Dining Recon: Via Napoli Pizzeria e Ristorante

By Evan Chaisson

While sitting at the Rose & Crown Pub – waiting for Illuminations to begin – I couldn’t stop thinking about the meal we just had … at Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria!

Huh?  What?  I know.  Rose & Crown is great, but I just have to write this review.  We had just left the Italy Pavilion and, yet again, had amazing food and fantastic service at Via Napoli.

First, a little bit about Via Napoli … it’s really the main restaurant in the Italy Pavilion.  Shhh.  Don’t tell Tutto Italia Ristorante, though.

Napoli’s specialty are its pizzas, pastas, and Italian drinks.  They boast an open concept kitchen and restaurant which only leads to one thing – this might be the loudest restaurant in all of Walt Disney World!

Of course, that being said, the noise is the only negative point we can make.  The positive?  Well, let’s get to the food.  Oh, just a hint … if you want bread service you have to request it, fans.  It’s very good and they serve plenty.

On this visit, we started with the Arancini.  Fried risotto filled with mozzarella and meat ragù, you get two “balls”.  Perfection!

Next, we moved on to entrées. As we normally do, my wife and I decided to split a dish.  Well, that turned out to be a large pizza.  We chose one that was half Margherita and half prosciutto and roasted peppers.

The prosciutto melts in your mouth, and trust me, folks, they don’t skimp on the toppings!  The roasted peppers – red, yellow, and orange – burst with flavor.

On the other hand, the Margherita pizza was in my wife’s words – “Oh, my!”  Her side of the pizza was covered in mozzarella, and the sauce was phenomenal.

We would recommend anybody who likes good Italian food to try Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria the next time that they are at Epcot.  I can, now, taste why it’s generally recognized as the best restaurant in Epcot.  In our opinion, it also has the best pizza on property!

It’s “Prime Time” for Table Services, Folks!

Well, I knew that our four finalists were evenly matched, my friends, but I never expected what happened yesterday.

50’s Prime Time ran off to an early, and big, lead.  It never looked back!

Well, actually, it did.  It had to.  Be Our Guest was chasing it with the intensity of a hungry wolverine!

Nevertheless, 50’s held off the Magic Kingdom champion and locked down the WDW title!

50s-chicken

A plate of “Prime Time” chicken as displayed on Disney’s site!

One of our readers summed up this unexpected victory best by saying, “Imagine that. A half-day Park with the #1 rated WDW restaurant!”

Pat Jeanetti of the Mickey Dudes Podcast added, “50’s has it all!  Great food, cast, and prices.”  He cheered Prime Time on all week.

In the end, you, the fans have spoken …

50’s Prime Time?  You are the WDW Fans’ Favorite WDW Parks Table Service Restaurant!  Congratulations to the “champ”!

VOTE! It’s the Grand ‘Parks Table Service’ Finale!

Another day of spirited voting yesterday, folks!  Thanks for the great work!  What did we achieve in Round 2?


Well, first, we’ve delivered four equally-strong restaurants into today’s final “match”.  Second, we’ve ousted another park champion!

Poor Rose & Crown.  You’ll always have your amazing, upset, victory in the Epcot tournament, though.  That should console you!

Today, we’re left with four.  You get to vote for ONE.  Who will win, folks?   We need a Parks champion.  Let’s elect one!  VOTE!

Eating in the Magic, Under the Stars, and with the Beasts!

Mrs. All in WDW tells me I should REALLY … “Change topics for Pete’s sake! How long can you ramble on about Parks Table Services?”

Uh, one more day, dear.  Then, I’m going to pop back over to Resorts Table Services for one last bit of “data crunching” and ranking.

For today, however, let’s tackle the remaining three parks, starting with …

Magic Kingdom

  1. Be Our Guest Restaurant – 119 total votes
  2. The Crystal Palace – 91
  3. Liberty Tree Tavern – 61
  4. Cinderella’s Royal Table – 38
  5. Tony’s Town Square Restaurant – 7
  6. The Plaza Restaurant – 5

The All in WDW family has NEVER dined at a Magic Kingdom table service restaurant.  To be honest, IF we eat in The Kingdom, we typically choose to have a burger at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Café.

Anyway, will we try a table service at some point?  Oh, I’m sure we will, but it will most likely be to enjoy a meal at Be Our Guest or Liberty Tree Tavern.  The other four choices hold little appeal for us.

Hollywood Studios

  1. 50’s Prime Time Café – 94
  2. The Hollywood Brown Derby – 19
  3. Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant – 17
  4. Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano – 13
  5. Hollywood & Vine – 7

Wow!  50’s, and, then, everyone else.  In fact, the Readers have spoken.  When in the Studios, go to 50’s Prime Time Café, folks.

We’ve dined at 50’s Prime Time, but I might not be allowed to return.  Why?  Well, I’m embarrassed to admit it, but Mom caught me cheating on my homework.  Actually, not only do we like 50’s, we like the fact that you can also enjoy its food, ambiance, and theming from a seat in the attached Tune-In Lounge!

It has been a very long time, but we have actually made a version of The Hollywood Brown Derby’s famous Cobb Salad.  That was years ago, pre-Atlanta and pre-blogging, but thinking about that salad makes me want to recreate it again.  Might have to happen in the near future!

Animal Kingdom

  1. Tusker House Restaurant – 78
  2. Yak & Yeti Restaurant – 20
  3. Rainforest Cafe at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – 3

As big fans of Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Boma, Mrs. All in WDW and I had been anxious to find a time to drop in on the Animal Kingdom’s food-fest – Tusker House.  We finally did it last year and enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s victory over Yak & Yeti and Rainforest Cafe came as no surprise.

Alternate Tusker

So, let me close with a few more blasts from the statistician’s side of my brain …

Margins of victory.  We know who the “champions” are, but by how much did they win their respective park’s title?

Epcot – Via Napoli won by 35 votes over Le Cellier
Magic Kingdom28
Hollywood Studios75 (Again, WOW!)
Animal Kingdom58

How do I interpret this?  Easy.  There is a clear and definite favorite in each and every park.  You want to eat once in each theme park?  We’ve got the four ADRs for ya’!

Average vote totals – all restaurants by park. What I mean here is … if all restaurants in a given park are taken together, what was the average of their collective OVERALL vote totals?

Epcot – an average overall vote total of 28.5 across its 17 restaurants
Magic Kingdom53.5
Hollywood Studios30.0
Animal Kingdom33.7

Interpretation?  It’s just plain hard to beat the love we have for the Magic Kingdom!  Buoyed mainly by Be Our Guest, Crystal Palace, and Liberty Tree Tavern, The Kingdom’s table services really racked up the support!

The Sudden and Surprising End of Parks Table Services? Huh?

No.  Not quite yet!  If you remember, as we forged through WDW’s Park Table Service offerings last week, I mentioned that … “[o]ver the course of this entire competition, we’ll, undoubtedly, choose a favorite from EACH park.”

Well, indeed, we DID anoint the restaurants with the highest overall vote totals for THEIR particular parks as our favorites!  To remind you, they were:

Magic Kingdom:  Be Our Guest Restaurant
Epcot:  Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria
Hollywood Studios:  50’s Prime Time Café
Animal Kingdom:  Tusker House Restaurant

I thought it would be interesting to take a quick look at each park’s full list, with votes, in order to see just how close the competition was (or wasn’t).

In addition, we’ve essentially made up our ‘Top Recommendations’ lists by park.  In other words, if someone asks you where to dine in Epcot, we’ve drawn up a pre-populated list of options … in order!

As such, the All in WDW “super computer” has been crunching data for days!  So, since we’ve already mentioned it, let’s start with …

Epcot

  1. Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria – 110 votes
  2. Le Cellier Steakhouse – 75
  3. Biergarten Restaurant – 47
  4. Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room – 47
  5. The Garden Grill – 43
  6. La Hacienda de San Angel – 33
  7. Tutto Italia Ristorante – 28
  8. Chefs de France – 24
  9. Tokyo Dining – 15
  10. San Angel Inn Restaurante – 13
  11. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – 12
  12. Teppan Edo – 9
  13. Coral Reef Restaurant – 8
  14. Restaurant Marrakesh – 8
  15. Spice Road Table – 5
  16. Monsieur Paul – 5
  17. Nine Dragons Restaurant – 3

First, some “points of order”.  Although tied, Biergarten beats Rose & Crown because it made it to the 3rd Round of the tournament.  The U.K.’s pub did not.  In addition, Mrs. All in WDW “broke the tie” between Coral Reef Restaurant and Restaurant Marrakesh.  She did the same for Spice Road Table and Monsieur Paul.

My comments?

When overall vote totals are compared, Epcot’s competition wasn’t even close.  Where Via Napoli lost to Le Cellier by four votes in 2013, “The World’s” best pizzeria destroyed Canada’s steakhouse by thirty-five (35) this year.  Not quite “apples to apples”, but still …

We’ve only been to five of Epcot’s seventeen options.  We’ve never been to Via Napoli.

I was surprised at how well Garden Grill did … landing in the park’s Top 5?  Is it because it’s a character dining spot?  Then, again, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall received a meager twelve votes and never left Round 1.

Tokyo Dining made it to the 2nd Round.  That surprised me somewhat, but I’m very pleased.  Our son and his fiancee’ will be visiting them on our next trip to Orlando.  I can’t wait to see their pictures and read their review!

Spice Road Table’s support was surprisingly disappointing.  That has to be because it’s brand new.  It will be interesting to see if it shoots up the rankings when we repeat this poll in 2015 … and after more of us have had a chance to dine there.

Photo Apr 19, 1 23 20 PM

Nine Dragons Restaurant tied with the Animal Kingdom’s Rainforest Cafe for the lowest vote total in the entire tournament (3).  When I have asked people about China’s table service, they’ve typically commented that it’s the same as any local Chinese restaurant “you have at home”.  Maybe that’s a true assessment.

For us, we’ve been to:

  • Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room
  • Le Cellier Steakhouse
  • Biergarten Restaurant
  • Teppan Edo
  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

I would rank them in that order.

We’d (I’d?) like to go to:

  • Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria
  • San Angel Inn and/or La Hacienda de San Angel
  • Coral Reef Restaurant
  • Tutto Italia
  • Spice Road Table

In that order.

Hey!  Come back tomorrow and we’ll address the other three parks. In the meantime, have a fun Sunday!