Via Napoli Review
Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria is an Italian restaurant & pizzeria in EPCOT’s World Showcase. It’s Walt Disney World’s best pizza place, serving authentic Neapolitan pies with ingredients imported from Southern Italy. In this WDW dining review, we’ll share food photos, pros & cons, and thoughts on the service. (Updated June 4, 2022.)
Calling this Walt Disney World’s best pizza place undoubtedly invites comments from those living in New York, Chicago, or other places believing they serve the definitive version of pizza. No offense, regional food pride is pointless (at best). Regional pride is fine–everyone has it–but the steadfast belief that cuisine should be monolithic and uniform is unnecessarily limiting.
Food evolves, is reinterpreted, and varies from place to place. That’s part of the fun. Why have a single style of pizza when you can have endless variations? Good pizza is good pizza, regardless of whether it conforms to some narrow version of what people from some specific place think it should. But I digress.
Another topic that always comes up with Via Napoli is service. Normally, we shy away from this in our reviews since service is incredibly hit or miss at Walt Disney World. You can go on two different days and have night-and-day experiences, or even be sitting at different tables on the same night and have a totally different take on service quality.
In fairness, most service at Walt Disney World is good. We’d peg around 80% of our restaurant experiences with servers and other Cast Members as good to great. The other 20% are not so good, and are totally unpredictable. It’s hit or miss to the extent that there’s usually no telling where or when you might encounter poor service. It does not depend upon the specific restaurant, or the caliber/cost of the dining spot. This inconsistency is definitely a problem at Walt Disney World.
At least, service is usually unpredictable. At Via Napoli, the service we’ve received has been consistently poor. We’ve now dined at Via Napoli over a dozen times, and I’d say we’ve had good service around 25% of the time. Given those numbers, I’m pretty confident that we have a large enough sample size, and our experiences are not anomalies. Via Napoli is a consistent offender.
In fairness, Via Napoli’s “style” mirrors that of service throughout Europe, where servers are generally more brusque and to the point. This contrasts with the American approach, which is more affable and outgoing. Americans are more accustomed to hands-on and attentive service, whereas Europeans favor hands-off servers who fade into the background of the experience. Calling one “good” and the other “bad” isn’t totally fair, and shows our biases as Americans. Look at it this way: you’re getting a wholly authentic European experience at Via Napoli!
With that out of the way, let’s move on to the theme and ambiance of Via Napoli…
Via Napoli has a indoor dining spread out across several rooms, plus a terrace seating area with doors and windows that can be opened (lower right area on the photo above). While we like the indoor area, it can be a bit loud and raucous, especially in the main room.
We prefer dining in the terrace at Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria, which makes our List of the Best Restaurants with Outdoor Dining at Walt Disney World as an honorable mention since it’s not totally outdoors.
The inside of Via Napoli is beautiful albeit relatively understated. There are nice lighting fixtures and craftsmanship. By far my favorite feature of the restaurant was the open-air cooking area, including the three-ovens named Etna, Vesuvio and Stromboli.
In terms of ambiance, Via Napoli is fine. The seating area is large, open, and features high ceilings with minimal fabric to absorb sound. It can get pretty loud inside, but is still typically fine. After all, this is a pizza place, not an intimate fine dining setting.
Even though the pizzas are quite expensive, the true question is whether it costs more to eat a meal here than at most restaurants. If paying out of pocket and eating pizza, I would answer with a resounding “no.” The largest pizzas on the Via Napoli menu are around $40. That would be a fairly high price if these pizzas could only feed one.
However, they can feed ~4, depending upon appetites. Roughly $10 per person for an entree at a table service restaurant, especially one of the better World Showcase restaurants, isn’t that bad. Add in appetizers and drinks, and the total is around $20 per person, which is still quite reasonable given the alternatives.
It’s still quite a bit for pizza, but in Disney, you pay for the ambiance and location. It’s not the best-value in the EPCOT area, but you shouldn’t have sticker shock in looking at the pizza prices. All in all, it’s not that bad given the size of the pies.
Over the course of our first few visits to Via Napoli, we tried some appetizers. On our subsequent half-dozen or so visits, we’ve always skipped the appetizers. They don’t seem that special to us, and can quickly escalate the cost of the meal (which we normally try to make a good value).
With that said, here’s some of what we’ve tried…
One such appetizer is the Calamari Fritti. I’ve never encountered calamari I didn’t like, and this was no exception. The sauce was rich and fairly well-flavored (not the best I’ve ever had, not the worst), and the calamari itself were perfectly breaded. I definitely have a weakness for calamari, and this really hit the spot. I probably would have been fine with two orders of calamari for myself, for my entree.
Here are a couple of other appetizers that we’ve tried since that first meal at Via Napoli:
Here’s the Fritto di Verdura. These are crisp fried vegetables served with marinara piccante.
This is one of the cheaper appetizers at Via Napoli, and are arguably worth getting if you want a bit of filler. Very straightforward and nothing that will wow you, but the batter is fairly good and the portion usually fair. (It’s hard to tell from that photo, but I think we got decent value out of this.)
Here’s the Arancini. This is fried risotto balls filled with mozzarella and meat ragÃ¹.
These were fine, with a nice crunch outside and a soft center. I wouldn’t say the flavor was particularly noteworthy, and at over $10 for this appetizer, I wouldn’t say the portion presented good value for money.
We’ve also had the Salami e Provolone (flavorful without being overly greasy) and the Eggplant Caponata (something I wouldn’t normally sample, but surprisingly delicious). With that said, I’d probably still steer clear of the appetizers unless something really catches your eye. Instead, go big on the pizzas.
Now, let’s take a look at the star of the show at Via Napoli: the pizza!
After a hiccup our first time visiting Via Napoli, we’ve had incredible pizza after incredible pizza there. We’ve tried most of the menu at this point, and have loved every choice. Here are some random notes I’ve collected from our experiences at Via Napoli.
Our current favorite is currently the Carciofi Pizza (pictured above). This is a white pizza topped with artichoke, fontina, mozzarella, and truffle oil. That might sound like an odd mix, but it is addictively good. I’m not a huge fan of artichoke, but it totally works here, and the truffle oil puts this pizza over the top. I’m pretty sure I could eat a Mezzo Metro of the Carciofi Pizza all by myself, and I’m not even exaggerating.
As is the case at pretty much every pizza place, Margherita is the cheapest option. Here, it’s no slouch.
Choosing the Margherita allows each ingredient to stand out, including the exceptional crust. The cheese is excellent, ditto the sauce, and the basil punctuates an extremely flavorful pie. If you’re trying to do Via Napoli on a budget, look no further.
The pepperoni pizza is also stellar. It went from being “nothing that knocks my socks off” as I called it at one point, to being an excellent pizza, and a worthy competitor to many real-world pizza places at which we’ve eaten. (Even though we favor Chicago-style deep dish pies, we loved these thin ones!)
Countless individuals in the Disney community have indicated what makes Via Napoli so special is the water. The team at Via Napoli sought out to find water-wells in Florida similar to those in Naples. Consequently, Via Napoli uses water nearly identical in chemical composition to the water of Naples, Italy.
Purportedly, this produces the best density for the dough, which in turn makes the pizza better. It seems to me to be more marketing fodder than anything else, but the dough on the pizzas we’ve had on our recent two visits has been really good. I wonder how many people who have gone to Via Napoli without knowledge of the dough-water have thought, “wow, this is some amazing dough!!!” Not many, I’d imagine.
The Quattro Formaggi Pizza (pictured near the top of the post) is another of our favorites, as is the Piccante Pizza (half pictured above). About the only thing I think we have not tried at Via Napoli is the Prosciutto e Melone Pizza, and that’s because I can’t get past the idea of cantaloupe on a pizza.
One thing we would recommend doing is doing a half and half Mezzo Metro (again, pictured above) if there are a couple of options you want to try. Not only does this present the best value, but it’s a good way of sampling more of this excellent menu on a single visit.
When I first wrote this review, it ended with the conclusion that Via Napoli was pretty good, but also overrated. Walt Disney World fans had overhyped the restaurant and inflated its reputation a bit too much. Nevertheless, we were eager to revisit later and see if our opinion would change. As Mulder from the X-Files would say, I WANT to believe.
We’ve now eaten at Via Napoli countless times, and it’s no longer a matter of “wanting” to believe. I DO BELIEVE. While it stumbles in terms of service, Via Napoli is otherwise so good that we’re willing to overlook that. It also has tremendous range. It’s good for large groups of family and friends, a nice romantic date night spot (depending upon where you’re seated), and even good with small children. Few World Showcase restaurants have so much universal appeal.
Without question, Via Napoli serves the best pizza “pies” in all of Walt Disney World. We’d take that a step further, proclaiming it one of the few places we’ve ever dined serving truly authentic Neapolitan pizza, right down to imported ingredients, wood-burning ovens, and even the water-sourcing (no joke!). Simply put, Via Napoli is one of the best World Showcase restaurants, and a great value if you split a pizza. It’s a really fun restaurant, and it lives up to the hype.
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What do you think of Via Napoli? Do you think it’s the best Walt Disney World pizza, or do you think it’s overhyped? Planning on going? If you’ve dined here, do you agree or disagree with our review? Any questions? Hearing your feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts or questions below in the comments!
I would agree with you. Love the pizza but pretty bad service.
At the risk of sounding xenophobic I will state the following: the servers (and Cast Members working in stores, kiosks, etc.) from other countries have not always had the same customer service skills as those who grew up here. The rudest Cast Members I’ve met were in Germany and other Epcot countries! After asking very politely to a group of six German students, “do you have any cuckoo clocks here?” I was told, “if there are any they are over there” accompanied by a sort of wave in a general direction and he returned to his conversation and no one else spoke or tried to help. The servers in restaurants have been hit and miss too. I know we have different backgrounds, different cultures, but if you come to work at Disney World you MUST adhere to a superior level of customer service!
Meh. We liked eating outside when we went. We haven’t been in FOREVER though. The food was meh. My husband went for The pasta and I got a gf pizza. Meh. But I don’t remember anything bad about the service so there’s that!
Tom hit the nail on the head. At first, I gasped at $33 for a large pepperoni pizza When we dined there several years back. Paying a few dollars more for a steak dinner that fed one person, as opposed to a pizza that fed three of us, plus taking leftovers back to our room for lunch the next day, made it seem like a relative bargain )and is all the more reason why we’ve never gotten a dining plan).
We had poor service at VN once. Unfortunately it was the first time we ate there and it took us more than five years to return. That being said we have. I wear there multiple times over the last four years and it is easily our favorite for both food and service. Every time we go we engage the wait staff (the bus boys are always happy to be recognized) and have always found them personable, friendly and welcoming. It is the one restaurant I always recommend to people when they ask for a place to eat in Epcot.
We were supposed to go to Via Napoli in late March, but then Covid happened and who knows when we will get to go back. Your photos have me salivating! We always get the Arancini to start with. I think it’s well worth the price.
Started going to Via Napoli several years ago. Now it is on our must eat at restaurants on every trip. Excellent write up. I find the service slow however when the food finally arrives it is always worth the wait. On a positive note on service, we always had courteous waiters and they were very helpful with special wines and food suggestions. So now before you go stop somewhere to have a snack so you won’t starve at your table.
Saying you have to eat before you go to a restaurant so you won’t starve while waiting for your food isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of the restaurant. But it does show why we won’t ever go there again. We waited for 25 minutes just for the server to show up & take our drink order (which he never did) before leaving. I don’t care how good the food is. You wouldn’t even get treated like that in a high-end signature restaurant. And this is a pizza place. No thanks. Never again.
Our WDW visits always include a meal at Via Napoli. Hands down, it’s one of our favorite places! In the many comments I’ve read, I’m surprised that I didn’t see any about the pistachio gelato! Highly recommended for anyone who needs to feed their sweet tooth after the delicious pizza!
We’ve been to Via Napoli several times, frequently with student groups, and always had good service. I would agree that the service is comparable to what we got in Rome, but as it was in Italy, I have found that using a little Italian is always very helpful.
We have never had anything but STELLAR service and delicious fare at Via Napoli!! I hope that your post doesn’t discourage folks from giving it a try. Because honestly, of all the restaurants in WDW, we have had the BEST service at Via Napoli bar none.
And we had such poor service at Via Napoli that we won’t even try it again. It was, to be honest, the worst service we’ve ever had in any restaurant, Disney or not. We left without even ordering our food. And that was after sitting there for 25 minutes waiting for someone to come and just take our drink order.
I have seen water purification systems in a hand full of breweries and bagel places around the US that mimic the water composition of just about anywhere. They basically analyze the minerals and ph and voila you can have New York water for you bagels or Colorado mountain water for your been even if you are located in Timbuktu
I had seen the Prosciutto e Melone pizza several times on the menu before I dared to try it, but I can say with absolute confidence that it was one of the best daring food choices I have ever made. The Prosciutto e Melone is now my favorite pizza of all time. I HIGHLY recommend trying it at least once. I know it sounds weird, but it just works. I even try to recreate the pizza at home sometimes – it really is that good. Also, I have been to Via Napoli probably at least 10 times, and have never had bad service.
Via Napoli is one of my favorites. We have always had good service here. I understand what you are saying about hit or miss services though. The worst service we have ever had in a restaurant was at Epcot. We ate at Biergarten about 4 or 5 years ago and will probably never try it again. I have heard and continue to hear good things about it but our experience there was so bad it ruined it for us.
That’s how we feel about Via Napoli. The service was so bad, we left before we’d even ordered our food. It’s the only restaurant at WDW that we won’t try again.
kudos for the chicago deep dish shout out tom!
We’ve never, ever had poor service there….never. Sure, sometimes it’s little on the slow side, but it’s always been great for us.
We went to Via Napoli during our stay at WDW the second week of December and was disappointed. The sauce on the pizza was watered down, so not much flavor and for the price you pay there was not much of the toppings on the pizza we ordered. The Naples in downtown Disney, in Disneyland makes the best pizza you will ever have.
As I posted in the past……Costco Pizza is Much Better than Via Napoli!
Worst Table Service Experience We Ever Had at WDW
And I’m being Nice about It!
I agree that the service is the worst. I can’t say about the food. Our service was so bad we actually left before even ordering. And that’s not to say we didn’t give the place a chance. We sat in an extremely loud restaurant (9 yo was covering her ears because the noise hurt them) waiting for a server to show for 15 minutes. We finally gave up. No one even came to get our drink orders! We’ve never been back.
Naples at Downtown Disney and Via Napoli are operated by the same company (Patina Group) with the same recipes and ingredients. There are some different menu items, but also a lot of overlap.
I’m with you, we eat here every time we visit WDW. One of my absolute favorites!!
Absolutely one of the best meals ever. Wait staff went above and beyond great service. Will be back as we are pass holders and had a great time.
Hi! We’re headed to WDW President’s Day weekend – first time taking our two boys, 7 and 5 (baby girl is staying home with the grandparents;)! We’re visiting Epcot the day we fly in. Our flight is early in the morning and will be our boy’s first time to fly, so we’re expecting them to be pretty worn out by that evening, even with adrenaline. I currently have an ADR for Via Napoli at 5:15, but I’m starting to get nervous that, in reality, they might not end up being able to handle a sit down restaurant that night. I don’t want to risk canceling our reservation last minute and pay the penalty, but also not sure I‘m ready to give up on idea of enjoying such yummy pizza that evening. Is it possible to walk up and get a table without committing to an ADR?
It’s possible, but not guaranteed. It all depends on how busy the restaurant is. You may get a table, but you also may have to quite some time for it. And President’s Day weekend is a busy weekend for Disney World. It’s not even uncommon to wait (at some Disney restaurants) 30 minutes past your reservation time. And keep in mind that it’s very loud in that restaurant. We left before even ordering food because of the noise level. Granddaughter was almost in tears. Said it was hurting her ears.
Can’t you reschedule your reservation for the next night instead? Or make it earlier in the day?
Thank you so much for the feedback! There are no available reservations earlier in the day. Sounds like it might be best to cancel our reservation and just see if it works out:) Do you know if they let you order pizza to go:)!? Maybe we could just take it back to our hotel to enjoy:)!
Do you know if you’re penalized for showing up to a reservation just to say you’ve changed your mind due to exhausted kiddos;)? If not, maybe we could keep our reservation & still play it by ear without being penalized with a fee…does that question even make sense;)?? Speaking of, do you know if the late cancellation fee is $10 total or $10 per person? Thank you SO much for all of your help!! I am so grateful!
First of all, keep checking for an earlier reservation. People cancel. I start making reservations at the 180-day mark, but sometimes don’t get what I want until 3-4-5 months later. Always keep checking! Even the day before. That’s when a lot will cancel to avoid the fee.
And, yes, they’ll slap you with the $10 per person fee if you don’t keep your reservation. They started doing that because too many people were double booking in order to ensure a place for wherever they ended up being at the time they got hungry. Disney was losing money thanks to that, because a reservation for one family takes that table away from another one.
You are the best!! Thank you SOoo much for all of your help:)!!
No problem. Keep me updated. I’d love to know if you eventually get a reservation at an earlier time and what you thought of it. Thanks
Hi Catherine, I’m curious how your visit went this week? We have a reservation in May so I’d love to hear your opinion of the restaurant.
Hi:)!! We actually ended up cancelling our reservation since we weren’t sure how the kids would feel after a long day of travel & figured we’d just try to get in without a reservation if they were feeling up to it that night…glad we did! The kids were completely wiped out, so we ended up eating dinner in our hotel room. A friend told us great things about it, so I wouldn’t have hesitated to give it a try:)! Sorry I couldn’t help more!!
We did that the one and only time we’ve eaten there. It was the evening of our arrival day at the resort, towards the end (perhaps the last night) of Epcot food and Wine. We were told a 15 minute wait, and were seated in less than 5.
Just want to say that I totally agree with you on the service in Europe. I just got back a couple a weeks ago from a trip to Spain, France, and Italy. I was worried about France but Italy was much worse when it came to service. The pizza, however, was amazing . I am looking forward to upcoming trip to Disney world and ADR at Via Napoli!
This is a must every time we go. We typically get pizza. I had the eggplant Parmesan the last time and it was delicious. I will agree the service isn’t the greatest but the food makes up for it IMO.