When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie that’s Little Napoli!
For the past 25 years, visitors and locals alike have flocked to Little Napoli and for good reason - their country Italian cooking, amazing prices and good ol’ Tuscan hospitality simply cannot be beat!
Carmel-by-the-Sea can be a tricky little city to figure out (there are no street addresses), but you can’t miss Little Napoli on Dolores and 7th, just down the street from Ocean Avenue. The quaint Mediterranean influenced building is decorated with waving Italian flags, colorful window overhangs, and vibrant manicured flowers.
Upon entering, your journey continues through the inviting and bustling country cottage style eatery: a roaring fireplace, Chianti bottles in traditional fiasco baskets, images of the homeland and nostalgic Sinatra tunes set the tone for an Italian escape all before chowing down on a piece of Napoli’s famous garlic bread. During my last visit I even happened to eavesdrop on a nearby diner who noted “I feel like we are back on our European honeymoon.”
The inside is cozy and rather casual, perfect for a midday lunch or a first date while the outdoor patio offers expansive seating options in the garden for you and your four-legged friend.
Each table has all of the Italian necessities including fresh ground pepper, red pepper flakes, sea salt, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and an endless supply of parmesan cheese; which is an immediate sign that you’re in for a treat.
Chef Pepe’s classic menu certainly does not disappoint, I mean how else can an eatery survive the stiff restaurant competition in Carmel for 25 years without killer food and service?
Menu items include an array of Italian comfort classics like veal “osso buco” ravioli, pesto Genovese pasta, Napoletana pizza and hearty fresh salads.
According to the kitchen, one of the most popular items on the menu is the Bolognese di Bari with beef, pork and sausage served over fresh pappardelle pasta. The smell alone is sure to transport you to a Venetian piazza. The dish comes out steaming hot with a generous helping of freshly grated parmesan cheese, and if it’s still not enough, you can always tap into the extra supply on the table.
If you’re up for something a little different, try the Il Pescatore “Cioppino Rosso,” but don’t just take our word for it. Guy Fieri raved about this dish on an episode of his hit Food Network show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” I mean what’s not to love about a seafood menagerie of prawns, scallops, mussels, clams, calamari and crab in a spicy pescatore sauce served over hand-made capellini?
Those looking for a dish on the lighter side will rejoice in their robust salad options. The Amalfi salad in particular is a showstopper with crisp romaine, jumbo prawns, creamy avocado, sharp gorgonzola and a zesty Caesar dressing.
Little Napoli also offers an extravagant lunch special for $14 which includes a choice of a ½ pizza or ½ pasta dish with soup or salad. Now that’s amore!
Little Napoli is open daily from 11:30am-10pm (except Thanksgiving and Christmas).