Naples Ristorante e Bar, which offers authentic Italian cuisine in the Downtown Disney District, held a dedication ceremony on Jan. 8 to celebrate the restaurant’s reopening and redesign.
By Melanie Gable
To celebrate the return of the restaurant, Chef Goofy and Chef Mickey Mouse made an appearance, along with partners from the Downtown Disney District and Patina Restaurant Group executives.
“I am delighted to welcome everyone to the new, refreshed Naples and Napolini [Pizzeria], with a new design intended to evoke the coastline of the Bay of Naples, Capri, and Positano,” said Nick Valenti, CEO of Patina Restaurant Group. “I originally created the Naples concept to showcase the cooking of my native Southern Italy.”
“The Patina Group has done a wonderful job in collaboration with Disney and all of our partners to come up with an incredible new restaurant and venue for all of our guests to enjoy. I think the attention to detail, the craftsmanship, is just absolutely wonderful,” said Brent Davies, general manager for the Downtown Disney District.
The ground floor features a mural of photographs of Italian life by Naples photographer Mimmo Fontanella, and a fire-themed, glass tile mosaic above a trio of new wood-burning pizza ovens. Sculptural fabric chandeliers adorn the ceiling, and a tumbling block patterned floor adds a graphic element to the decor. In this dining room, guests are treated to an unobstructed view of Naples’ chefs at work and can watch fresh pizzas being made on the spot.
Heading upstairs, guests will enter an elegant, airy dining room. The space is decorated with contemporary artwork and an “infinite loop” lighting fixture, which gives the impression of a starry night sky.
As an amusing nod to the people of Italy, a white accent wall features sculpted hands carved into a variety of Italian hand gestures, with an identification chart available upon request.
The booths, tables, and chairs inside are finished in warm brown hues, with brighter, more casual outdoor furniture on the patio – which also has a beautifully refurbished fountain.
Both the indoor and outdoor dining areas offer views of the Downtown Disney promenade with floor-to-ceiling windows.
Executive Chef Umberto Rubelli, who received his culinary education in Milan, Italy and has nearly 25 years of experience, has reimagined nearly half of Naples’ menu and added brand-new items, like fried cheese with basil pesto, and fresh fish selections prepared with lemon, olive oil, and tomato.
Frank Moreno, Patina’s vice president of operations, was the final speaker for the opening ceremony. “For many, many years, Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria e Napolini have been a traditional place for Downtown Disney guests to come and get a little taste of Italy. We’re so happy with our new look, design, decor, and we can’t wait to unveil it.”
With its modern new decor, impeccable service, and rejuvenated menu, Naples Ristorante is sure to be a desirable dining destination for both locals and Disneyland Resort guests who want an authentic taste of Italy in a beautiful, lively setting.
Naples Ristorante e Bar is now open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with to-go options, and is located in the Downtown Disney District. For reservations, call (714) 776-6200, or visit Disneyland.com to learn more.