If you’ve been obsessing over Stanley Tucci’s new show—Searching for Italy— you are likely thinking of visiting all the places he’s been to. To aid you in your quest, we’ve put together a handy list of where to eat in Naples and the area, as featured in the show’s first episode.
Tucci’s show on CNN comes at a time when people, having been stuck at home for over a year, are really missing travel. Italy is not a hard sell, especially when it comes to food, so it’s not surprising that the show has amassed a huge audience.
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Searching for Italy with Stanley Tucci
The six-episode show plays to our obsession with travel and food. Tucci effortlessly takes us from one place to the next as if he’s been doing it his whole life. His easy-going manner, genuine appreciation for the food and flawless style make him a great host for the food-loving audience.
While Tucci is a well-known actor, not everyone knows about his culinary background. He’s not just a food-loving celebrity thrown in as a host to generate ratings. Tucci is a foodie. He’s an avid cook and a mixologist who’s worked as a waiter and has owned a restaurant. He has written several cookbooks, and even his memoirs are centred around food. Tucci is passionate about food and has Italian roots that add to his knowledge of Italy’s culinary delights.
In each episode, Tucci tours a different Italian region and introduces the audience to the different food styles and flavours. He meets chefs, winemakers, restaurateurs, guides, historians, artists, and activists while sampling all the local flavours. The first episode takes us to Naples and the Amalfi Coast.
Where to eat in Naples
We’re not surprised to see the show start in Naples. Known for its coffee and pizza, the region is also where the famous San Marzano tomatoes are grown, and mozzarella di buffala is the bee’s knees. We’ve had pizza all over Italy and nothing beats the pie made in the Campania region. If you’re a foodie, Naples is a great place to explore.
So, where to eat in Naples based on the show? Let’s take a look.
Pizza Fritta da Fernanda
While most people are familiar with the Neapolitan pizza made in wood-fired ovens, few are aware of the fried variety. Created out of necessity, fried pizza was invented after World War II. Extreme poverty, lack of ingredients and destruction of wood-fired ovens during the bombings meant that people had to get creative.
Fried pizza required less dough and was stuffed with inexpensive ingredients like ricotta, pork cracklings and vegetables. Frying it all up made the dough fill up and appear more filling. Today, fillings are more versatile and abundant. Make sure to add this to your list of where to eat in Naples.
Want to know more about Italy? Check out What to do in Naples.
Pizzeria La Notizia
From the wonders of simple street food, Tucci then takes us to the Michelin-starred Pizzeria la Notizia. Here, chef Enzo Coccia creates a classic Margherita pizza, but not before taking Tucci straight to where he gets his ingredients.
Viewers can see the relatively small farm where all the famous San Marzano tomatoes are grown and discover how the famous mozzarella di buffala (buffalo mozzarella) is made. If you haven’t had this amazing delicacy, you have to try it when you visit Italy. Trust us. You’ll love it.
Some of the best food shows are those that show you to the expected and unexpected places. This is exactly how Tucci ends up in Chicù, an Italian-Balkan restaurant in Scampia, a suburb of Naples with a shady past. Located in the heart of what was once a notorious drug-infested and crime-ridden area, this social enterprise serves up great food while empowering women and promoting cultural integration.
Started and operated by Italian and Roma women, the restaurant offers a creative blend of flavours that are a hit with customers. Judging by Tucci’s experience, this is definitely a place you want to add to your list of where to eat in Naples.
What to eat in Naples and nearby areas
While the episode focuses on what to eat in Naples, you can’t travel to this part of Italy and not explore the nearby culinary gems. We were happy to see Tucci head to the small island of Ischia and the popular Amalfi Coast. It’s a win-win.
The beautiful island of Ischia has plenty to offer, and since it’s a quick ferry ride from the city, you can definitely add it to your where to eat in Naples list. As Tucci says, you probably expect him to go to a seafood place to indulge in fresh catch. But, as we find out, he heads for the hills to a family-owned Il Focolare.
Here, Tucci samples Ischia-style rabbit, sourced and seasoned with local flavours. While you might not eat with the family as he does, it does give you an insight into the people behind the operation. After all, this is what a culinary show is all about.
If you love seafood with amazing views, then you’ll definitely want to trade places with Tucci in this episode. Having been to the Amalfi Coast many times, we can concur that the food and the views in this area are spectacular.
Tucci is here for the fried zucchini pasta dish – spaghetti alla Nerano. After unsuccessfully trying to recreate the dish at home, he discovers that he was missing a key ingredient. Don’t you hate when that happens? If you can’t wait till you can travel to Italy and sample this dish at the source, you try your hand at making it at home. We definitely will!
Pastry Sal De Riso
The Amalfi Coast is famous for its giant, fragrant and abundant lemons. To switch things up, Tucci takes the viewers, not to a restaurant, but a pastry shop. And what a place it is. Having been here before, we were drooling at the memory and can totally recommend it for anyone visiting the Amalfi Coast.
The delizia al limone (lemon delight) is one of the bakery’s most popular desserts, but there is a wide range of other pastries that will make you drool. If pastries are not your thing, you can always opt for the lemon gelato (Kasia’s go-to flavour of gelato) or try it as a liqueur known as limoncello.
Final thoughts on what to eat in Naples based on Stanley Tucci’s show
Based on the popularity of the show, CNN announced another season of Searching for Italy and we couldn’t be happier. There is no denying that the food in Italy is in a class of its own. Having tried different dishes across the country, we love the variety of choices and flavours.
Tucci does a great job of introducing viewers to local flavours. He always relies on the local connections to bring a bit of history behind the dishes, making it so much more than just a culinary show. One of the things we liked the most, is the introduction to unexpected places like Chikù. It’s something he does in each episode, and we’re totally here for it.
So, if you’re looking for where to eat in Naples, as seen in the show, make sure to check back for other episode summaries. It should get you through until the second season.