Updated January 25th: Via Napoli has a new menu with a “build your own pizza” option.
(This post was added August 14, 2010 but I have changed the time stamp so it shows up in alphabetical order in the archive)
Wondering how Via Napoli stacks up against the other Epcot Table Service Restaurants? Check out The Best Epcot Sit Down Restaurants for a comparison of all 15 Epcot restaurants in a variety of categories including Most Unique Menu, Best Value on the Disney Dining Plan, Best Value Out of Pocket, Best Atmosphere, Best Food, and Best Overall Restaurant.
Food Type: Italian; pizza, pasta, salads
Dining Plan: One Table Service. For your “entrée entitlement,” you can order a non-pizza entrée like a pasta dish or salad or you can order any of the pizzas in the individual size. Two people can also pool their credits and order a large pizza and four people can pool their credits and order a family-size half-meter pizza.
Cost: Appetizers are $8-$24; salads are $16-$18, pasta entrées are $16-$26. Pizzas come in three sizes. Individual pizzas are $16-$18, large pizzas are $28-$30, and family-size “half-meter” pizzas are $39-$41. There is also an option to “build your own pizza.” An individual pizza costs $16, large costs $28, and family size costs $39. That’s just for the basic “margherita” pizza – each topping is $2 extra.
Setting: Via Napoli is very much contemporary in design, while still maintaining the feeling that you’ve entered a rustic Neapolitan pizzeria in Orlando, Florida. The exterior is reminiscent of Gusteau’s, the French restaurant currently under the ownership of everyone’s favorite rat, Chef Remy from Ratatouille. The interior is well-lit and airy, which is a welcome feature considering the dark interiors you’ll find at other Epcot restaurants like San Angel Inn, Teppan Edo, Le Cellier, and others. The focal point is the show-kitchen with three authentic wood-burning ovens named after three active volcanoes in Italy. I would imagine they will have to rename the ovens if one of those volcanoes erupts and destroys the country, but at the moment your pizza will be baked in Mount Etna, Mount Vesuvius or Stromboli. The majority of the restaurant is painted beige, which allows the colorful frescos, paintings, chandeliers, and other bursts of color to pop even more. It’s a very relaxing space and I commend the designers for making smart, balanced choices. On the downside, it is very noisy during peak hours, especially considering the Italian music that’s constantly playing in the background and high ceilings. It also has a very casual vibe, which may or may not be what you’re expecting. Via Napoli is a family-friendly pizzeria and it wouldn’t be my choice for an intimate conversation or romantic rendezvous. There is room for more than 300 people in the restaurant with an additional capacity of 100 on the covered patio outside, which makes it one of the larger restaurants in Epcot.
Advantages: Via Napoli is a relaxing, casually-elegant restaurant with interior, air-conditioned seating and exterior, covered patio seating. Food is served hot, using high quality, fresh ingredients. The menu is inviting and familiar with unique twists and authentic flavors. The kitchen and wood-burning ovens are visible to diners and fun to watch. Service is efficient and servers are knowledgeable. It has the potential to be one of the more economical meals at Epcot.
Disadvantages: Appetizer portions are small and expensive. The cost of the meal can quickly add up if individual pizzas, appetizers, and specialty drinks are ordered. There is no “to go” menu and no way to purchase a la carte slices of pizza.
Value: Above average to excellent. This is one of the more difficult restaurants to quantify because the value depends on what you order. If a family of four shares a half-meter pizza for $41, the cost per person would only be about $10 for an entrée. Even if you added two appetizers and two desserts, the meal would still be considerably less than many other Epcot restaurants. Even at $18 for each individual pizza, the cost is still less than many of the other Epcot restaurants.
Patina Restaurant Conglomerate: Via Napoli is owned and operated by Patina Restaurant Group LLC, the same parent that owns Tutto Italia and the similarly themed Naples Ristorante E Pizzeria at Downtown Disney near Disneyland. They are also the parent company of the popular Smith and Wollensky steakhouses and operate another four dozen or so restaurants throughout the United States.
Reputation: Via Napoli may have just opened at the beginning of August 2010, but it is already making a name for itself as a delicious and potentially cost-effective restaurant. While a $41+ pizza may be hard to stomach at first thought, the high quality of the ingredients, authentic flavors, and fact that the pizzas are large enough to share among four or more people makes them much more attractive. These are not pizza-chain quality pizzas. The service is kind and efficient and will only get better as they become more experienced. The restaurant is pleasant, inviting, and in a convenient location in the Italy Pavilion. With few new restaurant openings, Via Napoli is definitely worth a try if you’ve already enjoyed Epcot’s other offerings. I would also recommend it to anyone who has never been to Disney World. It ranks right up there with favorites like Teppan Edo and Le Cellier.
Overall Rank on The Best Epcot Sit Down Restaurants: 5th out of 15