Gelato—Italian ice cream or sorbet—is one of the great pleasures of living in Italy. Naples claims to be the birthplace of gelato, and thus has some excellent gelaterie.
Here are some good gelaterie in and around Naples:
- ROL Gelateria - Via Partenope 12, near Castel dell'Ovo on the water, closed Mon, excellent fruit flavors in general, especially an amazingly creamy/flavorful mango in July 2016, Gambero Rosso Gelaterie d'Italia 2020
- Cioccolatoforesta - via Carducci 29, Chiaia, part of Gay-Odin chocolate company's small empire, rec'd 2015 Repubblica, good chocolate but their very fragrant peach was our favorite in July 2016
- Were good in ~2010 but haven't tried since:
- Gelateria della Scimmia - Piazza Carità 4 (on Via Toledo, at intersection with Pignasecca market and Spaccanapoli) Jan-Mar/Nov M-F 11-9, S/S 11-mid, Apr-Oct/Dec M-F 11-10, S/S 11-mid; one of the oldest gelaterie in the city and a favorite of ICR tours, although their quality is perhaps not what it once was. Good frutti di bosco (mixed berry) and arancia rossa (blood orange, only in summer). They are also famous for their banana gelatos dipped in chocolate. 081-552-0272. There is a satellite branch (less flavors, a bit less fresh) in the Centro Storico on Spaccanapoli (at piazzetta del Nilo --> now the "Scimmia Factory" and rec'd Gambero Rosso Gelaterie d'Italia 2020). Rec'd TCI, 2015 Repubblica, Golosario di Paolo Massobrio 2016.
- Polo Nord - Via Pietro Colletta 41/43, Centro Storico, near the famous Pizzeria da Michele; even older than la Scimmia, they are the oldest continuously operated gelateria in Naples. Recommended by Rick Steves, and TCI; they make several fresh flavors. Their 70% chocolate "ChocoPerugia" is a must for serious chocoloholics. 081-205-431, Closed Sun.
- Leopoldo - Via Vittoria Colonna 46 (near Amadeo metro stop and Via Chiaia), 081-416-161, relatively new, swanky coffee bar/pastry shop that has very nice gelato --> moved to via Benedetto Croce 30? (rec'd Repubblica 2015)
- Fantasia Gelati - Via Toledo 381, 7-1am daily, 081-551-1212. Extremely popular Gelateria, not far from la Scimmia. (Also a branch at Piazza Vanvitelli 22 in Vomero, 081-578-8383, rec'd 2015 Repubblica, as well as via Cilea 80, 081-560-7001, and via Fragnito 30, 081-546-3430). Great fragole (strawberry).
- Gelateria Otranto - in Vomero, at via Scarlatti 78, near Piazza Vanvitelli and near Piazza dei Martiri (Chiaia). Only has fresh, natural ingredients (you can tell by the colors—see "How to tell good gelato," below) 081-558-7498, 9:30-11 PM except Wed. A satellite branch recently opened near Piazza dei Martiri at Piazza Giulio Rodinò 26. --> now at Piazza Fanzago 118 between Medaglie d'Oro and Vanvitelli, Golosario di Paolo Massobrio 2016
- Gran Bar Riviera - 183 Riviera di Chiaia/Piazza Roffredo Beneventano, Naples. Mostly famous for its pastries, but also has interesting gelato flavors such as the refreshing Lemon and Basil. 081-665-026
- Places recommended by guidebooks but haven't tried:
- L'Orso Bianco - in Aversa, rec'd Gambero Rosso Gelaterie d'Italia 2020
- Gelateria Gelatosità - in Vomero, Via Mario Fiore 2, between Medaglie d'Oro and Vanvitelli metros, rec'd TCI, small chain specializing in gluten-free gelato; more info (in Italian) here.
- Gelateria Mennella - via Alessandro Scarlatti 97, Vomero (near Vanvitelli) and vai G. Carducci 45 (Chiaia) and many other locations, Golosario di Paolo Massobrio 2016, Gambero Rosso Gelaterie d'Italia 2020
- Casa Infante - Piazza Vanvitelli, Vomero, rec'd Luciano Pignataro
- Bilancione - Via Posillipo 238 (Posillipo, Naples). Famous gelateria, easily the best in Posillipo, rec'd 2015 Repubblica, Golosario di Paolo Massobrio 2016. Gorgeous views of the water and Bay of Naples.
- Ciro Chalet - near Mergellina on via Carocciolo and via Orazio, this popular bar/pastry shop/gelateria by the water has very creamy gelato, rec'd TCI, 2015 Repubblica
- Gelateria Gelatiamo - Corso Secondigliano 527 (not too far from Capo), rec'd TCI
- Antica Pasticceria Carraturo a Porta Capuana dal 1837 - via Casanova 97, north of Central Train Station, near Porta Capuana, rec'd TCI
- Cerasella - Piazza Carolina 15, Chiaia, rec'd 2015 Repubblica
- Il Gelaterie - San Pasquale a Chiaia 15, closed Mon rec'd 2015 Repubblica --> we looked in July 2016 and it didn't seem that great
- Outside of Naples:
- Davide Gelateria - See the Sorrento Page (also check out Raki)
- Bar Savoia - See the Amalfi Page.
- Anema e Cono- Pozzuoli, Via Napoli. The most popular of the Via Napoli gellaterie (and there are many!), their name is a joke based on a Neapolitan song. They are known for having fresh-hot cones, and can also recharge your Vodafone SIM.
- Sneezy - Pozzuoli, Via Napoli. Founded by ex-employees of Anema e Cono, it has more exotic flavors (alas, their great Kiwi in 2009 didn't re-appear in 2010) and a dance club vibe. Their cioccolato fondente (dark chocolate) is deliciously creamy.
- Il Pirata - probably the best gelateria near the Support Site. At intersection of via Benedetto Croce and via Diaz in downtown Aversa (~1 block away from the train station if you walk directly out the main door). Excellent, creamy gelato; extremely popular. Fight your way to the cashier to pay, then wait for your number to be called. Open 4 PM to midnight every day, 081-503-9823.
- Bar Gelo - via Miliscola 342, Arco Felice, 081-866-1343, 081-804-1368. The Guardascione brothers run one of the most popular coffee bars in Arco Felice, which offers good gelato.
- La Scimmietta/La Scimmietta 2 - Campania Mall (0818.104.22.168) and via Amendola 176/178, Afragola (closed Tues), 349-765-3449, open 9 AM to 2 AM every day except Tuesday (opens at 3 PM). Considered by many (including TCI, 2015 Repubblica) to be the best gelato in the Naples area. It's uncertain what, if any, connection they have with the Naples "Scimmia" gelateria; Antonio Giglio started the Afragola branch in the 80's and they opened up the "Scimmietta 2" branch in the Campania Mall in 2010...also a branch in Caserta.
- Gelateria del Gallo - Via Angelo Camillo de Meis 60 at Ponticelli metro (technically in Naples but outside town, N of Vesuvius, off A3), rec'd TCI
- Paradiso di Stelle - in Acerra (between Naples and Caserta), rec'd TCI
- Gelateria Sicily - in Aversa (near Support Site), rec'd TCI
- Da Emilio - in Casal di Principe (near Support Site), rec'd 2015 Repubblica
- Gelateria Alba - in Casoria (between Afragola and Capo), via Nazionale delle Puglie 195, rec'd TCI
- Other ideas (in Italian) on Luciano Pignaturo's website
- Other websites recommend Motus Ice (Piazza Municipio, near Castello Nuovo)
- L'Orso Bianco - in Aversa, rec'd Gambero Rosso Gelaterie d'Italia 2020
How to tell good gelato
Here are some tips for how to tell whether a gelateria is good:
"Produzione propria" or "Produzione artigianale" - this means that the gelato was (supposedly) made on site or hand-made--> note that nowadays this kind of label actually is much more likely to show up for commercially-made gelato, *especially* if it's on a mass-produced sign (see Parla Food for an example)
- Metal tins - if it comes in a prepared plastic tin, it probably isn't any good (although some mass producers distribute in metal tins)
- No heaps of decorated gelato - if it's displayed in big, airy mountains with a bunch of sprinkles on top, its probably commercially produced
- Natural Colors - banana should be brown, not bright yellow; pistacchio should be greyish, not bright, green; lemon should be white, not yellow (it's the peel that turns flavors like limoncello or dilizia al limone yellow)
- Seasonal - in summer they should have summer fruits, etc.
- Specialists - do they just make gelato, or is it mostly a coffee shop that happens to have gelato in a freezer?
Granita is a close cousin of gelato--shaved ice with (usually fruit) juice/syrup. It is delicious and refereshing, especially on a hot summer day. Granita al'limone (lemon granita) is the classic, although lots of other flavors exist. Some of the best in Naples is at "La Vera Granita" at the intersection of Corso Garibaldi and Via Casanova, about a block outside the Porta Capuana, which sells various flavors for €1 a cup. The absolute best granite al' limone, however, is at the Limonè limoncello factory in the Centro Storico, just up the hill from Christmas Alley outside of the Naples Underground Tour...since they use so many lemons for their limoncello, they always have super-fresh, all-natural granita for €1 a cup.