Palazzo Petrucci (Advanced B+), 4 Piazza San Domenico Maggiore (the large square at the western end of Spaccanapoli), www.palazzopetrucci.it
A relative new kid (since 2007) on a very old block, upmarket Petrocchi with its modern innovative attitude makes a welcome change to the same old classical Neapolitan fare that the majority of local restaurants churn out. It’s formal and quite expensive but I thought the experience was worth the money. They also have a pizzeria in the same square.
I’ve been to the restaurant twice and really enjoyed it each time. The second time I had their cheaper €70 tasting menu (they have a another one for €100). Unfortunately I’ve lost the menu so can’t tell you exactly what some of these dishes were, but they were all good (at least B-).
To begin, fresh prawns with a cream cheese, an unusual combo for me (B-).
Then squid in an artichoke sauce I think (B).
After this, Spaghettone con Acqua Pazza, Wasabi e battuto de Gallinella di Mare (thick spaghetti with a tomato and parsley ‘crazy water‘ broth, Japanese horseradish and chunks of Red Gurnard) was let down by being a bit too salty and served on a cold plate (B-).
My favourite dish was the Triglia, Ortaggi. Cicoli e Salsa di Mandorle Tostate’ (red mullet, vegetables including red cabbage, baby tomato, almond sauce, courgette, parsley and micro herbs, rendered pork fat and toasted almond sauce) which scored an A for flavour and an A+ for presentation with ingredients dotted all over the plate creating a very attractive visual effect.
I tried a few of their desserts.
And a few of their digestivos. The limoncello (B+) and the nocillo (A) were particularly good, the amaro less so (B).
The service was exemplary, especially from the wine waiters, and standards are generally very high.
Pizzeria Vesi (Low Intermediate B), 115 Via San Biagio Dei Librai (one of the eastern continuations of Spaccanapoli/Benedetto Croce), www.vesi.it, open Sunday
I tried their unusual Margherita ‘DOC’ (B+) which is made with no tomato sauce, just fresh San Marzano tomatoes and Grana Padano (cheaper than Parmesan) scattered on the top. Total cost with a Nastro for €10.50.
Service ranged between average and unfriendly (the young guy with the scowl) and is the reason I probably won’t go back. However they do have an outside terrace on the street.
Antica Pizzeria Dell’Angelo (Intermediate B=), 16 Piazzetta Nilo (halfway along Spaccanapoli), www.pizzeriadellangelo.com
Another pizzeria with a terrace outside (quite unusual) so a good place for a pit stop on a hot day. Their USP is the ‘cornicione ripenio’ where the crust around the edge of the pizza is stuffed with such fillings as cream, ricotta or a puree of five other cheeses.
Needing a change I went with the waiter’s suggestion of the Aristocratica with prosciutto, provola, olio d’oliva, formaggio (?), basilico, funghi with a crust stuffed with mousse di prosciutto (yuck). Can’t say I liked it unfortunately (C), so it’s back to Margheritas for me. There are other more normal options here as well so I’m not writing them off completely.
Antica Osteria Pisano (Low Intermediate B), 1 Piazette al Mannesi (on the crossroads of Via Duomo and Via Viaccaria Vecchia, at the eastern end of Spaccanapoli), www.osteriapisano.it
One guide describes this as a friendly family restaurant but they must have been having bad days on the two occasions I went. Enzo the owner didn’t even say hello when I came in and just ignored me. His wife Nunzia is a bit nicer but doesn’t seem very happy.
Thankfully the food is great. The Sciatelle alla Vongole was excellent (A).
The Spigola all Acqua Pazza (A) cooked al cartoccio (baked in a foil parcel) at my request.
The recommended Falanghina was okay (B) however they don’t have a fridge in which to chill the wine. That’s fine, but an ice bucket should be supplied as a matter of course, but I had to ask for it. The homemade Limoncello was good though (A).
It’s a small place seating 32 inside and 12 outside on their terrace. The food is good value with primos and meat secondos costing €5-8 and sea food secondos €8-12 (in 2015).
I probably would go back just for the food, if there was nowhere else nearby to go.