Rating: 6 / 10
The locals may love it, but bitterman doesn't. Sorry
This wildly popular restaurant in Spagnoli was full the last time I tried to go. Months passed and the opportunity finally arrived. I pulled on my boots and thudded down on a Friday just after opening, betting on the fact Italians usually eat later and I'd hopefully get a table without reservations. I was right.
I chose to sit outside since there were no people and during Covid I dislike small restaurants with almost no distance between the tables. I prefer to freeze a little and be assured my own space. This meant the waiter had to juggle plates across the street dodging scooters, but that's what he's getting paid for.
I didn't receive a menu but the waiter told me to try the mussels starter and their (in)famous bread bowl seafood pasta with beans. I was too tired to protest.
To be honest the starter was ok but far from exciting. Breadcrumbs on mussels done under a salamander does little for me. It was rather tasteless and the breadcrumbs were too thick and therefore super mushy and wet. Not off to the greatest start.
Then came the "piece de la resistance", the bread topped pasta bowl that the waiter trimmed at the table before hurrying off to tend to a large group of Asian tourists inside. I tried the pasta first and noticed this deep funky overly fishy flavour. I know it's ironic to say "fishy" when the dish is seafood, but there is a difference. I felt the addition of cannelini beans to pasta was just mush on mush and didn't work at all for me. The creaminess and earthiness of the beans made the seafood's fishiness more pronounced. I ate a few of the mussels and clams and pippies and peeled the shrimp out of sheer starvation. Sadly this was a meal that was more of an experience than an enjoyment. Since coming to Naples I had wanted to try Capri, and now I had, and now I didn't need to again.
In a city of such gastronomical wealth, I am not going to give a second chance to this little eatery, and they won't miss me at all. Ciao
"Sadness is tempered by umami, grief by the motion of slurping, hope restored in the ladling of glistening, fatty broth"