Eating “ethnic” food, as they like to call it here in Italy, is a fairly hard endeavor here in Naples. First of all, there are not a lot of non-Italian restaurants. Plain and simple. Then, there are the Italianized-versions of international food. These places are generally nothing to write home about and in certain cases just downright terrible. Then, there are the off-the-radar kind of places. The restaurants that cater to the immigrants from that country, not Italians.
Places that don’t have a name. Places where the staff doesn’t speak Italian. Places that aren’t actually restaurants at all.
In short, places that are right up my alley.
While wandering around the other day, I spotted a Sri Lankan flag in the distance. It was enough to catch my attention. I approached and lo and behold, it was a restaurant! I put it on my mental list of restaurants to try. Well, last night we had the opportunity to eat there! I wasn’t bowled over by the selection, but overall I walked away fairly happy.
We walked in and were heartily greeted by a young Sri Lankan fellow with a nice smile. There were a few guys in the dining room, but they all left once we came in and left us all by ourselves. (Sad face!) The waiter brings us a menu, written in English. There are a three choices of sauces that can be cooked with either chicken, beef, fish or calamari. Then, naturally, there are a few different kinds of noodles and rice. Unfortunately, the waiter can’t fully explain what the differences between each dish, so we just ordered with the “Point and hope it’s good” method.
We decided to go with the “Chicken Deviled,” as it was called on the menu and mixed vegetable noodles. The chicken was really quite good. Bone-in chicken pieces were cooked with crunchy white and green onions. All this was coated in a not-too-sweet, not-too spicy sauce. (I’d compare it to a sweet Thai chili sauce, but less sweet and a tad spicier.) The chicken was perfectly cooked and there was the perfect amount of sauces. The onions added a touch of freshness to the dish, but could have been cooked just a bit longer for my tastes. As for the noodles, they were pretty standard fried noodles with egg and veggies. I appreciated the fact that they were not heavy at all and had good flavor without being greasy.
As we were eating, our waiter brought out a dish of some sort of spicy relish. WOW. I wish he would have brought it at the same time as the dishes, because y’all know I love that spicy kick! This was not only spicy, but had a nice little umami flavor going on too. We washed the whole dinner down with a large Peroni-too bad there was no Sri Lankan beer!
As I said before, there was really nothing life changing about this unnamed Sri Lankan restaurant. The service was fast, the food was pretty good and we paid 12.50 euro for TWO! However, it’s always good to have a bit of a change from the usual. Also, the guys who worked there were really interested afterwards to know if we enjoyed our meal. They were super friendly and asked what we would have liked to see on the menu (Bread! Sweets!). The one who seemed to speak the most English let me know there was another location that had bread-so I will be searching that out in the near future.
I know for a fact that they don’t see a lot of non-Lankans there. This is a bit of a shame as they compromise a large percentage of the immigrant community in Naples. The restaurant, marked simply by a Sri Lankan flag outside, is located on Vico Bianchi Allo Spirito Santo, near Piazza Dante. It’s definitely worth a try when you’re looking for a change from Neapolitan cuisine!