definite hit. I guess next time I should pay closer attention to the name of the restaurant at which I am eating. After all, it is called Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria. Next time you dine at Naples, remember to look at the name on the building before ordering.


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Category: Dining, Disneyland

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