If you’re taking the magical express from Orlando International Airport to your Disney Resort, you’ll get to watch DME TV during the ride. In the mini-movie there’s a restaurant highlight for Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria. Hand Tossed Pizzas, Large Italian Ovens reminiscent of the Bocca della Verita, and focaccia, what’s not to like? A lot apparently or so they say. We had been warned by a couple family members and other avid Disney goers that the Italian pavilion at Epcot World Showcase left something to be desired. And while we didn’t really know what to expect at Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria we were very excited about pizza and the air conditioning nonetheless.
Located at the back of the Italy pavilion in Epcot, Via Napoli is a table service restaurant, meaning you’ll probably need to grab reservations. The menu is varied enough that you could grab something cheaper like the pizza or something pricey at about 38/plate. Either way though, its not necessarily cheap. We definitely wouldn’t recommend it above other budget-friendly restaurants, like San Angel Inn or The Garden Grill and its not fancy enough to compete with California Grill or Tiffins.
The atmosphere is easy but not necessarily themed to normal Disney levels. Expect a sophisticated atmosphere. We were actually a little worried about not being dressed up. While i’m sure there was Italian music playing at some point, it was not prominent for us to notice.
The restaurant opens into a very large space with a full view of the pizza ovens and some higher bar table seating to make it feel less like a cafeteria. We did think this would be a cute restaurant for special events like baby showers or bridal showers. You will be able to get a view of the chefs tossing the pizza before putting them in the ovens, but even from our fairly close seating this too was not a prominent enough display for us to notice.
A quick note about the food at Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria. Neither the salad nor the focaccia bread comes free. I imagine this would be different if you were ordering an entree. For us we ordered a salad to share ( as the basic salads were 12 dollars each) and added the bread for an additional cost. We got a large Margherita pizza, which is perfect for 4 people at 2 very large slices each. Now, we do love pizza, a lot. Hand tossed, wood-fired pizza is very thin and smoky. It actually makes for a nice lighter meal than the heavier pastas or meats here. That said, we would highly recommend that if the pizza is meant to be your main meal to plan on having a snack later. True Italian pizzas are very lightly topped with toppings. You will not find the breadth of protein on your pizza here and you will get hungry if this is all you have for dinner. For that reason we also wouldn’t necessarily recommend using your Disney dining credits here unless you planned to order the expensive items from the menu.
Now, on the day we dined at Via Napoli it was about 105 degrees in Orlando, Florida. In those temperatures you rarely want heavy items to eat, so we were happy with the meal and only needed a little dessert later. All in all we did love the pizza. We weren’t thrilled that we had to pay for the salad or the bread and for the three of us had a bill of about 70 dollars including the tip.
The Via Napoli Restaurant Review
VIA NAPOLI PROS:
Great pizza, large size
Excellent focaccia appetizer
Great service, nice and attentive wait staff
VIA NAPOLI CONS:
Lack of prominent Italian themeing
Cost of food
Substitutions aren’t allowed
All in all this was a good experience for us and we’d probably go back if we were craving pizza or on the dining plan with hopes of trying something more expensive. For us, I think some slight disappointment came into play because it didn’t feel overly Italian ( like Biergarten does German) and it was more sophisticated than we usually associate with Italy. Or rather more sophisticated than anyone wants to be in 105 degree weather. However, if you are in the mood for some high class wine and cheese in a restaurant atmosphere, than this restaurant will probably meet all your requirements!
If you’ve had the privilege of dining here, let us know what you loved and we’ll be sure to try it next time we’re in Epcot.