If you want to know how Naples diners feel about Mediterranean food, try getting a table at The Med. Brainchild Mary Brandt, longtime owner of Hotel Escalante and Veranda E restaurant and her co-partner and longtime restaurant manager Tommy Francavilla have created what they call an Artisan Eatery in the heart of the Bayshore Arts District.
“We have tried to make everything as beautiful and sustainable as possible,” says Brandt.
It’s not unusual to see kitchen staff clip basil or other herbs from one of the restaurant’s 11 outdoor tower gardens. Chef Francavilla was classically trained in France but grew up in Puglia, Italy and his heritage is reflected in the menu.
“The Octopus A Modo Mio is all his inspiration and our customers love it. It’s the best I’ve ever tasted,” says Brandt. “We serve delicious, healthy Mediterranean food from the south of France, Italy and Greece.”
Other fan favs include Fiocchi Allo Zola, a pear-stuffed pasta with gorgonzola and walnuts and the Horiatiki Greek Salad. Salt Crusted Lavraki is carved tableside. The Med also serves pizza thanks to the oven left behind by the former tenant Sicilia.
“I’ve traveled all over the world and I think I tried every pizza made in Venice, Italy. One place had a line out the door so I had to find out what all the fuss was about. People were waiting for a pizza with pistachios. I tried it and it was fabulous! And now it’s our most popular pizza on the menu. We have regulars who come in for it twice a week.”
Brandt’s goal was to create a space where people can come and not feel rushed. Where they can gather and talk and feel The Med experience. Many customers arrive early for cocktails at the bar or around the fire pits on the outdoor patio. Others play petanque, the French version of bocce ball.
Service is also the main focus. Brandt says her team is the best in the biz. Some of her employees have been with her since 2004. “I have a top-notch group of people and can’t stress enough how blessed I am.” Her New Year’s resolution is simple. “I just want people to keep coming back and to help them make lasting memories.”
3929 Bayshore Drive