Sunday brunch is not a traditional occurrence in Italy since the typical Italian breakfast usually consists of coffee and a pastry (which is really our normal breakfast as well). However, a very smart proprietress, Mariella Fratelli (the restaurant is usually just known by patrons as “Mariella’s”), decided to capitalize on the brunch nostalgia of American expats and started a Sunday brunch of her own in the Naples area. She definitely has done something right: Mariella’s has gained a major following among expats hankering for brunch. However this is not a replica of an American bunch, but rather an Italian-style brunch! The brunch was all-you-can-eat for 12€, and we definitely got our money’s worth of Italian comfort foods.
We were the first to arrive, so we had the pick of the tables. Being a few days before Halloween we were surprised and pleased to see the place decked out in orange and black. One thing we greatly enjoyed was that the food was all prepared in a normal fashion on plates, with new plates being constantly supplied. None of that steam-table business – which is good because we normally hate warmed-over brunch buffets. The spread was quite impressive with veggies, cakes, fritattas, and cheeses. There were no less than five fritattas on offer, with a variety of cheese, vegetable and meat fillings (and even a fritatta full of spaghetti). We gravitated instantly to the fresh mozzarella di bufala and the fresh ricotta. We were also impressed by the large array of fresh roasted vegetables – including peppers and eggplant – not necessarily what you think of for brunch, but completely delicious and healthy.
We also appreciated the chocolate and fruit tarts on offer, including the chocolatey Torta Caprese. We remember eating a slice of Torta Caprese for breakfast everyday when we were in Siracusa. Perhaps not the most well-rounded breakfast, but oh so good! There were also a few nods to American tastes, with muffins, fruit yogurts and brownies. For drinks, there was also a jug of fresh blood orange juice and cappuccinos were also on offer. As the brunch wore on, the place gradually became filled with Americans. We definitely enjoyed our little Italian brunch, and kudos to Mariella for hitting on a concept that works!