L'Europeo has always been my favorite restaurant in Naples. The ambience is pure trattoria--fish tank in entryway, plates, diplomas, awards, Neapolitan paintings, photos and copper pots covering the walls. Owners Alfonso Mattozzi, his wife Annamaria, and daughter Fabiana welcome diners like old friends--surely they know someone you know, and therefore you'll get the same treatment, or will on your next visit. The seasonal menu is pure Neapolitan and pizza is given the attention it deserves, as a starter for the meal. Classics like margherita and marinara or smoked provola and greens are stellar, worth a voyage. Plates appear, of super-fresh mozzarella, tiny fried fish, meatballs, olives, slow cooked vegetables. Of course pasta--local, from Gragnano, is worth the calories. I can't resist maltagliati with mussels and strictly seasonal green zucchini flowers (called sciurilli in dialect). I rarely arrive at the main course, but there's fresh, local fish for those with heartier appetites. Alfonso insists on dessert--babà, pastiera (wheatberry custard tart), custard tartlets topped with wild strawberries, fruit stuffed with its own flavor of gelato. The wine selection is wonderful and Alfonso or Fabiana will recommend something appropriate. Rosé champagne and pizza really does work, although there are lots of great wines from Campania and beyond. L'Europeo is now open for dinner as well as lunch. It's close to the port, great for those who plan to get a boat to the Sorrento coast, Capri, Ischia or even Sicily.
Via Campodisola 4/6/8 (NA)
Closed all day Sunday and two weeks in August
-September 2009 link to the article published in The Atlantic Magazine