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Arthur Levine

Epcot Pizza Takes a Lot of Dough

By January 9, 2012

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Ever since word got out that Via Napoli, the new Italian restaurant that opened this past summer at Disney World, had pizza that cost $39 and featured flour imported from Italy and well water with the same characteristics as acqua in Naples, I've been dying to try a slice to see if it lived up to the hype. Last week I made it over to the Italy pavilion at Epcot and ordered a pie. The verdict is: meh.

Granted, I'm something of a pizza snob. And I'm probably spoiled since I live in the Boston area and regularly visit my son in New York City, two pizza havens. I prefer my pizza crust crisp with a slight char; the tomato sauce and cheese should provide the perfect complement of acidity, sweetness, and saltiness; and the toppings should be fresh, plentiful, and well balanced. Via Napoli disappointed in almost every category.

Despite the use of wood-fired ovens (and the hoity-toity water and flour), which often produces decent pizza, the crust was surprisingly limp and void of any char. There wasn't enough tomato sauce, and the cheese was nondescript. For toppings I ordered eggplant and white mushrooms. (I originally asked for portabella mushrooms since I saw them listed on the menu, but the waiter said that they were only available for one of the specialty pies. It seemed odd that they couldn't fill my request.) The mushrooms were bland, and the eggplant, instead of being roasted and crisp, was baked and mushy.

The grand total for the mediocre pizza was $23 -- for a four slice, mini "individual" pizza. Yikes! "Large" pizzas start at $28 and serve two to three, while $39 will get you a pie that serves three to five (and toppings cost extra). That's mighty pricey. To be fair, the Via Napoli pizza was probably the best I've had at a theme park -- although those of you who have suffered through what parks pass off as pizza know that's damning with faint praise.

Have you tried Via Napoli's pizza? Is my mini review on target or way off base? Chime in by clicking "comments" below.

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Photo: Arthur Levine, 2012. Licensed to About.com.

January 12, 2012 at 4:20 pm
(1) Tim Averill says:

I agree with your interpretation of what makes a great pizza, Arthur, and I would be chocked to pay this kind of money unless it were in NYC for a very flat nearly burned crust with ample toppings and a spicy sauce. For me, the best pizza in Boston is on route one at Angelica’s.

January 12, 2012 at 4:38 pm
(2) Arthur Levine says:

Thanks for your comments Tim. (Although I’m “chocked” that you got the name of the Boston-area restaurant wrong. It’s Angela’s.) And yes, Angela’s has the best pizza I’ve ever had in the greater Beantown area.

Florida park fans: One great under-the-radar place to get decent wood-fired pizza is Splendido Pizzeria, located near the main pool at the Portofino Bay Hotel. It is not quite magnifico, but splendido seems apt.

January 14, 2012 at 2:00 am
(3) AJ says:

Oh, Art. You break my heart!! I love Via Napoli and have had great meals on every visit — including those with pizza. Ah well, perhaps you and I can visit together sometime and duke it out! ;-)

January 14, 2012 at 3:32 pm
(4) Arthur Levine says:

That seems to be the consensus AJ (although nobody’s contesting the high prices). Maybe I owe it a second visit. It would be great to break some bread/pizza with you at Via Napoli.


January 15, 2012 at 8:23 am
(5) Andrew says:

I have found the pizza quality to vary considerably. On my first visit, the saussage and mushroom pizza was soggy and covered in grease. Add a salad and a kids meal and you’ve got a $80 dinner that is very dissapointing. By the way the “house” salad has virtually no taste and is covered in oil, no dressing.

However, on my second visit the pizza wass much better. The crust had a decent chew to it, although not as crispy as I would like. Maybe I should order it well done.

Can we drop this whole NY pizza is the best in the world bs. Its what YOU LIKE best not what IS the best. There is a great chain of coal fired pizza restaurants called Anthony’s here in Florida that is MY personal preference. But I wouldn’t say its the best in the world becauese I think so.

I H8 NY – Put that on my t-shirt.

January 15, 2012 at 10:22 am
(6) Sandy says:

I agree that I was less than impressed. I’ve been to Italy and the less sauce and lack of cheese is normal. However, the crust was a little flimsy and not crunchy. It was weird because I ordered a special with 4 toppings. Each slice of my individual pizza had a different topping rather than all mixed together. My husband had the pepperoni and it only had a smattering of toppings.

The cost is outrageous, but fortunately we had the Deluxe Dining Plan so it was a good use of 1 Table Service Credit.

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