Street Food Naples: 13 of the Best Street Foods of Campania and the Amalfi Coast
Hungry for a little Neapolitan culture? Of course we’re talking about — what else — food! But more specifically, Naples street food. You’ll find nothing less than an amazing cultural experience as you wander through the narrow streets of the city of Naples, Italy and the surrounding areas just as the people here have done for centuries.
When visiting Naples, make sure to seize every opportunity you can to try the local street food in Naples as you meander through historic neighborhoods. The al passegio food you’ll find here is some of the best street food in Italy!
Take every opportunity to embrace local markets in Naples and the annual street food celebrations, to enjoy the typical Italian food that’s meant to be eaten as you take in the sights and the sounds of this magical place.
Hand-held foods like a Pizza Portafoglio or Pizza Fritta are easily packaged for eating, walking and immersing yourself in the local culture as you meander in and out of local eateries, waterfront food stalls, and fish markets selling made to order local street food.
Don’t look for glitz and glamour. Naples isn’t like that. It can be difficult for tourists to find the real Italy these days away from the more touristed areas, and Naples is one of those authentic cities where you can find that. Keep your eyes open for the small, unassuming places filled with history, dust, and age-old recipes. That’s where the food magic happens.
Naples is an Italy food lovers dream, so check out the street food in Naples, then head to Sorrento, Capri, and down the Amalfi Coast to try it there as well. No matter where you land, the street food in Campania is food worth traveling for!
Street Food: Naples
1. Pizza Neapolitan!
You can’t start a Naples Food Guide or a Naples Street Food Guide — especially Naples street food — with anything other than Neapolitan pizza (Neapolitan is pronounced NOP-o-lit-tahn not NEE-a-pol-i-tan), otherwise known as Pizza Neapolitan. It’s the world’s one and only. Listen to me for a minute…. there’s nothing else like it… anywhere in the world!
I can’t stress this enough! If you’ve had pizza in Naples Italy before, you know of what I speak. If not, you will learn that like some of the world’s most distinct foods, eating it at the source is usually best. But the downside of doing that is this: it will ruin you forever. You will forever thereafter compare, contrast, and nit-pick like a food critic in your search to find the next great similarity — ANY decent similar slice. But alas, it will not be. It’s all part of the love story with pizza that many of us have.
At least when it comes to pizza in Campania. So if you only plan on visiting Naples, Italy once, maybe save the experience until the end of your pizza days. If you love Italy and plan to return often, we say Fantastico — the perfect solution. Come often, for pizza!
Obviously, I’m pretty passionate about pizza in Napoli. :-)
A classic panzerotti is a Naples favorite. Similar to a calzone only smaller, they’re traditionally made up of small half-moon shaped pieces of yeast dough stuffed with mozzarella cheese and fresh tomatoes.
Depending on where you order this fried savory morsel the chef may fill it with varying local fare like creamy mozzarella cheese, fried greens like broccoli rabe or escarole, and cured meats or pepperoni.
Cuoppo just might be the perfect on-the-go street food! A fabulous street food option for those wanting to enjoy an authentic local offering is Cuoppo. The name Cuoppo refers to the traditional yellow straw paper that’s commonly used by local street vendors. The paper is rolled into a cone with the same shape as a waffle ice cream cone in the United States and filled with delectable fried treats.
The actual bite-sized treats that fill the “Cuoppo” vary by the season and of course by location, however there are three or four main staples that are almost always found inside the Cuoppo; fried seafood like squid (calamari), small anchovies or sardines, and usually rice balls, potato croquettes, and panzerotti.
4. Pizza Fritta (Fried Pizza)
Fried pizza is one of the most popular street foods in Naples. Pizza dough is stretched and fried in oil, then topped with a dab of tomatos sauce, some mozzarella cheese and basil and eaten. During the 1990’s when Bill Clinton, former President of the United States once visited Naples, he enjoyed pizza fritta at a pizzeria located in the heart of the city called La Figlia del Presidente. That’s how integral pizza, and especially pizza fritta, is to the traditional culture of Naples.
Fried pizzas are offered in several variations. They are available both stuff full of pizza toppings or they may come flat with the flavor of Naples right on top. Fried pizza is available throughout Naples. If you’re visiting a pizzeria, you’ll probably see them served as an antipasti before your meal.
5. Frittata di Pasta
Taking fried snacks to a higher level, Frittata di Pasta is one of those dishes created by the Mother of Invention as an ingenius use of leftovers. Waste not, want not! The dish can be made with a variety of cut pasta or spaghetti, and the pasta is mixed with eggs, sometimes bacon or pancetta, and mozzarella cheese then fried in a pan like a frittata. Slice it up like a pizza and grab it to go — it’s a rich but delicious street food!
6. Pizza Scarola
If you enjoy the distinct and sometimes bitter greens like friggoli, broccoli rabe, or escarole that Italians love to wilt, fry, and stuff into dough, you just might love Pizza Scarola, pizza dough stuffed with wilted and fried escarole. It’s just one more variation on pizza stuffed with another favorite, and a very healthy food we might add!
7. Pizza a Portafoglio (Pizza Wallets)
A popular street food for people on the go in Naples is Pizza a Portafoglio. The pizza is folded 2 to 4 times until it’s compact enough to easily munch on while touring the local area. This folded version of pizza is commonly referred to as either a pizza booklet or a pizza wallet. Pizza wallets can be purchased at local pizzerias all over Naples.
8. Rice Balls - Palle ‘e Riso
Rice balls in Naples are very similar, if not identical to Sicilian arancini, the popular Sicilian street food, so called because of their resemblance to oranges. In Naples, they’re a go-to appetizer in Neapolitan pizzerias and of course in Friggitorias and a staple in the traditional Neapolitan Cuoppo.
Friggitorias are little eateries in Naples that specialize in creating the fried specialty foods that Naples is known for.
A simple rice ball consists of freshly cooked or leftover rice, eggs, and Parmigiano cheese. Naples, like the whole of Italy, is known for simple foods so although they’re available simply prepared, you might also find rice balls stuffed with a variety of local foods like mozzarella for that ooey-gooey stretchy cheese end result and with tomato sauce to add a deep savory flavor.
Other ingredients can include peas, pancetta, minced mushrooms, and diced tomatoes depending on what seafood and veggies are available during the current season.
Rice balls are generally covered in rice dipped in an egg bath and coated with breadcrumbs before hitting the deep frier. The end result is crispy on the outside then the savory flavors burst into your mouth and explode over your taste buds on the inside. Obviously this bit of perfection must be directly followed by a locally brewed, ice cold, craft beer.
The rice balls found in Naples are smaller than those in Sicily as they’re a staple in Neapolitan Cuoppos. This smaller version works better in the paper wrap allowing room for many rice balls to cohabitate with all of the other puffs of fried delights within the paper cone.
More importantly though, the smaller size rice ball can be popped right into your mouth and eaten with no fuss in one bite, which is exactly the point of a Cuoppo.
Sweet Street Food: Naples Pastry Specialties
If there’s one sweet treat in Naples that you need to try, it’s the ubiquitous Sfogliatelle (Italians pronounce it: Sfool-ya-dell) — hard to say but oh-so-easy to eat. You can almost deconstruct them from the unique way they are made!
Sfogliatelle are clam-shaped pastries made with a flaky dough, and are found everywhere in Campania (and throughout Italy as well). In Naples, you’ll even see little carts or mobile stores selling sfogliatelle all around the city.
Stuffed with sweet ricotta cheese and then baked, the pastry becomes crunchy while the ricotta melts between the layers. The flavor is typically almond, and the whole pastry is perfection especially with a shot of espresso.
10. Baba al Rhum
Rum cake, called Baba Rhum in Naples, is found on many Neapolitan restaurant menus. But you’ll also see this popular Napoli dessert in a mini, poppable form — just lift them out of their small plastic to-go shot glass and pop it in your mouth for a wonderful rum-flavored taste sensation. They’re one of Italy’s best desserts!
Street Food: Capri
11. Fresh Fish
The isle of Capri may not be huge with street food but there are a few things you absolutely cannot miss for on-the-go street food in Capri. The island’s fish markets provide fresh fish every day that are available at a plethora of fine dining establishments featuring the day’s catch.
If you’re looking for more of a guilty pleasure though, head to the marketplace. Upon arrival, the absolutely tantalizing selection of street food will have you drooling while eating, and loosening your belt all at the same time.
During the early morning hours, you’ll find several bustling fish markets from Marina Grande up to the Piazzetta. Along Via Le Botteghe, you’ll find Le Botteghe pescheria/fish market (by morning) and restaurant (by night). Fishmongers are a site to see as they sell their freshest catch of the day, local fruits and vegetables, and even wine, cheese and bread.
Take a step back and take it all in. You’ll see housewives haggling to get the best deal and hear locals calling out into the crowd as they dramatically swing their arms to announce their offerings to every passerby.
As the lunch hour nears, you’ll begin to smell a change in the air as the fishmonger transforms itself into a very reasonably priced place to grab a fresh lunch on the cheap!
Grab a stool, order a glass of wine, and belly up to the marble tables where you will be treated to a selection of fresh fish and freshly made foods including pasta tossed with local seafood and combined with fried shrimp. If that doesn’t suit your fancy, perhaps something as simple as a fish burger will.
12. Lemon Granita
If Capri is known for anything, it’s lemons, which of course pairs nicely with fresh fish. But lemon is used in interesting ways, and one Capri street food that’s refreshing any time of day is a lemon granita — fresh shaved ice infused with the flavors of fresh Capri lemons. It’s so refreshing as you stroll the island in the afternoon, or after a long swim in the gorgeous water. Lemon is the perfect digestivo any time of day or night!
13. Panino Caprese (Caprese Sandwich)
A must-try option on the island of Capri is the Panino Caprese sandwich. It’s pure and simple perfection that is prepared with fresh tomato slices marinated in olive oil and spices, fresh slices of mozzarella cheese, seasoned with basil and then lovingly sprinkled with extra virgin olive oil.
What makes this sandwich spectacular though is that the sandwich is created during the morning hours so that the bread will be able to absorb the flavors from within. If you’re planning to picnic, these are a great grab and go item that pairs wonderfully with a bottle of local wine, or if it suits your fancy, a couple local craft beers.
Street Food: Amalfi Coast
Looking for Street food in Positano on the Amalfi Coast? Given its coastal location, fresh seafood is always on offer from street vendors every single day. Picture yourself exploring local flavors along the stores around the Spiaggia Grande in Positano, or the waterfront in Amalfi, where slices of traditional Italian pizza, fresh crepes, and traditional gelato can all be had even on a thin travel budget.
If you’re dying to try a Cuoppo, Positano is a good place to do it! Located on Supportico dei Ferrari you’ll find a dingy looking little place where the locals go with absolutely amazingly fresh seafood called Cuoppo d'Amalfi.
But there’s one street food we loved as we walked and hiked around Positano, Amalfi, Atrano, up to and back down from Ravello (we did a lot of walking and hiking!) Be sure and look for it when you’re there.
We had this amazing street food in Amalfi one afternoon and fell in love with it. Panuozzo is essentially a pizza sandwich, much like a turnover, made from pizza dough. After baking, the small loaf is cut in half and filled with eggplant, tomato sauce, and cheese — parmigiana di melanzane. The vendor also had a few that were stuffed with cold meats but we opted for the eggplant and were so glad we did. We’ve gotta go back there just to have another.
Street Food: Sorrento
Sorrento, Italy is home to the annual Sorrento Street Food Village, a Christmas event that happens every year in November. Each year without regard to the weather, street food vendors come out in full force offering local foods from gelato to cuoppos along with a myriad of local pizza variations.
15. Pizza by the Meter
It’s not street food in the sense that you can carry it around the Piazza, however, Da Franco, Da Gigano, and several other pizzerias around Sorrento offer an interesting twist on pizza.
These local pizzerias features pizza that you can order by the meter! You decide how many meters your group wants, and how many pieces you’d like your pizza cut into along with what toppings you’d like.
When your pizza arrives it’ll be a long pizza cut into pieces just like a traditional round pizza’s, only the pieces will be square. The pizza comes with 16 pieces per meter.