REVIEW: Via Napoli
Rice balls, steak, fettuccini, oh my! Via Napoli is almost too good to be true.
Ciao! Today I wanted to do a review of my dining experience at Via Napoli Ristorante, located at the Italy pavilion in Epcot. It was recently voted as the number one best amusement park restaurant by USA Today, and oh boy, does it live up to the hype! During my last trip to WDW, I was able to snag a 7:35 reservation for my friend, Amanda* (changing her name for privacy reasons) and I. This was to be my second time dining at the restaurant, and Amanda’s first.
We were seated a couple minutes early, and our waiter was a friendly Italian boy named Valerio. (I may or may not have developed a crush on Valerio throughout the course of our meal, but there’s something about Italian accents that makes my heart swoon.) Anyway, Amanda ordered a glass of merlot, and I opted for a Coke. I had somewhat of a headache, otherwise I would have tried the Via Napoli sangria, or the peach bellini. We also ordered appetizers – I went for the arancini (fried risotto balls stuffed with mozzarella and beef ragù) and Amanda picked garlic focaccia. The focaccia isn’t on the menu, but instead is advertised on a little easel on the table.
The appetizers came out quickly, and soon my mouth was in heaven. The arancini was so moist and cheesy, and so immaculately seasoned. The outside was fried perfectly, and between the crispiness of the breading, and fluffiness of the risotto, it was a match made in heaven. Usually when I eat rice balls, I find that the rice tends to dry up inside, but the risotto in the arancini was so impeccably cooked, I had to stop myself from shoveling them in like some kind of animal. I also tried some of Amanda’s focaccia, and my God, it was easily the best garlic bread I have ever eaten. The bottom seemed to have been soaked in some sort of garlic oil, and there was oregano dusted on top. It was very greasy, but in a good way. Unfortunately for Amanda, she has a fish allergy, and couldn’t try any of the arancini because it’s fried in the same oil they use for the calamari. I didn’t want to tell her then so as not to make her feel bad, but she really missed out!
Honestly, I could have left after the arancini and been perfectly satisfied, as they were two huge rice balls, but we still had our main course to look forward to. Amanda ordered the steak, which came with roasted potatoes and broccoli rabe, and I chose the fettuccine “Via Napoli”, which was mushrooms, prosciutto, and a choice of chicken or shrimp (I went with chicken.) It came in some kind of cheesy, cream sauce – not alfredo, but close to it. It was pretty good! The chicken was nice and tender, the prosciutto crispy, and the fettuccine slightly al dente…
Overall, I really enjoyed it, however I will say that the sauce on top tends to dry out and make the pasta stick together. I kind of had to dig underneath to get a creamy bite of fettuccini, however I would definitely order it again. It was a huge serving of pasta, and I didn’t even make a dent in it because I was pretty full from the arancini. Amanda said her steak was excellent, and she let me try a bite of it – it was delicious! She got it rare (just the way I like it) and it was so tender and buttery.
Neither one of us could finish our meals, so we skipped dessert. I think had we had some, we would have been rolling around World Showcase like Violet from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” It was a rather expensive meal, (not including tip, I think we both paid around $50?) but it was oh so worth it. Seriously, the next time you are in Epcot, do yourself a favor and dine at Via Napoli. I can’t rave about this restaurant enough.