Naples Culinary Delights: 8 Traditional Foods to Try
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 7 min read


  1. Pizza Napoletana
  2. Sfogliatella
  3. Ragu Napoletano
  4. Mozzarella di Bufala
  5. Baba al Rum
  6. Fritto Misto di Mare
  7. Cuoppo
  8. Pastiera

When you think of Naples, images of vibrant streets, historical sites, and breathtaking coastlines might flood your mind. But, any seasoned traveler will tell you that the true heart of this Italian city beats in its culinary traditions. From the bustling pizzerias to aromatic bakeries, Naples serves a feast for the senses. This blog will take you on a delicious journey, introducing you to eight must-try traditional foods that define the culinary traditions in Naples. So, sit back, relax, and prepare for a virtual gastronomic tour of Naples.

Pizza Napoletana

Let's begin our food adventure with a global favorite — the Pizza Napoletana. This isn't just another pizza; it's a testament to the culinary traditions in Naples, where it was birthed. But what makes it so special?

  • The Dough: The crust of a traditional Pizza Napoletana is soft and chewy, thanks to the '00' flour and a slow, careful fermentation process.
  • The Toppings: Simplicity is key here. A classic Pizza Napoletana is topped with San Marzano tomatoes, Mozzarella di Bufala, fresh basil, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
  • The Cooking: Baked in a wood-fired, domed oven at a blistering heat of around 485°C, the pizza cooks in just 60-90 seconds, resulting in its iconic charred spots.

This isn't just a dish; it's a slice of Naples' soul, a bite into the city's history. So, if you want to experience the culinary traditions in Naples, you simply can't miss the Pizza Napoletana. Remember, it's not just about eating a pizza; it's about savoring a piece of Naples' rich culinary heritage.


Next, let's turn our attention to a sweet treat that has been pleasing palates in Naples for centuries - the Sfogliatella. This shell-shaped pastry is a staple of Naples' culinary traditions and is as delightful to look at as it is to eat.

  • The Exterior: The delicate, multi-layered crust of the Sfogliatella is its defining feature. It's crisp on the outside, yet soft and tender within, providing a satisfying contrast of textures in each bite.
  • The Interior: Inside this pastry masterpiece, you'll find a rich filling of sweetened ricotta cheese, subtly flavored with candied fruits and a hint of cinnamon.
  • The Preparation: Making Sfogliatella is an art that requires patience and precision. The thinly rolled dough sheets are carefully layered, filled, and then baked to perfection.

While it might be tempting to compare Sfogliatella to other pastries, this Neapolitan delight stands in a delicious league of its own. So, during your exploration of the culinary traditions in Naples, take a moment to sip a cup of espresso and enjoy a Sfogliatella. You'll quickly understand why this pastry is a beloved part of Naples' food culture.

Ragu Napoletano

Let's dig into the heart of the culinary traditions in Naples with the Ragu Napoletano. This is not your everyday spaghetti sauce; it's a slow-cooked, meat-based sauce that has been a part of Neapolitan cuisine for centuries.

  • The Ingredients: Ragu Napoletano combines beef, pork, and sometimes sausage, simmered slowly in a tomato sauce. The result? A rich, flavorful sauce that will make your taste buds dance in delight.
  • The Pasta: Traditionally, this sauce pairs with pasta types like ziti or rigatoni. The large, hollow shapes are perfect for holding the hearty sauce, ensuring you get a delicious mouthful with each bite.
  • The Time: One vital element of Ragu Napoletano is time. This sauce is slow-cooked, often for several hours, allowing the flavors to develop and meld together.

So, if you're in Naples, make sure to try a plate of pasta with Ragu Napoletano. It's a culinary experience that's not just about eating—it's a trip back in time, savoring a recipe that has been perfected over centuries. It truly embodies the very essence of the culinary traditions in Naples.

Mozzarella di Bufala

Next up on our culinary tour of Naples is the mouthwatering Mozzarella di Bufala. This is not your average cheese—no, it's much more than that. Mozzarella di Bufala is a testament to the rich culinary traditions in Naples.

  • The Source: Mozzarella di Bufala gets its name from the Italian word for buffalo. That's right—this cheese is made from the milk of water buffalo. These special animals are native to Italy and produce milk that's richer and creamier than cow's milk.
  • The Process: The milking and cheese-making process is a careful art. Each buffalo is milked by hand, and the cheese is crafted in a traditional way that's been passed down over generations.
  • The Taste: The result? A cheese that's soft, moist, and full of flavor. It's a taste unlike any other, a true reflection of the unique culinary traditions in Naples.

So, when you're in Naples, don't miss out on tasting Mozzarella di Bufala. Whether it's on a pizza, in a caprese salad, or enjoyed on its own, this cheese is a highlight of Neapolitan cuisine. And remember: the best Mozzarella di Bufala is consumed fresh, usually within a day or two of production. Now, that's a culinary tradition worth trying!

Baba al Rum

Picture this: you're sitting in a quaint café in Naples, watching the world go by, when the waiter brings you a dessert that looks like a little, round cake. You take a bite, and the flavor explosion takes you by surprise. It's sweet, it's boozy, it's incredibly moist, and it's utterly delicious. Welcome to the world of Baba al Rum, a quintessential part of the culinary traditions in Naples.

  • The Origin: Baba al Rum is a sponge cake that hails from Naples, but its roots trace back to Eastern Europe. It's a beloved dessert that's found its way into the hearts of Neapolitans and visitors alike.
  • The Twist: What sets Baba al Rum apart is its signature ingredient: rum. The cake is soaked in a syrup made with sugar, water, and a generous splash of rum. This gives it a distinctive flavor and a moist texture that's truly irresistible.
  • The Taste: With its sweet, rum-infused flavor, Baba al Rum is the perfect way to cap off a meal. It's a taste experience that you won't forget in a hurry.

So, if you're ever in Naples, make sure to try Baba al Rum. It's not just a dessert, it's an institution. It's a sweet embodiment of the city's culinary traditions and a delicious way to get a taste of Naples. And who knows? You might just find yourself falling in love with this little cake, just like so many others have before you.

Fritto Misto di Mare

Imagine walking along the charming seafront of Naples, the salty breeze playing with your hair, and the tantalizing aroma of freshly cooked seafood wafting through the air. You stop at a bustling street food stall and order a cone of Fritto Misto di Mare. That's the dream, isn't it? This seafood medley, fried to golden perfection, is a seafood lover's delight and a staple in the culinary traditions in Naples.

  • The Medley: Fritto Misto di Mare, loosely translating to 'mixed fried seafood', features an assortment of the freshest catch of the day, which can range from shrimp, squid, and octopus to different types of local fish.
  • The Technique: The seafood is lightly breaded and then deep-fried until it achieves a beautiful golden color and a crispy texture. The result? A crunchy exterior and a tender, flavorful interior.
  • The Experience: Served in a paper cone, Fritto Misto di Mare is a portable feast meant to be enjoyed while exploring the city's sights. It's a culinary experience that's as vibrant and diverse as Naples itself.

So, if seafood is your thing and you're lucky enough to find yourself in Naples, Fritto Misto di Mare is a must-try. Dive into this gastronomic adventure and discover why this delightful dish is a cornerstone of the city's culinary traditions. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you!


Imagine you're strolling through the narrow, winding streets of Naples, when suddenly, an irresistible aroma tantalizes your senses. You follow the scent, and it leads you to a bustling food stand offering Cuoppo, a beloved dish amongst Naples' culinary traditions.

  • The Dish: Cuoppo is a delightful assortment of deep-fried bites, served in a paper cone. It's a casual, on-the-go snack that perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Naples' street food culture.
  • The Variation: While some cuoppi (the plural of cuoppo) feature a seafood mix similar to Fritto Misto di Mare, others include a variety of fried vegetables, cheese, and small dough balls called zeppole. There's a cuoppo for everyone!
  • The Experience: Imagine biting into a piece of crispy, golden-brown goodness and savoring the burst of flavors. That's cuoppo for you — a culinary tradition that embodies the soul of Naples.

So, when in Naples, make sure you don't miss out on trying cuoppo. Whether you're a seafood fanatic or a cheese lover, there's a cuoppo waiting to make your taste buds dance in delight. Remember, the best way to understand a place is through its food, and cuoppo is a fantastic introduction to the culinary traditions in Naples.


Here's a sweet end to your culinary adventure in Naples - Pastiera. This traditional Neapolitan cake is not just a dessert, but a symbol of Naples' rich history and culinary traditions.

  • The Dish: Pastiera is a wheat and ricotta pie, often fragrant with orange blossom water and candied fruit. It's a staple during Easter but don't worry, you can find it year-round in Naples.
  • The Legend: Story goes that Pastiera was first made by a siren who wanted to thank the people of Naples for their hospitality. The cake was a hit and the tradition continues till today.
  • The Experience: Imagine the creamy texture of ricotta, the soft crunch of wheat, and the sweet aroma of orange blossoms all in one bite. That's Pastiera for you!

If you're someone with a sweet tooth, Pastiera is a must-try dessert. It's a slice of Naples' history served on a plate. So, when you're exploring the culinary traditions in Naples, don't forget to save some room for Pastiera.

If you enjoyed exploring Naples' culinary delights and want to dive deeper into the world of creative inspiration, check out Daisie's classes. Some of the best minds in various artistic fields are gathered here to share their knowledge and help you grow as an artist in your own right.