Perhaps it’s the rush of endorphins after eating fried cheese but I felt compelled to write this article, to tell you why I think Taste of Napoli is Bristol’s most underrated café, and perhaps even Bristol’s best kept secret. While it seems to be well frequented by Italian locals living in Bristol, I never seem to encounter many Brits themselves.
Taste of Napoli is a family-run restaurant that uses traditional methods to bring an authentic taste of Italy to Bristol.
Located in Broadmead, there’s really no excuse to stop by since the café is opposite Primark. So ignore the lure of Burger King and tantalise your taste buds with traditional Italian street food instead.
As I walk in to the small café, I already have my sights on the fried aubergine pizza that I spotted on Instagram. “Hello there” greets the blonde Italian woman behind the counter with a big grin and an obvious passion for life.
“Hi, I’d like to try this please?” and as I hold up my phone to show them the very same Instagram photo that lured me in, the young gentleman beside her gasps! As she busies herself heating up the pizza slices, in his proudest moment he turns to me and says “Did you like the picture? I took it!”
With the outdoor seating occupied given the glorious and unexpected sunshine, I find myself a seat on a table just by the door way and in full view of the desserts.
“Ciao Bella” *Kiss* *Kiss*
A friend enters. Another Italian gentleman sips his espresso leaning against the column. An Italian mothers tends to her son who grazed his knee as he attacks and arancini ball.
Everything about the atmosphere is warm and welcoming, and honestly if I closed my eyes I’d feel as if I were in Italy in that very moment.
My pizza arrives… fried aubergine, parmesan cheese and tomato. As I take my first bite my tastebuds dance in joy at one of the greatest pizzas I’ve ever eaten. My mind adrifts, “I should’ve ordered an arancini ball” I think to myself. Rookie mistake.
More and more customers arrive, “Bonjourno” “Ciao” and laughter fills the air. I missed my chance to order that arancini ball.
After devouring the pizza in a matter of minutes, well who am I kidding? Seconds really. I just thought I’d glance over the menu to see what I’d have the next time.
Arancini (obviously). Cannolli. Montanara. (Deep fried mozzarella pizza). Mozzarella in Carozza (fried closed mozzarella sandwich) and AFFOGATO?! (Espresso with gelato).
And while Italian cuisine doesn’t necessarily scream plant-based, they do offer quite a strong selection of vegan options – Vegan arancino, vegan frittatina and vegan Panini sandwiches to name a few.
And while I made my haste for fear I would turn in to a block of cheese if I stayed, I vowed to make my return – and actually returned the next day.