Anaheim >Naples Ristorante E Pizzeria
Italian Food Near a Magical Place.
Typically, I'm not a fan of Italian restaurants. I often feel the food is bland and water down, when really it's just not made with love. When you grow up with a Sicilian Grandmother who used to slave all day in the kitchen to make the best Lasagna, pasta, sauce (called gravy), homemade Pizza on homemade dough it changes your opinion of Italian food. Everything she made was made homemade and her whole heart was put into to. I inherited these skills, so it's tough for me to really enjoy an Italian restaurant when I feel I can make anything they can, but better.
However, when dinning at Downtown Disney the restaurant options aren't great. There is ESPN Zone (sucky bar food), House of Blues (good for a show, but not for just dinner), La Brea Bakery (great bread, didn't really want a sandwich or soup), Rainforest Cafe (I'm not 9 years old with a monkey obsession) and Tortilla Joe's, which looks like it was designed and colored by retard 6-year old children. So we went with Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria. The menu looked good and even bad pizza can be somewhat enjoyable.
We sat at the bar and our bartender was stocking wines. He quickly got us our drinks and then went back to stocking wines. We decided we'd start with a bowl of the Minestrone then have the Short Rib and the Pancetta E Ananas (Pineapple, pancetta, tomato sauce and mozzarella pizza); the bartender had other plans, he never came back. He continued to stock wine. We nicely said to him as he passed, "We're ready when you are". He acknoledged then contintued stocking wines. We thought this was odd, his hands weren't full when we told him we were ready. He should have stopped right there and taken our order. That's what a good bartender would have done.
The Minestrone was good. Typical Minestrone, but nothing special. And this bartender was now also creapin me out a bit. He was just an odd cat, his social skills were off, he smiled odd and he looked at me odd. He was just one of those weird people.
The Short Rib and the Pizza came out and to our surprise they were both delicious, scrumptions and flavorful. The short rib fell apart as soon as the fork touched it. It was so tender, flavorful and it sat atop a bed of creamy and really tasty Polenta. Both were prepared perfectly and tasted great so sharing felt like we were reenacting a Civil War Battle. I think I won. The Pizza was thin crust, but not paper thin. It was cooked just right, with a crispy crust and gooey cheese; the pancetta was a little over cooked but it didn't matter it was so good. I think Pancetta should be on everything, it should be a law.
Overall, the food was shockingly good, especially for a cheesy Italian Restaurant. We were both happily surprised. I wanted it to suck, cause I can write a much funnier review if the restaurant is bad, but it didn't. I'd totally go back for these dishes. I wouldn't however sit at the bar.
Better off trying Sbarro.
I first tried Patina Group's 'Naples' when it opened a few years ago. I experienced SO many negatives that I swore I would never return. I even complained to the owner of Patina Group in a letter, but never heard back.
After a renewed recommendation from a friend, I tried Naples again, only to find the food mediocre and the service entirely incompetant. Our appetizer was brought out wrong twice and on the third attempt it came out correct but cold. We complained to the manager but he shrugged it off. Next time I visit Naples it will be the one in Italy, not Downtown Disney!
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