By Joshua H. at 2016-11-29
This was my most memorable dining experience of any Italian restaurant I have been to outside Bucca Di Beppo in Milwaukee as far as WI goes. Everything from the venue, the ambience, and cultural appeal of the restaurant to the amazing best friend like service you get from staff and of course owners and executive chef Salvatore himself who I got to meet and talk to. Top notch across the board.
My meal was wonderful. The chilled eggplant was my first non eggplant parm version I had and loved it.
The insalata alla Naples was so simple but so very robust in flavor due to the natural and authentic ingredients and recipe they adhere to.
The Margherita pizza was also simple in concept but big in flavor! All comes down to the San Manzano tomato, Italian imported flour in the crust and the stone oven they use to bake it in. The way real Neopalitin pizza was always meant to be.
The monk fish entree was also amazing. It did have far more pasta with it then I expected as compared to actual fish but the fish, red sauce, pasta, olives, parma cheese......just delicious! A very unique dish unlike I have had any place else.
Sal even gave me my pick of a house wine to have to end my meal and of course I went with my red! Wow was that good! Nice end to a nice meal and experience.
I will try and make this a stop every time I come back to Madison to see family around holidays for sure. Better yet, I'll bring them in with me! This place is meant for families to gather around good food just as it would make for a ideal date night.
By Bri M. at 2016-09-30
I've been to this restaurant a few times now, and looking back on it, I have a few helpful tips to ensure a good experience:
- Order a glass of wine: There are SEVERAL options to choose from, and don't be afraid to ask questions about what to drink based on what you're hungry for.
- Don't get disappointed by simple dishes. That's real Neapolitan! So often I think people want some crazy, multi-ingredient meal, but the best dishes are the ones with fewer, high quality ingredients. Some of the best plates have only a few components and are definitely worth trying!
- They have amazing seafood options that taste very fresh! I love the lobster ravioli!
- Definitely, if nothing else, order a pizza. Those have never been disappointing. They're crispy and hot and topped with authentic Italian ingredients.
- Service can be touch and go depending on the experience of the waitstaff, so going during less-busy hours gives you more time with your server and will definitely ensure the best time. Sometimes the chef, Sal, will come around and say Hi! He is by far the best part of the restaurant. I love his passion for food, his love of the restaurant, and his care for everyone's experience.
If the food alone were enough, I'd give it 5 stars. I just wish he had a better trained staff for the busy nights. It's sometimes hard to justify $40 for a seafood dish when the server doesn't even know everything about it, or can't spend much time with each table because they're understaffed. Making a restaurant feel as luxurious as it is requires much more intimate and knowledgable servers.
By Gary A. at 2016-08-21
Read the reviews on Yelp and decided we wanted to give Naples 15 a try. What an experience! We arrived 15 minutes before our reservation time but we were seated quickly. We had a party of four. It was a beautiful summer evening, 68 degrees and breezy but inside the restaurant it was warm, very warm to being uncomfortable. After being seated we waited 20 minutes before our waiter showed up and brought some water, Then another 15 minutes before he took our order for appetizers and a bottle of wine. Another 30 minutes later we got our appetizers and we then placed our entree orders.
40 minutes later our main courses arrive. Also, all the while we are waiting, and during our meal our waiter never asked if we needed anything or how our meal was. The place was very busy and in my opinion understaffed and poorly trained. On a positive note, they offered free desert and an after dinner drink because of the long wait time.
The food is expensive but average in taste and quantity. The owner was very friendly and our waiter said that business had picked up because they have been rated #1 on Travelocity for Madison restaurants. My response was "with service like this you won't be #1 for long".
Hopefully they can resolve their service issues soon. We won't be coming back again.
By Amy T. at 2016-12-21
Disappointing. Wasn't a busy Tuesday evening, had reservations, seated quickly, received water, menus, and ordered. The waiter brought our glasses of wine then forgot about us until we asked 40 minutes later when our salad would be served. He brought our pasta order, it was warm, not hot. Brought out salad after a bit (now on the house). Charged us incorrectly (higher) for the wine. Disappointed, won't be going back.
By Loren H. at 2016-11-13
The good and the bad..
Made reservations but the man did't ask for a name? I gave mine anyway and guess what? No reservation when we got there. Bar is small and they allow eating dinners at the bar on a Saturday night which annoys me. The service was really slow for some unknown reason, it wasn't all that busy. Salads got there before our appetizer, the bread is that flat stuff greasy stuff which I hate, is served on a plate full of olive oil and pepper.( The bread doesn't wipe up the sauce which is part of the deal in my book). The Caprese Salad was a really big disappointment. Two big balls of very good mozzarella with a couple of cherry tomatoes cut in half, a couple of lettuce leaves and very little sauce. What were they thinking? It needed a mix of this stuff. One ball of the cheese with more lettuce and tomatoes and sauce would have done it. The meals that we had were good but not great. The special was supposed to have three meat balls in it and had two. Our waitperson was nice but never there when we needed something and we spent lots of time rubbernecking for her. It is expensive here but the meals are big. We shared ours. The average price was thirty bucks but our special was around twenty this night. Again it was good but there are other places just as good or better that are not so expensive.. I do like the cosy space and it wasn't too noisy which was a relief. Do not plan to return any time soon but you might like it. If they served a good Italian bread with butter I might consider it. Petty I know but wiping the plate with bread is the Italian way isn't it?
By MJ C. at 2016-11-01
I highly recommend this place! It's definitely my favorite. I always choose whatever the special is. Sal is the BEST chef. So passionate about his "art!" Eat here, you won't regret it.
By Cole R. at 2016-12-10
Arguably the best restaurant in Madison. The service is fantastic and the food is even better. I can't recommend this restaurant enough.
By Jake P. at 2016-12-10
Quick, friendly service. Unreal appetizers and entrees!!! You can't beat this place...5 stars without question.
By Jennifer G. at 2016-07-01
It's hard to write this particular review because we did have problems with service and food. I wanted to like it because it seemed so warm and inviting in the beginning, but then our food order was completely messed up in that we didn't receive our salad for 40 minutes of which are entrees didn't come out for another 10 minutes after that. The waiter apologized several times and even comped some of our drinks, but the mix-up was a little disappointing. It was extremely nice of him to try to make up for it and for that, I gave three stars. I just think the servers/cooks got overwhelmed with the amount of people there - even though it wasn't packed?
But then our food was only so-so. We started with the Insalata alla Naples - spinach / oranges / strawberries in a balsamic dressing. It was good. I then had the special Ziti al Re di Napoli - ziti with pork, beef, San Marzano tomato, mozzarella, ricotta, fresh basil, Parmigiano Reggiano, and extra virgin olive oil. The meat ragu was a little overwhelming and took away from the pasta part. The pasta itself was good and overall - very filling, but the meat was too much.
My husband had another special - the Aragosta alla Don Salvatore - Fresh lobster tail served with cherry tomatoes, garlic, and parsley - baked in the wood oven. It was fine, but nothing he thought was memorable.
Maybe they were having an off night? Others around us seemed to like their meals, so maybe it was just our meal / experience.
By Yash K. at 2016-07-09
Very authentic Italian. Chef Salvatore was very friendly and came to our table to let us know about the specials. They have vegetarian options. Baked potato with cheese was very good.
Pizza was amazing and so was all the entrees we ordered.
By Torger P. at 2016-12-10
Hands down one of the best restaurants in Madison. The service is outstanding and the food is even better. Exceptional restaurant. Wish I could give it a 7/5. Could not rave more about this place
By Chloe S. at 2016-05-29
We went to Naples for the first time last year for my college graduation and returned last night as a reunion of sorts. I still maintain that Naples 15 is the most authentic Italian restaurant in Madison. Both times I've been here, the chef makes a point to come around and talk to each table (and often gives away free drinks).
We started our evening off with a bottle of Col Di Sasso 2014 cab sav. I'm not a wine snob, so I'll leave the description of it as "smooth and tasty." Complementary bread and olive oil was served while we waited for our meals. I ordered the Paccheri Naples 15: pasta with large garlic cloves, San Marzano tomatoes, salted pork, basil, EVO, garlic and onion. The pasta came in a HUGE bowl. The bowl dwarfed the large noodles, but the dish was nonetheless extremely filling. You know it's real Italian when the simplest blend of ingredients can satisfy the palate so much. The friendly chef, the wine, and the pasta are all reasons to dine at this established eatery. Do note however, that the prices are not as welcoming as the staff. Most entrees will set you back $20-$30.
By Eric S. at 2016-08-01
Salvatore is the best host and the pizzas are the best!!!
The real taste of italia! Even better than in italia!
By LeAnn M. at 2016-10-29
This was the best Italian food outside of Italy that I have ever had! The lobster ravioli was amazing! Such a quaint place with so much personality and history intertwined into the decor. The host/ owner made us feel like we were inside his home with the way we were treated. I'm from out of town, but will definitely come back every chance I can.
By William C. at 2016-12-17
Agree with other reviewers. The food and owner were fantastic but the service was sub-par. You expect premium service when you're paying top dollar. Felt like we were being rushed the entire time, as we came about 45 minutes before closing.
By Anna G. at 2016-11-03
Counting the days until we have the privilege of enjoying another meal at Naples 15. The owner and chef was incredibly gracious and the food was delicious!
By David H. at 2016-11-04
Excellent Italian food served and made authentically. Everything is delicious, but the pizzas are the best deal. Amazing food!
By Lisa G. at 2016-07-28
Best Italian I've had in the USA as well as outstanding service. We had the lobster ravioli, wild boar with a pasta side. Both dishes were devine! The head chef and owner Salvatore went out of his way to make us feel welcome.
By R A. at 2016-02-17
Like the last review, this place has potential. We had dinner here on the Saturday before V-day. My husband made reservations and they were so busy the only available was very early. We thought this would mean less crowds and better service....
The service was very lacking, I feel in part because they did not have enough staff for the amount of tables so our waitress was spread thin on a busy holiday night. The place quickly filled and every table was occupied.
We did not go with the prix frixe menu, instead ordering a pizza app and 2 entrees. This seemed to be a good idea because as we watched the other tables slowly get their orders, the amount of food was not worth what would have been a doubled check total (our bill came to less than half what the prixe fix was).
The margarita pizza was very good, although only had a single sliver of basil (I like more). My husband really liked his Gamberi e Capesante and I thought my Ziti al Re di Napoli was good. They were both served on very large, chipped ceramic platters, which I thought was overkill especially with the small table size.
I am familiar with real, authentic Italian food, and this place does remind me of such quality, but I feel the overall experience was lacking. Prices are somewhat high but expected.
Unlike the previous review, we were not there when the Chef came out and filled glasses but I doubt that would've made a difference for us.
We will still consider this place in the future, and maybe give it another try on a less popular night!
By Collin S. at 2016-08-18
This restaurant is simply the best Italian food and friendly place in Madison True Neapolitan and authentic cuisine Bravo chef Salvatore Di Scala