I have to believe, in a previous life, I was a sweet, old Italian man who stood a solid 4 foot 9. I would spend the days drinking homemade wine, making pasta, eating cured meats, and watching the sun sail across the skies.
In this life, I’m not Italian – not even a little, but heading to Barbatella in Naples, Florida gets me a little closer. Barbatella’s location, ambiance, services, and (most importantly) food is tough to match and impossible to surpass. In a section of town lined with fantastic cuisine, Barbatella consistently stands out for its quality and inviting atmosphere.
Each year, the family looks forward the escape of Naples, Florida from the frosty rivers of Pittsburgh. We yearn for the sun, the warmth, and the food. Each year, we head to Barbatella. This year was a special standout as our visit doubled as an early birthday dinner. For the special occasion, we went a bit crazy with the ordering, but it was a decision made without regret.
Here is a sampling of our sampling:
Dubbed the “Barbatella Platter,” this appetizer for 2 could easily pass as a meal for 4. Are you seeing what I’m seeing here. Yes! Parm, artichokes, olives, onions, red peppers, eggplant, zucchini, fresh mozzarella, mortadella, and prosciutto. Holy smokes. That’s a lot of deliciousness.
I know you might be saying, “Onions and olives? Gross.”
You couldn’t be more wrong, though. Mixing and matching the items across the platter offered so many unique taste combinations. If something didn’t taste right with parm, trying it with mozzarella lead to a more pleasing result.
Salsiccia e Friarielli Pizza. Food this good doesn’t require proper pronunciation, which is great because I didn’t know where to begin when I ordered it, and I don’t know what to call it now. I just call it one of the finest pizzas ever conceived.
Skip the mozzarella and go with ricotta. Crumble Italian sausage over red peppers and broccoli, and you are left with something special. This wood-fired pizza is alone is worth a trip to Naples.
Bonus tip: Order the pizza with the platter so you can eat the crust with meats, cheeses, and antipasti.
Now, there were entrees brought to the table. I swear I remember it. It’s just that my stomach was so full at this point, the other functions of my body stopped. All I can recall is that the pasta was cooked to perfection and a langostino is ugly but tasty.
Dessert: Nutella Pizza. Nutella is possibly the sweetest, smoothest, creamiest substance known to man, so why not put it on a pizza? Okay. That’s a good start, but maybe it needs some color, too. How about some caramelized bananas and fresh whipped cream?
Yes. At this point, my stomach was about to burst. My entree only half-eaten as I was still going back to The Platter, but one bit of the pizza begs another and then another. I had two slices before they boxed it up and another before bed.If you find yourself cruising down Third Street South in Old Naples, make the best decision of your day by stopping in at Barbatella.
Consume.Review.Repeat. gives Barbatella 9.3 past lives out of 10.