On August 5, 2010 Patina Restaurant Group opened a new casual pizzeria, called Via Napoli, in the Italy pavilion in Epcot World Showcase at Walt Disney World Resort. This becomes the first authentic Italian pizzeria to ever open in the park. Restaurateur and longtime Patina Restaurant Group CEO Nick Valenti created the Via Napoli concept, based upon his travels in Southern Italy and his time developing and overseeing the successful Naples 45 Ristorante e Pizzeria in New York which was awarded the coveted certification of “La Vera Pizza Napoletana.” While in Naples, Valenti spent time studying the art of dough, crust, sauce and oven temperatures at the famous pizzerias Da Michele and Trianon. At Da Ettore, he discovered the art of pagnotiello, a folded round of pizza dough filled with mozzarella, ham and mushrooms.
“I have always loved the beauty of a simple Neapolitan pizza,” Valenti says. “It’s a perfect food, something beloved by both Italians and Americans. At Via Napoli we will make pizza the traditional Neapolitan way: with a textured, soft and charred crust. I look forward to bringing it to Walt Disney World, where it should be a welcome addition to guests visiting Epcot.”
The Grand Opening ceremonies were very festive and included speeches by Dan Cockerell, V.P. of Epcot and Nick Valenti, CEO of the Patina Restaurant Group. Mickey and Minnie even helped cut the ribbon, er… grape vine.
Both the interior and exterior of the restaurant are exquisitely detailed in traditional Italian style.
A unique feature at Via Napoli is the wood-burning ovens, which are named after the three active volcanoes in Italy – Mount Etna, Mount Vesuvius and Stromboli. Each oven is sculpted with the “face of the volcano” — reflecting the gods whose mythology surrounds each volcano’s history.
Our meal started with a glass of Mineral Water, sparkling or still and our choice of flavors of Acqua Fresca…I had strawberry and it was a thicker beverage than I expected but it was deliciously refreshing. For appetizers we had Fritto Misto which is an assortment of Italian delicacies including Arancini, Calamari Fritti, Melanzane and more. Next it was on to the pizzas! I love pizza and with out a doubt the best pizza crust I have ever eaten is a Via Napoli. We tried three of the pizzas and they were all amazing but my favorite hands down was the Quattro Formaggi (four cheese) Pizza. We also tried the Margherita Pizza (tomato, mozzarella and basil) which was Aaron’s favorite and the more classic Pepperoni Pizza. The pizzas come in 3 sizes Individual is $16, Large is $27 and 1/2 Meter to Share is $36-yes they are pricier than your local pizzeria but I promise you they are worth it!
For dessert we had Tiramisu, Zeppole di Caterina (ricotta cheese fritters served with whipped cream and chocolate sauce) and Gelato Frizzante (ice cream soda “Italian Style” made with San Pellegrino’s “Aranciata” and vanilla gelato). I am not a big coffee fan but those that are loved the Tiramisu. I enjoyed the Zeppole but my favorite dessert was the Gelato Frizzante.
I have been raving to everyone about Via Napoli and I can’t wait to go back and bring my entire family. Call now to make your ADRs for your next trip. If you are on the Disney Dining Plan Via Napoli uses Table service credits.