From pizza to pastries, mozzarella to mustaccioli and seafood to sfogliatelle, Neapolitan cuisine is renown for its delectable dishes. The area's natural bounty of produce and the Neapolitans' unbridled creativity gave birth to gastronomic greatness that is celebrated and recreated the world over.

Neapolitan fare is the result of a blending of peasant "cucina povera" plates and refined aristocratic French fare from the years of Bourbon rule over the area. Local peasants ate primarily pasta, grains and vegetables, along with mozzarella cheese for protein, while the ruling class dined on elaborate preparations with costly ingredients that included meat. Today, the blending has blurred the line, so maccheroni appears on menus in expensive restaurants, and meat and seafood are common among all levels of society. The important part is the creative ingenuity and method of preparation. Neapolitans are eminently proud (and even a little snobbish) about their recipes, maintaining tightly to tradition.

The result is unadulterated culinary delight that will satisfy every palate. Follow our foodie itinerary and pay homage with your tastebuds to the rich and varied gastronomic history of Naples.

The tour starts in in Piazza Bellini...

The restaurant La Stanza del Gusto, run by chef Mario Avallone, is a constant creative experiment with a seasonally-changing menu. Housed in an historical building, it's divided into three sections: the wine cellar; the cheese bar, which offers a selection of cheeses and salami; and the restaurant, which features different fixed-priced menus to sample the ever-rotating specialties. This is the place for true gourmets!

In the splendid Piazza San Domenico, set in the former stalls of the Palazzo Petrucci is the restaurant of the same name. It became popular by word of mouth among locals but was recently awarded the first Michelin star, putting it on the gastronomic map. Dine in the sleekly-redesigned main room or in the glass-paneled gallery where cooking enthusiasts can watch the activity in the kitchen. Features an ala carte menu or a fixed-price sampling menu of the restaurant's specialties.

The trendy destination in the Posillipo quarter is Ristorante Donnanna located in the beautiful Villa Caracciolo, it's right on the shore of the Mediterranean. The menu is mainly focused on fresh seafood which are beautifully presented, and features a carefully selected wine list of regional as well as national labels. Dine on the wonderful terrace overlooking the Gulf of Naples or in the stately dining room inside the palace. The restaurant occasional hosts Cibarti, special evenings of food, art and music.

Two stand-by classics are next up on the tour. La Cantina di Triunfo is located into the 17th century Palazzo Mirelli, in the Chiaia district. Located in the oldest wine shop in the historic center, it features a cantina as well as a scrupulously regional restaurant. The menu changes daily and is strictly seasonal, so leave the selection in the hands of the chef and enjoy the healthful bounty of the area that is carefully prepared that day using only family and local recipes.

Da Ciro a Santa Brigida is a stalwart in the middle of the historic center since 1932. It is frequented by a wide range of clients from lunching workers to patrons of the nearby San Carlo theatre to famous names like Sophia Loren and President Giorgio Napolitano. The menu is primarily centered on seafood but some land-based dishes are featured and the pizza is popular, as well. The dining room is elegant but cozy and welcoming; it's a place where locals go for celebrations and special occasions.

PIZZA. A culinary tour of Naples must also include pizzerias, since the city is the birthplace of the oven-baked pie that is now famous world wide. There are 6000 pizzerias in the Campania region alone, one-third of them located in the province of Naples! The most popular pizzerias are in the historic center, just meters from each other.

Pizzeria da Michele in Via Cesare Sersale 1 is a no-frills, no-nonsense, no-atmosphere kind of place where you are forced to eat and run, but the Condurro family has been consistently turning out excellent pizza margherita and pizza marinara since 1870. Definitely a must for pizza purists.

In Via dei Tribunali, is Pizzeria di Matteo, which is primarily a take-away stand but also has a dining room in the back. Famous for its fried foods, it garnered a visit from then-President Bill Clinton during the G7 summit in 1994. It's a worthy stop on the tour.

A more serious stop is Pizzeria Sorbillo, which is something of a dynasty that is said to be run by the 21st generation of pizza makers using the recipe handed down by the family's founder, Luigi. Pizza making is so ingrained in the family that they opened the Accademia di Pizza to spread the word about "true" Neapolitan pizza.

Finally, there is Pizzeria Starita in Via Materdei, a family-run place since 1901. They continue to bake tasty, light pizzas in the wood-burning oven along with Naples' traditional fried specialties. The eatery made an appearance in the Sophia Loren film, "L'Oro di Napoli".

After you've filled up on the fabulous, fresh, delicious dishes in these hallowed dining halls, don't forget to visit one of the city's many pastry shops for a taste of the celebrated sweets, and be sure to try the espresso in a coffee bar - Italians from every region of the peninsula hail the coffee in Naples the country's best!

Been there? Done that? Share your experience and tips!

Haven't visited yet? Have questions about Culinary Naples? Ask them here!

Ask our staff about self-catering homes in Naples.