Via Napoli, a restaurant in the Italy Pavilion at Epcot, unveiled a new sangria flight experience on January 16th and invited us for a complimentary sampling of the drinks, a few signature menu items, and a new pizza that will join the menu in the near future. If you’ve never been before, Via Napoli is famous for offering authentic Sicilian style pizza, a task that requires adjusting the mineral content of the water used to make the dough and a special flipping process in the restaurant’s three volcano-themed ovens. In addition to pizza, the menu includes a variety of Italian fare and beverages. Join us as we get an update on what’s new at Via Napoli!
Gabriele, General Manager of Via Napoli, came to our table to give us an overview of the new sangria flight. The sangria mixer is a special ingredient that is mixed fresh with three different wines just before serving to the table. Each wine is paired with a different mixer blend. The three wines used in the flight are:
- Bosco de Merlo Prosecco – From a small valley in Veneto, one of the best Prosecco producers in Italy.
- Terre di Bacco Cabernet Sauvignon – Florida is the only state in the USA currently importing this wine, a rare medium body cabernet.
- Beni di Batasiolo Gavi – A perfect blend of fullness and dryness, this medium body wine has been around for 140 years from this maker.
We watched Gabriele mix the sangria at our tableside, a process that Guests will experience when ordering the full glasses of each individual mix. We were served the beverage as a flight, which would come to your table premixed during a visit to the restaurant. It was fun to watch the blend transfer back and forth between carafes.
I greatly enjoyed each of the sangrias. It stands to reason that your favorite of the three will follow your taste in wine. I prefer champagne and prosecco, which is why the prosecco sangria was my favorite of the trio. But each was delicious and if you can’t make up your mind, the sangria flight is a great way to try all three.
If you love sangria, the sangria flight already offers a tempting reason to book a meal at Via Napoli. But their signature item is the pizza, prepared in one of three wood-burning ovens themed to Italy’s three volcanoes. We received a live demonstration and any Guest at the restaurant has the opportunity to watch the cooks in action. I have eaten here many times over the years, but never watched the pizza-making process this closely before.
If you watch closely, once the pizza is in the oven, it doesn’t sit still for long. The chefs routinely turn it around to ensure that it cooks evenly. They also gently lift it to ensure the bottom of the thin crust rises perfectly. Via Napoli has ruined me for pizza at Walt Disney World. It’s the only place I ever want it from when I visit and I’ve felt that way since they opened.
The first menu item we were served was an appetizer called Arancini, one of my favorites and a must-have every time I visit Via Napoli. It’s a stuffed rice ball with marinara sauce and I dream of these between visits.
We were served two different types of pizza, one of which was an early look at an upcoming menu item. Pizza Regina is a white pizza topped with slices of spicy sausage, tomatoes, onions, and peppers. I have a very low tolerance for spicy foods and I found this to be just under my threshold. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would and would order this in the future.
The other pizza brought to the table was a classic Margharita, the perfect choice for your first time dining at Via Napoli if you don’t want to stray too far from what you know pizza to be. It’s a classic pizza with tomato sauce, cheese, and basil. But because of the matched mineral content to recreate the Sicilian crust and the wood-burning ovens in the restaurant, you’ll find it to be of a quality that other pizza restaurants simply can’t match.
Something I’ve never done at Via Napoli is have dessert. I’m always too full because I can’t bear the thought of letting that delicious pizza go to waste and taking leftovers through the park feels cumbersome unless I’m heading out right after dinner. We were served a cannoli and Chef Giovanni told us that the proper way to eat it is with your fingers, although silverware was made available just in case. Via Napoli’s cannoli is surely where the expression “Holy cannoli” comes from. I will definitely be saving room for dessert next time!
I apologize for how hungry this article has made you. On your next trip to Walt Disney World, I highly recommend Via Napoli for lunch or dinner at Epcot. And what better way to relax and enjoy the delicious meal than with the new sangria offerings and the sangria flight for those who want to try them all.
Alex has been blogging about Disney films since 2009 after a lifetime of fandom. He joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and covers films across all of Disney’s brands, including Star Wars, Marvel, and Fox, in addition to books, music, toys, consumer products, and food. You can hear his voice as a member of the Laughing Place Podcast and his face can be seen on Laughing Place’s YouTube channel where he unboxes stuff.