Inside shopping centre café that ‘transports you to Italy’

Fans of Italian food in Bristol are spoiled for choice, with dozens of restaurants across the city that serve the finest delicacies the Mediterranean country has to offer.

From traditional trattorias like Giuseppe’s and Bianchis to award-winning pizzerias like Flour & Ash, it’s easy to feel like you’re in Bologna rather than Bristol when heading out for a meal.

But if you were to ask a group of Italians for their top recommendation when it comes to authentic food and coffee from their native country, the answer might just surprise you.

Read more:Capital’s top curry house opens second Bristol restaurant

Taste of Napoli might not look like the most traditional of Italian establishments from the outside, but there’s a good reason Italians visit it for breakfast, lunch and dinner on a daily basis.

Since opening in 2017, the Broadmead café has earned hundreds of glowing reviews on Google and Tripadvisor, with visitors praising its pizza and sweet treats, particularly the cannoli.

It’s headed up by Naples-born Carmine Montuori, who ran a Disney merchandise shop a few units down in The Arcade before realising his dream of opening his own café, which started life as a mobile food truck.

Carmine and his team, which includes some of his family members, serve pizza by the slice, arancini, pastries, focaccia sandwiches and more, all washed down with proper Italian coffee.

The entire menu is made fresh on site using ingredients shipped over from Italy as much as possible.

“I think Taste of Napoli’s success is down to a combination of the quality of the food and the environment,” said Warren George, the cafe’s marketing and operations manager.

“A lot of Italian cafes and restaurants across the UK do a good job of feeling authentic, but none come close to Taste of Napoli in my opinion.

“There’s always Italian radio on and the staff speak Italian to each other, as well as to many of their customers. It’s a fun environment to be in and it feels like walking into a typical café in Naples.”

Taste of Napoli serves Italian street food including pizza slices and focaccia sandwiches
Taste of Napoli serves Italian street food including pizza slices and focaccia sandwiches
(Image: GadgetLine Films)

Taste of Napoli also serves authentic gelato, perfect for when the British weather resembles something a little closer to Italy, and offers an extensive range of vegan pizzas for plant-based visitors.

Warren said operating under the ever-changing lockdown restrictions over the past 18 months has been challenging, and that recruitment is also proving difficult due to the well-documented shortage of hospitality staff.

There has also been a reduction in footfall in recent months due to the closure of Debenhams, he said.

“It’s been a difficult time, as it has been for everyone in the hospitality industry, but we just passed 500 five-star reviews on Google which was cause for celebration,” added warren.

“Each positive review we receive validates what we’re trying to do and is always a welcome pat on the back.”

Recent Tripadvisor reviews of Taste of Napoli have praised the range of vegan options on offer and the friendly service, while one visitor said each visit ‘transports you to Italy’.

Other recent visitors have praised the coffee, with one person describing it as “the best in Bristol by far”.

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