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Ciro a Mergellina Ristorante – Pizzeria

Via Mergellina, 18/21
Napoli 80121
Tel.: +39 (0) 81681780

Friday 15th March 2002

Our first dinner in Naples. We had seen Ciro’s the night before, and had been impressed. The menu looked, on cursory inspection, to be rather more substantial than one would expect for a pizzeria. We’d also noticed that most people had been rather well dressed. Given the “feel” of the locality, it seemed a little out of place. We were later to revise our opinion of the locality.

I have since found that Ciro’s is represented in at least two other places in Naples – on the Borgo Marinaro, and Santa Brigida.

The staff were very welcoming and found us a table in the middle of the room. At first I thought they were making a bit of a fuss of finding space, because the place wasn’t exactly full. I was wrong, the place just kept on filling up.

Behind us was a table set for about twenty – the atmosphere was beginning to get buzzing especially as the throng arrived over a period of about an hour, to much greeting of each new arrival, and shuffling of chairs to make room for additional members of the group.

The waiters were all uniformed and extremely smart, so the fisherman who came to each table offering his fresh oysters was conspicuous.

The table next to us ordered lobster, and there was a bit of a side show as they extracted it from the tank. Next to the tank was a display of the fresh sea-food for the day – most impressive, with the specimen fish strung up in the pose of a fish fighting to get off a hook. This was offered to the party behind us – who agreed to have it.

Back to our meal. For starters, I ordered the Saute de vongole, and Marg, as usual, did not have a starter and satisfied herself with being disgusted at my eating these little shellfish with their eyes sticking out on stalks! Mmmm! Delicious!

Marg ordered a steak, and I ordered Saltimbocca a la Romana – a dish I have had several times since I first tried it as a kid in Trastevere. This was the first time in my life that it was as good as I remembered it!

One of the waiters, after I had tried to use my Italian to its best adavntage, asked me if I was Roman! Marg pointed out to me that this was probably prompted not by my accent, but by my nose. Who needs enemies!?!

The wine we had selected was excellent – I’m sorry but I forgot to take notes.

All through the meal, we were in turn entertained, and attended to, by the excellent waiters. They were so attentive, yet without being obtrusive – I never had the impression they were hovering (they were, in any case, too busy), but I never had to raise my hand – only my eyes, for instant service.

The waiters attended to each table with the same gusto, and when the big fish arrived for the table behind us, the waiter was quite expert at separating the flesh from the bones and serving equal portions to each guest.

As we were so tired, we declined dessert, and made our way back to the hotel, all the while discussing what an extraordinary experience this meal had been.

If you are ever in Naples, I can guarantee that you will be impressed by Ciro’s, and I can only award them one of the highest mark I’ve ever awarded.

The bill came to €68.75, or 44.30 in real money. An astounding bargain.

Sandro and Marg

Eatanddrink Ratings

Ciro

Total Score: 89%
Quality: Exceptional
Service: Exceptional
Facilities: Above Average
Ambience: Above Average
Value: Exceptional

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