Pastas, wood-fired pizzas, scoops of sweet gelato – here’s a first look at the menu for the new Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria at the Epcot Italy Pavilion. Opening next month the 300-seat restaurant expands dining choices (our favorite Tutto Italia stays). Created by the Patina Restaurant Group’s CEO Nick Valenti, the menu is based on his travels in Southern Italy and his time developing and overseeing the successful Naples 45 Ristorante e Pizzeria in New York. Valenti spent time in Naples studying the art of dough, crust, sauce and oven temperatures at the famous pizzerias Da Michele and Trianon. A feature at Via Napoli is its wood-burning ovens, cleverly named after the three active volcanoes in Italy – Mount Etna, Mount Vesuvius and Stromboli.
Appetizers: Sicilian eggplant with olives and raisins; salad of lettuce, fagiolini (string beans), fennel and tomatoes; arancini (fried saffron risotto balls) with meat ragù, mozzarella and pomodoro sauce; corn-crusted fried calamari; and minestrone with basil pesto. Or share a plate of arancini, mozzarella, calamari, portobella mushrooms, asparagus, zucchini and carciofi (artichokes).
Main course salads: Manzo (filet of beef) with greens, red onion, gorgonzola, apple and cucumber with a red wine-mustard vinaigrette; chopped salad with lemon chicken, greens, cantaloupe, cucumber, red pepper, green beans, onions, almonds and pasta crisps with honey-citrus vinaigrette; calamari with arugula, carrots and fennel with orange vinaigrette.
Pastas: candele (long, tube-shaped pasta) with sausage ragù; linguine with seafood; malfadine (ribbon pasta) with guanciale (unsmoked Italian bacon) and pomodoro sauce; lasagna verde.
Piatti alla Parmigiana: (dishes topped with Parmesan and mozzarella gratinée): veal, chicken and eggplant.
Wood-fired pizzas: made with caputo flour imported from Southern Italy, San Marzano tomatoes, handmade mozzarella and water from a local spring just like in Italy’s Campania region – 10-inch, 20-inch or 1/2 meter to share: a dozen choices, from a simple pizza Margherita with tomato, mozzarella and basil to carciofi with artichoke, potato, pecorino cheese, prosciutto and cantaloupe.
Sweets: tiramisù, zeppole di ricotta (ricotta cheese-fried dough, whipped cream and chocolate sauce); apple cake with almond sorbetti; gelatie; and vanilla gelato with almond cookies and amarena cherries.