Veritas, Restaurant, Naples, Italy
Maybe you travel to Naples with false expectations, but unfortunately, the image of the city is bad. Trash, mafia and a pretty dirty bay with high pollution. Much of this is probably even true; otherwise it likely would not have stuck as Naples’ reputation over decades. Indeed, the city looks dirtier than other Italian cities; the area around the huge harbor is rather run-down. Perhaps the story of Naples’ tramway mirrors the chaotic, but perhaps not even scandalous condition of public services in this Southern Italian city. Because the street in front of the tram depot is under construction (according to different internet resources – including Wikipedia – the size of construction is only 40m long), not one tram has driven in the city since 2016!!!! This is crazy, isn’t it? I can imagine that the Neapolitans are quite used to this, they don’t trust politics – and for good reason – and if there is something behind all this that is really powerful, it is the Camorra. You can be sure that they earn on every little “error.”
However, it seems that even under these circumstances, most people in Naples are very friendly – a open, nice and warm atmosphere covers the city.
Even more surprising is the rather cool reception in the restaurant Veritas. Although awarded with a Michelin star, which should increase the appeal of a restaurant, the reservation we made was unnecessary; there were barely any other guests. Now, in spite of my white shirt, I dared to wear flip-flops – because I was on vacation, my only other option was sneakers — and I got some disrespectful looks from the head waiter.
So it was not exactly comfortable, also because my wife Sonja and I were seated at a small table for two, although we could have easily been offered a larger one, since in the end, besides us, there were only two or three other parties. If the restaurant is always so sparsely visited, I guess it won’t be long before it shuts down. One can only hope that our evening was an exception, although I suspect that perhaps this is not the case. The staff was too impersonal and quite unapproachable. Maybe it’s also a kind of interior design that’s a bit unusual for Neapolitan standards (Modern design, good colors, no outer terrace and visible windows), although we all go to restaurants like this for the food rather than for the design…
Unfortunately, I don’t need to return for the food. It’s good, some dishes are also very good, but nothing extraordinary or surprising.
The dishes with fish were probably the best; in particular the anchovies were really nice and the tagliatelle with mussels. Somehow reasonable considering Naples is a seaside city. Of course, everything is freshly prepared, also decoratively prepared, and the consistency of the meat, vegetables and fish is right. Gianluca D’Agostino, the chef, certainly knows his craft very well, but somehow it seems as if he doesn’t trust himself. He should just let go and take a few more risks. The flavors are rather normal and common, somehow most dishes taste more or less just as you would expect they should taste in such a restaurant. As I said, not a single real eye-opener.
The English language was not the strength of the friendly sommelier, so unfortunately that limited our conversation about local wines. His English was still much better than my Italian – so all fine. Nevertheless, the restaurant is proud of their collection and indeed, it is a huge and exciting wine list. Because I really do not know anything, for instance, about wine from Campania. I would have been curious and interested to learn more. We had two bottles of wine, each recommended by the sommelier. In particular the white wine – called Agnanum Vigna del pino – was very exciting and the discovery of the evening. Winemaker Raffaele Moccia makes organic wines on the steep slopes of an extinct volcanic crater across the bay of Naples. The vines are above the ancient village of Agnano near Pozzuoli, best known for being the hometown of Sophia Loren. However, I haven’t known the winery before but I am keen to learn more about it, because it is really exceptional white wine.
Back to the eating experience: the most annoying aspect of the evening was the terrible speed of the service. There was not a single pause between courses. As soon as I put down my fork or spoon, some rather rude younger server raced to my table and hastily cleared it — because the next course was obviously waiting already and had to be served without further delay. The explanation of each dish was almost unintelligible because the server needed – for whatever reason – to rush back to the kitchen. Perhaps she or someone in the kitchen had a date later and wanted us to leave as soon as possible. And, in fact, we left quite promptly… even though I had to pay quite a lot for this debatable experience.
Here is the link to Veritas nice webpage: https://www.veritasrestaurant.it/
Remembering the evening, I must say, that it was an event that remained somehow unintegrated into our stay in Naples. It did match all of the good and enjoyable moments, unfortunately. During my stay in Naples, I also wrote a review of a pizzeria called Fresco: Fresco, Restaurant & Pizzeria, Naples. At the end we found one other, rather simple place called Lacantina Dei Lazzari (http://www.lacantinadeilazzari.it/) that was very nice.