Chiaia is also known as the lungomare as it’s the principal seaside promenade in Naples. The streets leading inland from it are filled with bars and restaurants so it’s usually a buzzing area to go to in the evenings.
Unfortunately, I don’t make it here as often as I’d like as involves a train ride to Piazza Amadeo, albeit a short one, from my base in Piazza Garibaldi.
However in 2014, I felt I had to make the effort for this place which is described in ‘Where Chef’s Eat’ as ‘one of the best fish restaurants in the world’. It’s also highly recommended by Lonely Planet and a multitude of other web reviews. I’d also read a few negative reviews on Trip Advisor but overall it sounded so good that I just had to go.
Ristorante Dora (High Intermediate A), 28/29 Via Palasciano, Tel. 081 680519/660762
I started with the Misto de Mare for €22. This turned out to be three separate dishes, the first a soute of mussels and clams, which was quite salty but still very good (A).
In addition a plate of battered and deep fried squid, also excellent (A).
Then a bowl of octopus with raw celery and green olives. This was the only thing that bombed with me (C) as I’m not big on raw celery and while I’ll happily eat octopus, it needs to be super fresh and creamy for me to really enjoy it.
Next the house signature dish, Linguine alla Dora (with prawns, vongole clams and half a lobster) which was probably the best mixed seafood pasta dish I’ve ever had (A+), and I’ve had a few.
From the wine list my waiter Toni recommended a bottle of Falanghina (Mustilli) from the Sant’ Agata dei Goti DOC www.mustilli.it which was wonderful (A). I paid €15 for it in the restaurant but found it later for €7.50 in a shop.
When I got home I ordered a few cases of this wine over the internet directly from the producer. Paola Mustilli writes English well and was very helpful. They charged me €6.80 a bottle, though the cost doubled when the delivery charges were added.
Just out of interest I later also tracked down the most expensive white on the wine list, which was €55 on the menu but which I procured for only €22, quite a big mark up. I guess it’s how they make their money though.
I finished the meal with a bowl of Fragolini, baby strawberries, which were sadly rather tasteless (C+) even with the addition of a shot of Marischino liqueur which I added at Toni’s suggestion.
Toni is a bit of a character and has been around a bit; he told me he had worked at Italian restaurants in Windsor and Eton. He seems to be a bit of a polyglot and dropped a few words of French and Japanese on diners at neighbouring tables.
One web reviewer complained that he hustles for tips (which aren’t expected or usually given in Italy) but he didn’t ask me for one. This was a good thing given that the bill came to €80.
So is Dora’s a rip off as some reviewers say? My bill does sound expensive but I did get a lot of top quality seafood for my money. On the other hand I didn’t have any fish which, according to some TA reviews, you should perhaps beware of as it’s sold by weight.
Would I go back? Definitely, but there are still so many other places I need to try before I do.
Da Bruno (Intermediate B), 213/214 Riviera di Chiaia
Iin 2015 I was lured here by the fact it was a Top Choice in Lonely Planet but I can’t say I was too impressed. I was the only customer on a Wednesday night in June but the waiter was very lazy and inattentive and the owner preferred to argue with his staff rather than say hello to his solitary customer.
None of the dishes LP raves about were on the menu that night i.e. there was no antipasti misto, crab with vermicelli or tiramisu.
Instead I began with the octopus salad which was very fresh, but I’ve had fresher (B+). I couldn’t fault them on portion size however, it was huge.
This was followed by a rather oily Linguini ai Frutti di Mare which just had a few mussels and clams and nothing else (B).
A decent Falanghina saved things though (B+).
The bill came to €41.50 which was rounded down to €40. I’m pretty sure I caught them on a bad day because the restaurant certainly didn’t deserve the accolades in got in the guide. Maybe it’s a bit better in peak tourist season.