Ah, Italian food. It comforts us. It fills us up. And sometimes it creates debates: what is good, what is authentic, what is an abomination.

Those debates also rage at Disney’s versions of Italian restaurants. Today we will look at two of Disney takes on Italian food: the old standby Tony’s Town Square, located on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom, and the relative newcomer, Via Napoli in the Italian pavilion in the World Showcase section of Epcot.

Ambiance

Tony’s Town Square

The feel of Tony’s fits right in with its Main Street location, with plenty of Victorian touches. Dark wood accents, marble table tops, and a slightly formal but still welcoming feel. A fun water fountain provides white noise, while the wait staff wears classic costumes.

Tony's Town Square fits nicely with the Victorian feel of Main Street USA.

Tony’s Town Square fits nicely with the Victorian feel of Main Street USA.

The main dining room is on the stately side, while the veranda offers great views of City Hall across the square as well as a great view of all the hustle and bustle of the street. If you time your meal right and get a chance to view the Flag Retreat Ceremony or the Main Street Electrical parade, you are in for a treat.

Via Napoli

Via Napoli blends the classical Italian architectural elements of the exterior with a modern, European-styled interior. The centerpiece of the main dining room is a large table, where different groups share a space much like they do at the Biergarten restaurant in Germany. But around the exterior of the restaurant are small tables that are much more peaceful.

Service

Tony’s Town Square

The Cast Members at Tony’s are much like the Cast Members around the resort – pulled from a diverse set of backgrounds, but primarily folks who grew up in the United States and who enjoy their jobs and work to provide excellent service. In keeping with the Victorian atmosphere, they are generally friendly and professional.

Via Napoli

Many of the Cast Members at Via Napoli are college students from Italy who are participating in Disney’s International Program. They provide a fun, energetic feel that fits in with the energetic scene of the restaurant.

Food

Tony’s Town Square

You will get a wide variety of opinions about the food at Tony’s. It is an Americanized version of Italian, without apology. Nothing too spicy, nothing too unusual. Little kids can enjoy a big bowl of simple spaghetti while adults can enjoy standards like Chicken Parmigiana, Grilled Pork Tenderloin, and Shrimp Scampi. You get big portions and warm bread.

Via Napoli

Via Napoli prides itself on serving wood-fired pizza. They import many of their ingredients from Italy and even searched for water with the same properties as that in Italy – since it is the natural elements in the water that make a big difference in how the dough tastes. While many kids might enjoy the pizza, there are plenty of gourmet-leaning toppings that will interest adults like artichokes, truffle oil, eggplant, and prosciutto.

Value

Tony’s Town Square

Many of the dinner items at Tony’s hover around the $20 mark, with Lasagna at about $18 and a New York Strip Steak at $30.

Via Napoli

Individual entrée items also go for about $20. Individual pizzas are about $18, and very large and sharable pizzas are about $40 but can serve between three and five people. Those sharable pizzas can make Via Napoli a real bargain for Disney sit down restaurants – if your party can agree on pizza toppings.

Verdict

Just like answering the question ‘which is your favorite child,’ there is no one right answer to which is the better restaurant. For a sit down meal on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom that is good for the whole family, you will enjoy Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. For a slightly more adventurous and authentic Italian meal, you are sure to like Via Napoli.

Which do you think is better:  Tony’s Town Square or Via Napoli?