Foodies rejoice! The Amalfi Coast is packed with some outstanding restaurants and some of the most delicious meals can be had in this glorious, sunny coast of Southern Italy. Whether is is casual dining or elegant Michelin starred restaurants the food of the Campania region of Italy is on par with the sophistication of Italy’s North and Central regions which for years have dominated and overshadowed the rustic cuisine of the South. No longer. The food and wine of the Amalfi Coast is simply sensational. Here is just a taste of a selected few to look for…
Il Pirata (Praiano) In a small fishing village not far up the coast from Positano lies this laid back breezy restaurant. Tables are as close as they can get to being on the water, on the edge where rock meets the sea. And some of the best simple seafood dishes can be had. Local fish dishes are exceptional like the fried anchovies that are so light and crispy. That, a little squeeze of lemon and a crisp glass of wine while the waves lap below is the perfect Amalfi Coast moment. Everything was absolutely delicious, such as the native specialty dish of pasta with octopus in a thick tomato sauce to the fresh desserts like the light and fluffy Delizia di Limone. Such outstanding food and at reasonable prices make this little place a big winner!
Da Gemma (Amalfi) Not far from the church in Amalfi town is a bit of a surprise. Overlooking the main road with all the touristy type places to eat and pizzerias is a choice restaurant serving a bit more of an innovative menu. Based on regional specialties and produce, Da Gemma keeps the food homey while giving it a bit of a twist to make it just slightly more modern. A nice change from the usual while still keeping to that comfort food feel. Starting with the delightful bread basket with a selection made in house, to the squid with truffles everything was exciting and extremely satisfying. Plus with views just above the main street you get an entertaining view of life in the town.
La Sponda (Positano) Serene Le Sirenuse hotel is the epitome of loveliness so it is no surprise that their restaurant is a sumptuous experience. Vines covering the walls and ceilings with hundreds of tea candles giving the restaurant fairy sparkle, La Sponda feels magical. Of course the food is exquisite, Neapolitan influenced cuisine but plated up in refined fashion and served by a polished waitstaff. It could almost feel courtly, but the happy atmosphere and service by some of the friendliest people around make you forget that this place is quite upscale. And to round off the evening, regional musicians play favourite Italian songs as you sip wine and tuck into the divine Lemon Souffle. You leave feeling satisfied and very special.
Cumpa Cosimo (Ravello) Probably one of the most well known and beloved people in Ravello is Neta, the owner and cook of this family run restaurant. Hair pulled back in a bow, wearing an apron, she jovially walks around the cozy restaurant greeting and taking orders as if you were a guest in her home. And in a sense you are in her house and she is a wonderful hostess. Wooden tables and chairs, wine served in jugs and the best homemade food served by an Italian mother eager to spoil you. Hearty pasta dishes are hard to beat, and the Veal with Lemon is scrumptious. This restaurant is everyone’s favourite.
Il Ritrovo (Montepertuso) This small, well respected restaurant has just undergone a bit of a makeover. It is still serving the same traditional menu of beloved dishes, but the decor has been freshened up and given a more artful feel to the establishment. The tone thankfully still remains very homey. The location, high above Positano in the town of Montepertuso is a bit of a hike, but thankfully Il Ritrovo offers complimentary shuttle service from the town of Positano to the restaurant. The Aubergine Parmigiana is some of the best around, while the pasta in walnut sauce, is made from local walnuts and is luscious and lightly creamy. All served in a very laid back and comfortable setting.
Ristorante at the San Pietro (Positano) Fashionable and artful dinning make for an exciting menu at the restaurant in the stylish Hotel San Pietro. Start your meal with a drink, perhaps a fresh Bellini, on the garden terrace while taking in one of the most breathtaking views of Positano. Then move to the dinning room with views high above the sea and enjoy a most agreeable meal. A cultured and imaginative menu with cultivated service make for an exceptional dining experience. First Class all the way.
Da Mare (Amalfi) Located in the gorgeous Santa Caterina hotel in Amalfi, their restaurant by the sea presents some of the best food around. And that is saying something as there is lots of good food to be found on the Amalfi Coast. But for a perfect meal with amiable and friendly service, outstanding location by the sea with gentle breezes, and heavenly food… this is the place to go. If you are lucky you will hit one of the themed nights they host every couple of weeks, such as the Neapolitan night complete with singers and showcasing the best in local specialties. For the best Lemon Pasta in the world, nothing beats the one here. Bar none, absolutely amazing! And the Lemon Profiteroles with a limoncello to round off the meal is total perfection. Sigh…