Address: 1290 Third St. S., Naples
Phone number: 239-263-1955
Recommended by: Clay Cone, president of Cone Communications in Naples.
Reservations: You don't need to make lunch reservations in the slower summer months, but we suggest you do in the busy winter tourism season. That's especially the case if you want to reserve one of the four booths inside the restaurant.
Parking: Despite the location in the heart of Naples, parking is surprisingly easy on the street or behind the restaurant. Still, you'll have to walk a block or two to reach your destination, so leave your jacket in the car in the hotter months.
One-hour lunch test: Our waitress was attentive but not overbearing, and service was quick. If we hadn't lingered we could have been finished with lunch in 45 minutes.
Privacy: This is not the restaurant to see and be seen by the Naples business establishment. Instead, consider Barbatella the kind of restaurant where you'd meet a longtime client for lunch in a casual setting. The seating is Italian, which means it's an open layout without a lot of privacy. Ask to be seated in one of the restaurant's four booths if you need to discuss matters privately. (If you're looking for a more upscale, white-tablecloth experience, consider the sister restaurant a block away called Sea Salt.)
Ambience: The rustic Italian decor is designed to encourage interaction among patrons. A long table in the center of the restaurant serves as a casual place for a quick bite to eat and makes it a lively place to meet. The open air of the restaurant with its open doors makes it a little warm in the summer for those of us who wear suits, so wear something light. Keeping the doors open sometimes lets in unwanted visitors, such as a pesky fly that harassed us. Consider outdoor seating in the winter.
Food: If you're going to order an entree, be ready for a large portion. We had to ask for a doggie bag to carry home half the panini sandwich we ordered. And they don't call the salads “Insalata Gigante” for nothing. The butcher salad came piled with pork, chicken and beef. There's pizza from the wood-fired oven and two pasta dishes if you prefer. But unless you've been digging holes all morning or haven't eaten in two days, we suggest that you try the soup and salad appetizers. Lunch for two, including tip, was about $48.
Ownership: Chef Fabrizio Aielli and his wife, Ingrid, own Barbatella. The couple moved to Naples in 2007, creating a culinary splash with the opening of their first restaurant here, Sea Salt.
Review: August 2012