Napolita Pizzeria & Wine Bar is an authentic Neapolitan pizzeria in downtown Wilmette, downtown Northbrook, and the heart of Chicago’s Millennium Park. As described on their website, Napolita adheres to the strict standards of Verace Pizza Napoletana by making pizza with only four core ingredients: water, salt, yeast, and flour. In addition to pizza, Napolita serves pasta imported from Naples, house-made salads, and Italian desserts and has an extensive wine list. Their commitment to authenticity and high-quality ingredients is evident throughout their menu.
In this blog, I will provide an in-depth review of Napolita menu and its pizza-making class. I will examine the key elements that make Napolita an exceptional Italian restaurant, from their artisanal pizzas baked in a VPN oven to their broad selection of Italian wines. I will also evaluate the unique experience offered by their hands-on pizza-making class, including the opportunity to create your Neapolitan pizza. Through a comprehensive exploration of Napolita’s offerings, this essay aims to showcase why the pizzeria is a premier destination for authentic Italian cuisine and culture in the Chicago area.
Overviewof Napolita Menu Offerings
|Burrata Fresca||17||Arugula, sea salt, e.v.o.o., crostini|
|Bruschetta||9||Vine-ripe tomatoes, ricotta, basil, sea salt, e.v.o.o., crostini|
|Zucchini Fritte||10||Parmigiano, parsley, fonduta|
|Fritto Misto||18||Calamari, shrimp, carrot, lemon, fresno chilis, parsley, arrabiata sauce|
|Whipped Ricotta||14||Local honey, marcona almonds, grilled bread|
|Pollo Alla Parmigiana||20||Breaded chicken breast, tomato basil sauce, mozzarella, spaghetti|
|*Grilled Bakkafrost Salmon||26||Blistered vine-ripe tomato, basil, spinach, garlic, white wine|
|*Grilled Sirloin||27||Roasted garlic, rosemary, fingerling potato, broccolini|
|Pollo Piccata||20||Chicken breast, capers, e.v.o.o., lemon juice, garlic, butter, angel hair pasta|
|Margherita||17||Fresh mozzarella, basil, e.v.o.o.|
|Carne Italiana||20||Spicy soppressata, garlic fennel house sausage, pancetta, fresh mozzarella, basil, chili e.v.o.o.|
|Salsiccia Rossa||19||House-made sausage, roasted peppers, caramelized onion, fresh mozzarella, basil, chili e.v.o.o.|
|Funghi Rossa||18||Fresh mozzarella, roasted mushrooms, basil, truffle oil|
|Salame Piccante||18||Spicy soppressata, fresh mozzarella, basil, chili e.v.o.o.|
|*Funghi Bianca||19||Roasted mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, farm egg, cracked pepper, truffle oil, basil|
|Prosciutto e Rucola||20||Fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, arugula|
|Verdure Arrosto||18||Goat cheese, parmigiano, fresh mozzarella, zucchini, roasted tomato & mushrooms, garlic, truffle oil|
|*Carbonara||19||Pancetta, fresh mozzarella, fonduta, arugula, egg, cracked pepper|
|Giardino||9||Arcadian greens, radish, tomato, carrot, red onions, balsamic vinaigrette|
|Tritata Italiano||16||Romaine, prosciutto, soppressata, peperoncini, tomato, onion, basil, garbanzo, shaved parmesan, red wine vinaigrette|
|*Caesar||12||Romaine lettuce, shaved parmesan, garlic crouton|
|Beet Salad||14||Orange, arugula, goat cheese feta, marcona almonds, champagne vinaigrette|
|Penne Alla Vodka||16||San marzano tomato, vodka, cream, basil parmesan|
|Cheese Tortelloni||18||Garlic fennel sausage, broccolini, white wine, garlic, parmesan|
|Pappardelle Bolognese||17||Nonna’s meat sauce, basil, parmesan, e.v.o.o.|
|Spaghetti Alle Vongole||19||Manila clams, white wine, garlic, butter, chili flake|
|Country-Style Rigatoni||18||Pancetta, garlic fennel sausage, tomato, cream, peas, garlic, parmesan cheese, crushed red pepper|
|Spaghetti e Polpette||17||Beef meatballs, san marzano tomato basil sauce, grated parmesan|
EVANSTON + CHICAGO
|Turnbuckle Pretzels||12||Warm pretzels, jalapeño kölsch beer cheese, grain mustard|
|Brewhouse Nachos||18||Pulled pork, jalapeño beer cheese, jal|
Genuine Neapolitan Pizza
The crown jewel of Napolita’s menu is undoubtedly their wood-fired Neapolitan pizza. Napolita uses only the finest ingredients to create pizzas that strictly adhere to the standards set out by the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association. Their soft and chewy crust is made from double zero flour, San Marzano tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella and finished with olive oil.
As someone who appreciates authentic ethnic cuisine, I was impressed to learn that Napolita uses a genuine Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN) certified oven to bake their pizzas. This oven reaches temperatures upwards of 900°F to perfectly char the crust and melt the fresh mozzarella in 60-90 seconds. The fact that Napolita imports its VPN oven directly from Naples demonstrates its dedication to crafting legitimate Neapolitan pizza. Based on the information provided on their website, I am confident that dining at Napolita would provide me with a quintessential taste of Naples without having to leave Chicago.
Pasta Imported from Naples
In addition to pizza, Napolita also serves pasta imported directly from Naples. Given Naples’ reputation as being the birthplace of pasta, I was thrilled to see that they offer authentic pasta from the region. The website indicates Napolita’s pasta is freshly made, likely from semolina flour and water. I want to try one of their imported pasta dishes, such as rigatoni alla Genovese or spaghetti alle vongole. The opportunity to enjoy genuine pasta from Naples is rare, and I appreciate Napolita’s commitment to providing an authentic culinary experience. As someone who loves Italian food, I am sure their pasta lives up to its reputation and would be exceptionally fresh and flavorful.
House-Made Specialty Salads
While Napolita specializes in pizza and pasta, I was pleased to see they also craft seasonal, house-made salads. Their specialty salads sound delightful, particularly the Insalata di Carciofini, made with artichoke hearts, arugula, shaved Parmigiano, and a lemon dressing. I imagine that their salads utilize fresh, locally sourced ingredients to balance the richness of their wood-fired pizzas and pasta. I appreciate that they make their dressings in-house rather than relying on premade options. This reinforces Napolita’s attention to quality and freshness. A handcrafted salad would be the perfect starter for a meal at Napolita.
No Italian meal is complete without a decadent dolce. Napolita offers an array of classic Italian desserts like tiramisu, cannoli, and panna cotta. I would be incredibly excited to finish my meal with their unique twist on tiramisu, made with rum-soaked espresso ladyfingers and mascarpone cream. I imagine their desserts are prepared meticulously using time-honored techniques, such as layering ladyfingers soaked in espresso and Marsala wine for their tiramisu. The balance of bold espresso flavors and lightly sweetened whipped cream makes tiramisu one of my favorite Italian desserts. I do not doubt that Napolita’s version would be sublime.
Extensive Wine List
As a self-proclaimed wine enthusiast. I was thrilled to read that Napolita offers an extensive, frequently updated wine list with bottles from every region of Italy. Wine is meant to complement the flavors of a meal, so a restaurant specializing in Italian cuisine should also have a varied selection of Italian vintages. I imagine perusing Napolita’s wine list to find the perfect pairing. Whether a light Pinot Grigio with my salad or a robust Chianti Classico to accompany my pizza. I appreciate that their sommeliers could provide personalized recommendations based on my preferred flavors. Having knowledgeable staff to guide your wine choice enhances the overall dining experience. An extensive wine menu adds to the authentic ambiance that Napolita has carefully crafted.
Napolita’s Pizza-Making Class
In addition to its exceptional menu offerings, Napolita hosts interactive pizza-making classes for groups. This unique hands-on experience lets attendees learn directly from Napolita’s chefs while creating their Neapolitan pizza masterpiece. Based on the information provided on their website, I have assessed the critical elements of Napolita’s pizza class below:
The educational component is a major draw of this experiential class. Napolita’s chef instructors provide step-by-step guidance through crafting authentic Neapolitan pizza, from selecting ingredients to stretching the dough. As someone passionate about cooking. I would find great value in learning the techniques of making perfect pizza dough and shaping pies by hand. The instructors share details on topics like the purpose of using double zero flour and why the dough must ferment for several hours. I appreciate that Napolita is transparent about sharing their methods so attendees can recreate the recipes at home. The educational element makes this class appealing even for seasoned home cooks looking to refine their skills.
Napolita offers a high level of customization during these classes by allowing each attendee to select their toppings and create an individualized pizza. The freedom to choose my ingredients to top the pie would make the experience more engaging and personalized. I imagine sprinkling the cheese, meats, and veggies over the flattened dough as the chef oversees the process and offers guidance. The hands-on approach to topping your pizza enables you to craft it precisely to your taste and preferences. This aspect enhances the interactivity and enjoyment of the class.
To complement the culinary experience, Napolita includes two drink tickets for beer or wine. Sipping an Italian wine while learning to make Neapolitan pizza would further immerse me in the culture and cuisine. I appreciate that they want to provide the whole experience, not just teach you how to stretch pizza dough. Pairing the class with a drink enhances the ambiance and social nature of the event. Based on Napolita’s extensive wine list, I trust they offer high-quality wines that work well with pizza flavors. This touch makes the class feel like more of an evening out rather than just a cooking demonstration.
Hosting this class with friends would provide the perfect social backdrop for a unique date night or birthday celebration. Pizza making combined with drinks and appetizers creates a lively, interactive setting. The hands-on nature encourages conversation about your creative toppings and prideful sharing of your pizzas fresh out of the oven. I can envision the process being collaborative yet competitive as we compare our finished products. The group environment would add to the enjoyment and memories made.
Through a detailed analysis of Napolita Pizzeria & Wine Bar’s offerings. It is evident that they provide an exceptional authentic Italian dining experience. From their artisanal Neapolitan pizzas baked to perfection in a VPN-certified oven to their extensive wine list. Napolita offers incredible attention to detail that immerses you in authentic Italian cuisine and culture. Their interactive pizza-making class provides the ultimate hands-on adventure in crafting your Naples-style pie guided by expert chefs. Napolita’s passion for education and customization makes this class appealing to novice cooks and experts alike. Whether you dine at the restaurant or attend their one-of-a-kind class. Napolita promises an evening of culinary delight steeped in Italian tradition. Their authentic offerings and hospitable service make Napolita a premier destination for an upscale Italian meal.
Address:1126 Central Avenue Wilmette, IL 60091
Email: [email protected]