One of the most exciting things to do when traveling around Italy is to try the local street food. Naples is definitely one of the great street food capitals of the country.
Walking around, you often get a whiff of frying food. Stay here for a while and you’ll see just how much Neapolitans love to fry things. If done right, the street food of Naples can be a sumptuous snack. Read on to discover some of the traditional street food bites and where to find them!
Pizza Fritta: Fried Pizza
It’s well known that Naples is the birthplace of pizza, but have you ever heard of fried pizza? We can’t talk about street food in Naples without talking about the pizza del popolo (the pizza of the people). It’s called the pizza del popolo because the city’s women first began selling it on the street after World War II to supplement their household income.
Gino Sorbillo, one of the most famous pizzerias in Naples, has a fried pizza outlet that does it justice. Crisp and golden on the outside, it has a steaming hot filling of ricotta, tomato, mozzarella, and salami. The main pizzeria of Gino Sorbillo also features in our guide to the best (non-fried) pizza in Naples.
Although Sorbillo’s pizza is a classic, there are two other great places that are a little less touristy. La Vera Pizza Fritta da Gennaro in Piazza Carità is a mainstay for locals. If you really want to go off the beaten path, head to Via Ventaglieri, 76 in the evening. The restaurant is unlabelled and not present online nor on Google Maps, but if you ask for il posto che fa pizza fritta (the place that does fried pizza) in any neighborhood minimarket, they’ll be able to point you to it.
Pizza a Portafoglio: Folded Pizza
If you have a hankering for a pizza on the go but don’t want a fried pizza, try a pizza a portafoglio (which literally translates to wallet pizza). It’s a smaller pizza, usually, margherita or marinara, folded into quarters and eaten just like that! Some of the best places are Pizzeria Tutino, Fiorenzano in Montesanto, and ‘A Puteca d’ ‘a Pizza (Via dei Tribunali, 86).
O’ Sicchitiell’ e Muzzarell’: Little Bucket of Mozzarella
If you’re craving pure mozzarella, look no further. While wandering the vibrant streets in Naples you can pick up a cup of buffalo mozzarella balls, alone or with sweet cherry tomatoes. The bite-sized pieces of buffalo mozzarella are tangy and milky, perfect as a precursor to a sandwich or plate of pasta. Two places to find the Neapolitan o’ sicchietiell’ e muzzarell’ are Bistrot Pan’ E Muzzarell’ (Via Domenico Capitelli, 14) and a recently opened stand in the Pignasecca market (Via Pignasecca, 13).
Insider’s Tip: Looking for more veggie-friendly options? Check out our guide to vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Naples!
Frittatina di Pasta: Fried Cheesy Pasta Disk
Not only do Neapolitans fry pizza, but they also fry pasta! A cheesy, handheld disk of pasta is called a frittatina di pasta. It often has some type of meat filling in the center. Pizzeria Di Matteo (Via dei Tribunali, 94), Fiorenzano in Montesanto, and Michele Tutino (Via Toledo, 251) are three of our favorites. They are melt-in-your-mouth delicious, with stringy cheese and a very slight, oily crunch on the outside.
Taralli Napoletani: Rich and Savory Almond Biscuits
It’s common to serve little ‘o’ shaped biscuits called tarallini with any aperitivo, but the larger taralli napoletani are a whole different story. They’re seasoned with back pepper, and covered with roasted almonds which give them a rich crumbly texture and a salty, almost creamy flavor. They make a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack and an awesome accompaniment to a cold beer. You can find many different iterations and flavors, including a vegan one, at Taralleria Napoletana.
O’ Cuopp’ Fritto: Cup of Fried Food
Hopefully, you’re not too tired of fried food yet, because another iconic Neapolitan street dish is a simple paper cone filled with various fried items. The abundance of fried food has a historical reason. Naples has not always had the best sanitation system, so cooking with oil was a much safer option when the water was contaminated. The two classic types are o’ cuopp’ e mare, filled with fried fish, and o’ cuopp’ e terra, filled with non-seafood bites. We love Il Cuoppo on spaccanapoli for offering those classics along with other variations, such as fried mozzarella or fried vegetables.
Bonus Insider’s Tip: Late Night Pastries
In the late hours of the night, around 3 or 4 am, the places that produce cornetti (Italian croissants) start their work day. If you’re out late and get hit with a delicious pastry smell, follow your nose! You can give them a euro in exchange for a piping hot cornetto and ask them to fill it with Nutella or marmalade. They’re not labeled and not on Google Maps, but two failsafe places are located at Via Fabrizio Pignatelli, 9 and Via dei Carrozzieri a Monteoliveto, 43.
Chelsea has lived in Naples for five years and is deeply embedded in the community, volunteering frequently with local groups to improve the city they call home. Chelsea speaks some Neapolitan as well as fluent Italian. (Yes, Naples has its own language!) They have a deep appreciation for the simple pleasures of the city – a strong espresso in the morning, chaotic open air markets, the smell of the seaside, and, of course, a fantastic pizza.