It seems appropriate that hidden behind a rusty large gate beneath a rather domineering church is a different kind of church: “Drugstore Napoli”, created by chef and gustatory champion, Mario Avallone. In this grotto, Mario has a shop where you can purchase his own range of products – from tomato sauces and pastas, to bitters and infusions – as well as products he has come across in his travels that meet his approval. Mario’s passion is contagious and his knowledge profound. You can also book dinners at the large communal table where he’ll take you on a delicious culinary journey. Like Naples, there’s nothing provincial here: Mario uses quality products, hides nothing, celebrates simplicity and cooks with pleasure, not ego.
Drugstore Napoli, Via Santa Maria di Costantinopoli, 39
Piazzetta Ascensione is a lovely little square with a restaurant that embodies all that is great about this city. It’s called Diego, and it’s one of the finest fish restaurants in Naples. The chef, Diego, is a pleasure. Care to see a video of the fish you’re eating being caught? His boats of choice will often send footage of the catch so he can choose the choicest looking fish. Unlike many restaurants here, Diego uses all that the fish has to offer and it’s a delight to savour the different plates. The restaurant itself is small with outdoor seating in the square and is smoothly run buy his brother, Mario.
Diego, Piazzetta Ascensione, 29
They don’t bother with much in the way of gilding at this unassuming restaurant in the Chiaia district. That’s mostly because they don’t need to. At Da Dora the friendliest staff you could hope to meet serve up some of Naples’ finest seafood and despite the unassuming setting, it’s pretty much perfect. Adding to the happy factor: on occasion the resident troubadour will get out his guitar (he’s also very good at Lucio Battisti, Italy’s David Bowie).
Da Dora, Via Ferdinando Palasciano, 30