Naples – Centro Storico – Piazza Bellini
Piazza Bellini at the end of Via Tribunali has some nice bars with outdoor terraces where you can meet for an aperitivo before heading off to eat in any of several different directions.
Later in the evening it’s a good place for a digestivo too if you don’t mind the crowds of noisy students from the universities nearby.
You can see some remains of the original Greek city walls in the piazza as well.
Nearby is one of my favourite restaurants in the city…
La Stanza del Gusto (Intermediate A), 100 Via Costantinopoli, www.lastanzadelgusto.com
I like the modern approach La Stanza takes as it makes for a nice change from all the other restaurants that churn out the same Neapolitan standards. It’s a bit more expensive than it should be but that hasn’t stopped me going a few times.
You can sit outside but arrive early to snag a table. Personally I find the inside more comfortable and I adore their collection of old formica tables. Service is good, especially from the female servers.
Once I tried their tasting menu; seven courses for €65.
In 2015 these were ricotta with deep fried pasta and sago (B)…
…courgette and home smoked ricciola (amberjack) millefoille (A)…
and my favourite, pulpo arrostito or grilled octopus (A), with a caponata of aubergine and cherry tomatoes (B-).
Other dishes were an interesting cold aubergine soup with cucumber ice cream (both B).
Marinaded tuna with mozzarella and fresh tomato (B+).
Homemade Bucatini pasta tossed in Gransardo, a Sardinian cheese, over an organic tomato sauce (A).
To finish a selection of Sardinian cheeses including Gorgonzola (B) and Pecorino Sardo (C) served with honey (A) and raspberry jam (A+).
And some cake and ice cream in clear plastic boxes to finish (B).
Another dessert I can recommend is their Biramisu (B+), which is a tiramisu made with stout!
My favourite though is the Melanzane al Cioccolato, or strips of roasted aubergine rolled around sweet ricotta and topped with chocolate sauce and served with crystalised ginger (A).
They would go well with a glass of my favourite Passito di Pantelleria called Ben Ryè (made from Zibbibo grapes on an island south west of Sicily www.donnafugata.it). It’s expensive but excellent (A).
In terms of white wine, both their Pietracupa Fiano (B) and Greco di Tufo from Benito Ferrara are good (B+). They also have their own craft beer called Ma Perche (B).
So overall La Stanza del Gusto is a little overpriced but it makes a really nice change when you’ve been eating the same kind of food for a long time. This is about as hipster as Naples gets.
Photos uploaded January and March 2016.