I hang one hat in Rome and another in Naples. Why do I love Naples so much? She’s not for everyone. She’s fussy, noisy, and boisterous. She’s full of life, sunshine, personality and surprises. Give her a chance and she will steal your heart, I have no doubt.I first visited Naples more than 15 years ago. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve returned. There’s something comforting knowing I’ll come back again and again. Whenever I want to escape Rome, with its museum-like grandeur and angry drivers, I hop on the train to immerse myself in the pulsating city of Naples. The smell of sea air, strong coffee, and fried pizza dough fill the streets, piazzas and alleyways. I’m flying high. Sometimes I head straight to the historic center for a caffè alla nocciola (espresso topped with hazelnut-chocolate cream) near Piazza del Plebiscito, visit Palazzo Reale and window-shop on Via Chiaia. On other occasions, I make a b-line for a sfogliatelle pastry and caffé macchiato near the train station before perusing the Porta Nolana and Pignasecca markets, awed by the array of seafood on display. Neapolitan cooks have an abundance of seafood from the Tyrrhenian Sea at their disposal. Vendors sell anchovies, octopus, cozze (mussels), vongole (clams of every type imaginable), orata (sea bream), baccalà (salt cod) and more.After a walk through the Pignasecca market, I’m hankering for seafood. Any day in Naples is a good day to eat fish. Fish vendors are open 7 days a week. Although Naples is known as the birthplace of pizza, seafood is a foundation of Neapolitan cuisine.
Located on Vico Cinquesanti in the historic center, A’ Lucianella, is a tiny, sparsely decorated family-run trattoria. Diners include a mix of locals and tourists. As you approach the doorway peek into the kitchen where you’ll find Mr. and Mrs. chopping and plating octopus. Octopus salad is their speciality. If tentacles aren’t your thing, don’t worry there are plenty of seafood-based dishes to try. Start with seaweed fritters, fried anchovies and a glass of white wine. Order a dish of spaghetti and clams as your first course. The sweet clams and pasta are cooked with luscious olive oil and cooking water from the vongole and topped with freshly torn parsley. Finish with grilled octopus, and a plate of grilled vegetables or a salad. If you’re in Naples, visit this welcoming and relaxed space in the heart of ancient city. The staff will make you feel at home, the seasonal ingredients are fresh and the dishes will be cooked like at home.
Vico Cinquesanti 29 (Piazza San Gaetano)
Tel. +39 081295860
Gina Tringali – food lover, certified sommelier, coffee connoisseur, and passionate home cook – is a successful freelance food and travel writer and blogger based between Rome and Southern Italy. She is committed to discovering and sharing with fellow food enthusiasts Italy’s best culinary and wine experiences.