Top Five Gelaterias in Napoli
While the sfogliatella pastry and pastiera pie may be the undisputed kings of Neapolitan dolce, gelato will always remaining an admirable favorite. With warm weather still going strong as we launch into fall, the gelato shops of Napoli remain humming with activity. And what better way to spend a Neapolitan Sunday afternoon than with a constitutional stroll, constitutional cone in hand. Below are Sauced & Found’s selections for the top five gelaterias in Napoli.
Just off Via Toledo and across from Piazza Carità, this classic gelateria translates to mean the monkey’s ice cream shop. All gelatos are artigianale, house-made according to proprietary family recipes. Operating since 1922, the Monacelli family has been making some of the best gelatos in Napoli ever since. Highlights here include classics such as lemon and pistachio flavors as well as the house specialty of rice ice cream. Grab a gelato here and stroll down the vivacious Via Toledo, which Stendhal once referred to as the ‘gayest street in the world.’
In the elegant seaside neighborhood of Posillipo, Bilancione rose to prominence in the 1970s. Even today, crowds of Napoli’s youth flock here for the gelato and the panoramic vistas of the Bay of Naples and Vesuvius. You’ll have no trouble locating the spot from afar- it is always crowded and nearby rubbish bins are packed with leftover ice cream paraphernalia. More than anything, coming to Bilancione is a quintessentially Neapolitan experience. Plan to spend an afternoon at the beach followed by a cone at this Neapolitan gelato institution.
In 1969, Antonio Menella opened a traditional pasticceria in the seaside town of Torre del Greco just outside of Napoli. After a developing a passion for the ingredients of Campania, Menella specialized in artisanal ice creams using exclusively local milk. Today, Menella has various shops in Napoli but the ice creams are still made fresh daily at the headquarters in Torre del Greco. Their almond milks and ice creams are arguably the best in Napoli. Order with a fresh waffle cone and your day is complete.
While Fantasia Gelati has outposts across Napoli, the location on Vomero’s Via Cilea is widely considered the best. Frequent winner of Milano’s Cono d’Oro (Golden Cone), Fantasia Gelato offers all of the classic favorites including pistachio, nutella and strawberry- but perhaps their best ice creams are those featuring buffalo milk from Battipaglia.
This little neighborhood gem discreetly exists without all of the fanfare many of the more famous gelaterias enjoy in Napoli. And yet, secretly tucked away in Arenella on the corner of Via Pigna and Via Omodeo, L’Angolo del Gelato produces some of the best ice creams in Napoli. Owner Antonio Citarella uses only seasonal and local ingredients with the summer fig and prickly pear gelati attracting a loyal cult following. L’Angolo del gelato also makes excellent non-dairy alternatives including sorbets and this author’s favorite, the excellent soymilk vanilla bean gelato. While it may be off the beaten path in the residential Arenella zone, it is notably worth the trip.