For dinner in Naples, we had planned to try a highly-recommended restaurant called Europeo di Mattozzi...only to discover that it didn't even open until 8:00PM. We couldn't wait that late and still catch the last train back to Portici, so we consulted Yelp for a nearby alternative.
Yelp did not disappoint.
Locanda del Cerriglio calls itself the oldest tavern in Naples. It's hidden down a dark alley--in other words, exactly the kind of out-of-the-way, non-touristy place we love.
When we walked in, the host had to find a different waiter to serve us since he didn't speak enough English. Yesssss. Perfect.
We began with this beautiful platter of misti salumi e mozzarella (mixed cold cuts):
All delicious. Below, the mozzarella--this is what I mean when I say it was so fresh that milk leaked out when you cut into it:
As usual, we ordered a primo and a secondo to share. I was eager to try candele spezzate alla Genovese, one of the most classic Neapolitan pastas. The sauce is beef and caramelized onions that cooks alllll day long; the shape of pasta is "broken candles."
Oh. My. Goodness. One of THE very best things I put in my mouth in Italy. So so so delicious. I have got to try making this sauce at home.
Steve wanted to try orata (bream?) with baked tomatoes. This how it came:
Which led to the most hilarious of all our restaurant experiences. The waiter asked if we wanted him to dress the fish or if we felt comfortable doing it. Steve said no, he was fine. Then he asked, "Is it basically like how you'd clean a raw fish?" The waiter gave him the side eye and said, "I do it."
As he worked, he gave us this commentary with a completely straight face: "It's like undressing a woman." [pause, continue to work carefully] "She doesn't know that she's naked. That's the trick."
We totally could not stop laughing. The fish, for the record, was delicious.
For a contorno, we also ordered ortaggi alla griglia (grilled vegetables):
I had heard the table behind us (there was only one other couple in the restaurant the entire time we were there, since by arriving at 7:30 we were way too early for the Italians) ordering dessert, so I was curious to see what they had. The waiter took me to the cooler to show the options, and I chose a torta limone (lemon cake):
Plus some espresso.
Steve can't do after-dinner coffee or he doesn't sleep well, but since caffeine doesn't affect me, I enjoyed it now and then.
Our check came in this charming little treasure chest:
And with that, we declared our authentic Neapolitan dinner a rousing success. Highly recommend Locanda del Cerriglio!