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Our time in Napoli was too short during our first visit.
After digging beyond the gritty chaos, we discovered a complex city filled with many charms. Though we enjoyed the many Naples attractions, our favorite things to do in Naples was to eat. As in all of Italy, the food in Naples is extraordinary and worthy of a visit.
We ate as much as we could during our time in Naples. We ate Neapolitan pizza. We ate a traditional trattoria meal. We ate gelato. And we ate the fried food at a friggitoria. Our taste buds were happy, but they wanted more.
So, instead of eating a final breakfast at our charming B&B, we graciously excused ourselves and walked into the heart of Naples in search of a light bite to fuel us for the drive to Matera. As we traversed the city’s busy sidewalks, we soon stumbled upon Caffè Spaccanapoli, the cafe where we ate the perfect Naples breakfast.
Forget bacon and eggs! The perfect Napoli breakfast instead features authentic Italian coffee and flaky sfogliatella (also known as sfogliatelle).
Caffè Spaccanapoli on Via Duomo is a typical Neapolitan morning spot – a combination bakeshop and neighborhood cafe featuring a range of classic Southern Italian pastries and cakes, not to mention a full bar.
The house-made pastries include popular favorites like sfogliatelle (the ultimate Naples pastry), cornetto (similar to a croissant), cannoli and baba, plus there are refrigerators filled with beautiful fruit tarts and cakes.
At Caffè Spaccanapoli, locals stream through the doors, many ordering items to go and some staying to quickly sip their coffee at the bar or leisurely eat their Neapolitan pastry at a table.
Although we were in Naples as tourists, we felt very welcome at the cafe. Even though we don’t speak Italian, communication was not an issue since we all spoke a common language – the language of food.
First things first, we ordered coffee after we secured a spot at the cafe’s long bar.
Coffee in Naples is traditionally served in a small cup and is quite strong. We had been drinking various versions of espresso since our arrival and were happily addicted to the potent potable. It’s no surprise that espresso rules the roost in Naples since it is the home city of espresso. Yes, espresso was invented in Naples Italy.
Since the coffee is so strong in Naples, most people add sugar to their little cups of liquid gold. We don’t typically add sugar to our coffee, but we were tempted by the big bowl of red packets placed in front of us at the bar.
In Italy, it’s not typical to order a cappuccino in the afternoon or evening. Drink a cappuccino with your breakfast. You can order a coffee or other beverage in the afternoon.
Pastries in Naples are dangerously good, especially the sfogliatella which was created in Campania hundreds of years ago. The layered pastry sports a flaky crust on the outside with a semi-sweet rich, slightly tangy ricotta filling.
We had eaten sfogliatella before. They’re ubiquitous items in many Italian-American bakeries, but this famous Napoli pastry is so much better at the source.
As a bonus, this perfectly constructed, golden brown sfogliatella was hot out of the oven and served on a pretty flowery plate. Seriously, folks, you can’t get a sfogliatella this good outside of Naples.
In Naples, there are several versions of sfogliatella, with the most popular being sfogliatella riccia and sfogliatella frolla.
The exterior of the riccia version is curly with layers of flaky dough, with an inside that is filled with a ricotta mixture that includes semolina, sugar, egg and citrus fruit. The second most popular Neapolitan sfogliatella is the sfogliatella frolla which is a smoother version of the riccia.
Of the two, we prefer the sfogliatella riccia, but that’s our personal taste. Both of these Naples pastries are delicious and worth every calorie.
As good as the Naples coffee and Naples sfogliatella are, they are even better together. Trust us.
We visited more cafes in Naples during our first visit to the southern Italian city, but there was something special about little, unassuming Caffè Spaccanapoli. Open since 1920, almost a century ago, it was a perfect spot for us to share our last bites and sips in Naples until our inevitable return.
Caffè Spaccanapoli is located at Via Duomo, 87, 80138, Napoli, Italy.
During our second visit to Naples, we were in the city long enough to discover sfogliatella with added fruit, such as the Santa Rosa offered at Sfogliatella Mary, a tiny bakery located at the western entrance to Naples’ grandest shopping mall, Galleria Umberto.
Although Sfogliatella Mary offers a wide selection of Italian pastries like beautiful Rum Babas and Cannolis, we’re partial to the aforementioned Santa Rosa. In fact, this Santa Rosa sfogliatella very well may be the best sfogliatella in Naples.
We couldn’t resist the macerated cherry-topped, crunchy, flaky pastries lightly dusted with confectioners’ sugar. A true Napoli classic!
Plan Your Naples Stay
About the Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.