Home Style Italian Cooking At Canta Napoli

Penny Flood enjoyed good food and the 'great buzz' at popular restaurant

9a Devonshire Road, Chiswick, W4 2EU

Telephone-0208 994 5225

What is it that makes a restaurant popular, so popular in fact that people will queue outside on a cold damp night until there are places for them? This in Chiswick where good restaurants to suit all tastes with price ranges to suit all pockets abound.

If you’re hungry, there’s no need to queue, but when it comes to Canta Napoli, they do. Of course the food has a lot to do with it, which is why customers come in to collect their own take aways when there are plenty of other pizza joints that will deliver.

I went to Canta Napoli the other evening, after the fireworks at the Business Park. The place was heaving. We were lucky to arrive just in time to get a table without waiting as it quickly filled up.

Unfortunately, the management didn’t seem to have reckoned on families dropping in after the fireworks and hadn’t laid on extra staff, so not only did people have to queue, service was slow. The only waitress, who was under tremendous pressure, was good natured and charming throughout, never losing her cool nor making mistakes with the orders. She deserved a medal.

We went there for the pizzas, because that’s what Canta Napoli is famous for with their lovely big pizza oven. But there’s more than just pizzas, Canta Napoli is a neighbourhood restaurant offering a range of home style Italian cooking at very reasonable prices, and, judging by the night we went, it’s kid friendly.

There’s a big choice of starters, which include bruschetta, olive pate, artichoke pate and plenty of dishes with goats’ cheese, ham and mushrooms. And there are some dishes to share, such as pizza bread topped with mozzarella or smeared with garlic, olive oil and rosemary. We settled for a selection of marinated olives. Large, green Nocellaren's and Gaeta olives marinated in olive oil infused with garlic, chillies, rosemary. They were lovely. Pizzas are very filling so a small starter is plenty.

The pizzas were the main event. I had funghi porcini, a tomato base with proper porcini mushrooms, tasting deep and dark just like they should. My companion had pizza pucinella with mozzarella, spinach, goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and pancetta. It was all just as it should be, thin based crispy pizza with generous tasty toppings. One of them was a tad burnt, but after being in that pizza oven, perhaps it’s not surprising. It was still delicious. To go with it we shared a wild rocket salad with parmesan shavings. There’s a big choice of pizzas offering all sorts of combinations, with plenty for vegetarians. And they come in two sizes, single which is 12 inches in diameter and half a meter if you’re starving or sharing.

The portions are generous so after the pizzas there was no room for dessert which is a shame as they have a lovely, dessert menu. Of course there’s tiramisu and pannacota, gelati and sorbets but there are also cakes. We were sorely tempted by the Neapolitan ricotta cake and the chocolate cake from Capri. In the end we settled for a two-scoop gelati – vanilla and pistachio - and two spoons. Proper Italian gelati, lovely.

It’s terrific value for money, which is another good reason for going there. Our meal was £32, which, with our two-for-one coupon, came to £24. That included a large glass of house white and a beer.

Service isn’t included so you can leave what you think the service was worth which we did. Our waitress, who was still smiling at the end of a very busy evening, was worth every penny.

I’d say Canta Napoli’s popularity is down to a combination of things – good food, reasonable prices, and the ambience. It’s got a great ‘buzz’, a local restaurant catering for locals without compromising quality.

Penny Flood


November 14, 2014