Naples Ristorante E Pizzeria E Bar in Westfield Montgomery:

Naples Ristorante is the first D.C. area concept from the Patina Group, which is primarily focused on New York City and Los Angeles. Patina operates several other incarnations of this restaurant, including locations in both Disney World and Disney Land, as well as within the MetLife building in Manhattan.

Here, they’re located in the Westfield Montgomery Mall, by the movie theater and food court, with a large, bright space which also has its own direct entrance. If you’re looking for food court fare, look elsewhere. There are deals to be had and the pizza won’t disappoint, but there’s much more as well.

Pizzeria is in the name though, so that’s a good place to start. The restaurant is in the process of being certified as a DOC La Vera Pizzeria Napoletana establishment, meeting the strict requirements of Neapolitan pizza. They take great efforts to make their pizza authentic, from using spring water which matches the mineral content and pH level of water in Naples, to utilizing Neapolitan Caputo flour, imported plum tomatoes, and handmade mozzarella.

You can add on a Napoli salad to a pizza order, a loaded bowl with prosciutto, salami, dates, artichokes, cheese, and presumably, a bit of lettuce hidden down beneath all of those components. In addition to a core group of pies and specialty offerings, there’s also the Mezzo Metro, a four-person half-meter long pizza.

A range of classic small plates include Fiori di Zucca, fried zucchini blossoms, Burrata, Arancini, stuffed with risotto, mozzarella and a sausage ragu, and Uova Imperiale, a pan fried mozzarella sandwich with egg.

The rest of the menu showcases a few salads and soups, along with a focused collection of entrees and pasta dishes. Two standout entrees include a delicately prepared Branzino, served with potato, fennel and salsa verde, and the Maiale, a tender, juicy pork chop served with a sweet onion puree, and a shaved fennel and green apple topping. There are also swordfish and eggplant dishes, along with chicken and steak.

Pasta dishes include the Paccheri, with extra large macaroni tubes, served with a robust and flavorful Neapolitan meat sauce made from braised short ribs; the Chitarra, a thick spaghetti with pomodoro sauce, topped with stracciatella cheese; Gnudi, ricotta dumplings with lump crab meat and spring peas, and the Fettucine Cacio e Pepe, with asparagus, pecorino, pepper, bottarga, and a fried egg. There’s also Linguine Nere, squid ink pasta served with shrimp and calamari.

To drink, you’ll find 70 labels of Italian wine available, with plenty offered by the glass. For cocktails, Naples makes good use of the Italian liqueurs which are so popular these days, from Campari to Aperol.

Try their classic Aperol Spritz, with Aperol, Monetelliana Prosecco, club soda and orange; their house Negroni, made with Hendricks Gin, Campari and vermouth; the Amaro Old Fashioned, with Bulleit Rye, Montenegro Amaro, Luxardo Maraschino and bitters; or the Blushing Italian, with Campari, Tangueray Ten, grapefruit juice and club soda. Other offerings include an Espresso Martini, Amaretto Sour, and Limoncello Drop.

Stop by for an aperitivo during happy hour, daily from 4 to 6pm. Sangria, house cocktails, draft beer and wines by the glass are all $6, bottled beer is available for $4, and their Aperol Spritz, the perfect aperitivo, available for $7.

You’ll want to save room for dessert, too. Naples serves up a full range of classic Italian sweets, or dolci, and they close out the meal quite strongly here. Desserts are highlighted by their Zeppole di Caterina, fried ricotta fritters served with chocolate sauce and whipped cream; and a berry covered Torta di Formaggio cheesecake. There’s also cannoli, tiramisu, Affogato, and gelato and sorbet, along with espresso and its variations.

So, you certainly won’t go wrong with the authentic Neapolitan pizza, but whether you want a perfectly prepared pork chop, a sweet tooth craving, or just a few rounds of Aperol Spritzes, there’s plenty to enjoy at Naples Ristorante.