A Barcelona food blog
“The reason I like it in here is because it’s really relaxed” I commented to my friends on the Friday evening we ate at La Bella Napoli. “Relaxed?” was one’s astonished reply, “it’s so noisy I feel like I’ve been shouting all evening”.
For me the very fact that we could do two things I’m extremely proficient at, talking and laughing loudly, and that this place has none of the stuffyness or pretence of some restaurants is why I’ve always felt so at ease here. La Bella Napoli’s name is so appropriate as it has all the ingredients of what I, contrary to many people’s opinions, love about Naples. I pass here on a daily basis and there is always a flurry of activity and conversation on the street as the Italian staff are cleaning, unloading stock, smoking and chatting with the occasional acquaintance that stops to talk whilst revving the engine of their moto. These ingredients, plus that cacophany inside which my friend wasn’t so taken with and the general congeniality of the waiters are as if you are on the edge of the Tyrrhenian Sea.Inside you’ll find a simple trattoria feel and exposed brick walls lined with photos of old Naples and glitterati who have eaten here. However, this is not some overpriced, paparazzi chased famous people’s hang out, but a very unpocket-denting place to eat. The pizzas are pretty huge, all cooked to order in their impressive wood fired oven at the rear of the restaurant and all sit around the 10-12€ mark. Salads, calzones, meat, fish and pastas all feature on the menu. I didn’t try it but from a distance I admired (and asked about) the delicious looking pumpkin stuffed ravioli a fellow diner was eating whilst I enjoyable made my way through a quattro stagioni pizza. Again, straight out of Naples these are on ultra thin bases and have a sloppy, tomatoey centre.
Our desserts of ricotta cannoli, tiramisu and profiteroles were all delicious but far too chilled, nothing that a few minutes sat on the table to come to room temperature doesn’t solve though, if you can resist digging in. I was slightly disappointed for my friends not to experience what sometimes happens when you order coffee, but I’ll say no more on that one and let you hopefully find out for yourself.
This place is packed to the rafters most nights of the week, often with a queue waiting out of the door so it’s a good idea to phone and book ahead. Go with your best stories to regale your companions with, limber up those arms for some Italian-style gesticulating, speak at high volume, laugh at lot and sample for an evening a taste of La Bella Napoli.
La Bella Napoli, C/Margarit 12, Poble Sec
Photos courtesy of: vipgourmet.com; barcelona.unlike.net; minube.com