Naples – Centro Storico – Porta Alba & Piazza Dante
Connecting Piazza Bellini to Piazza Dante and Via Toledo is the Port Alba gate.
Underneath the gate there’s a very nice place to eat:
Pizzeria Ristorante Port d’Alba (A), 18 Via Port’ Alba, Tel. 081 459713,
This is apparently the oldest pizzeria in town (since 1738) although I’ve never tried a pizza here so I can’t comment on how good it is.
The restaurant is a bit pricey due to its prime location but the food is excellent and you can sit outside under the arch. It’s open seven days a week which makes it a good choice for a Sunday.
My favourite order is their huge signature dish, Linguine alla Santa Lucia which is to die for (A+). It involves several varieties of bivalves served with linguine in a sauce of cherry tomatoes, whole cloves of garlic and parsley, with a whole fresh fish which the waiter will debone for you at the table.
It can be pricey, between €26 and €40 in my experience, but if you negotiate a smaller fish you can keep the price down. Generally in Naples it’s best to ask the price of things that are not marked on the menu to avoid any nasty shocks. Seafood can be expensive.
A cheaper but also very delicious option at is the Linguine al Cartaccio (A). Again this is linguine with prawns, clams, mussels and cherry tomatoes all wrapped up in a paper parcel and baked in the oven.
They have a good selection of wines from the major Campanian cantinas such as Dei Feudi di San Gregorio and Mastroberadino, as well as several others. Again, make sure you check the price before accepting suggestions.
The Fragolini, baby strawberries with lemon juice and/or sugar, are a good choice for dessert, although again they don’t feature on the menu. And of course you need a cold (“very very freddo!”) Limoncello to go with this.
It may take a while to get served as the waiters have a fair bit of ground to cover. I particularly like Salavatore, one of the older waiters, who is a bit of a character and speaks good restaurant English. He’s good for a laugh and shares my dislike of accordion players, so a top man as far as I’m concerned.
Walk through Porta Alba to get to Piazza Dante.
On the other of the square you’ll see this excellent coffee shop on Via Toledo:
Caffe’ Mexico (Intermediate A), 86 Piazza Dante
This has a rep amongst many locals as having the best espresso in town. They’re a small chain but this is the original.
I love the 60’s retro fittings, the futuristic coffee machine and the white-suited and braided baristas.
When I was in there taking these photos, there was also a traffic policeman and a soldier having coffee. I tried to get a picture of all three of them together but the policeman clocked me as you can see! They do like a uniform in Italy.
The coffee on sale here is very good too, probably because the beans are roasted on the premises.
I like to buy some to take home.
Off the north end of Dante at 1 Via Enrico Pessina, you’ll find the very beautiful but virtually empty Art Nouveau Galleria Principe di Napoli, built in 1839.
The only business here seems to be Caffe Letterario at #6-7, a small coffee bar that sells quirky local postcards and books. It’s worth a look in inside for something a bit different to send to the folks at home.
The archaeological museum is just across the road from here (see this post).