Where to Eat On the Amalfi Coast
Beginning in the fifties the Amalfi Coast has offered a local version of the classic "Mediterranean cuisine", focused on simplicity and flavor as well as excellent quality.
In Positano, one of the restaurants that stands out is da Vincenzo, a historic meeting point for lovers of good, genuine food. Much time has passed since the original owner, Vincenzo, peeled vegetables in front of the entrance to his hole in the wall trattoria from where he and his wife served the same kind of food that was eaten by large farming families in bygone times. But since those days, the small restaurant has expanded in the same location and has remained special and popular. Now run by Vincenzo’s son and his family, da Vincenzo not only offers wonderful food, but also a meal served in a friendly, upbeat atmosphere. In the summer, because of the restaurant’s popularity, it is wise to reserve in advance in order to secure a seat at one of the outside tables.
Another excellent restaurant is Le Tre Sorelle, which offers quality and style with excellent fish and seafood dishes and a great wine list. The name “Le Tre Sorelle “comes from the original restaurant that was run by three older sisters, or ”sorelle”. The location is lovely, right off the beach on the walk that runs parallel to the sea. For fine seafood and good wine (Luigi, the current owner who comes from the family of the three sisters, is a good and attentive sommelier) this is the place to go.
On a higher level of sophistication and price, is La Sponda, the restaurant of the well-known Hotel Le Sirenuse. Although not inexpensive, a real must is the Champagne Bar, where beside the excellent selection of champagnes you can try super-fresh and genuine local catches, such as shrimp and scampi from the nearby island of Li Galli.
The restaurant on the terrace is charming and everyone of its tables has a view of the sea. There you can try dishes worthy of a Michelin star. And if the beauty of Positano is not enough, the sommelier will take you around the world with the stunning wine list. Along with Don Alfonso 1860, the internationally recognized restaurant in Sant’Agata dei Golfi, La Sponda is one of is one of the eating landmarks on the Amalfi Coast.
A more recent addition, in the center of town but in a secluded garden, is the restaurant Next 2. The chef, Renzo, who has an impressive resume that includes working with chef Alois Vanlangenaeker at the famous San Pietro Hotel, has been able to give a strong Mediterranean influence not only to the flavor but also to the presentation of his dishes. The wine list is excellent and so are the drinks. Of particular interest also is the dessert list, prepared by Tatina, the pastry chef whose reputation transcends Positano.
Among the many restaurants on the beaches, a special one that is a little off the beaten path, is da Adolfo at Laurito beach (which you can reach both on foot from the main road between Positano and Praiano or by catching the restaurant’s boat that leaves from the Positano pier every hour or so). Da Adolfo, named after the father of the current owner, Sergio and his chef/brother Daniele. Sitting at a table right in front of the sea, looking at Positano, you can have this extraordinary view while eating an absolutely genuine cuisine.
Of the many historical restaurants in Amalfi, I would like to suggest Lido Azzurro at the seaport.
In addition to a great selection of locally-caught fish and seafood, it has a wonderful terrace overlooking the harbor and an ambitious wine list with many prestigious labels.
In the center of town, in the main square, you will find the renowned restaurant, da Gemma, which still lives up to its reputation.
It is in an excellent location, with a terrace overlooking the promenade of the old town and has a great, young sommelier who was recognized as an “up & coming” member by the Italian Sommelier Association (AIS).
In Atrani, the small town just a few hundred yards south of Amalfi, I suggest La Paranza, which unfortunately does not have an equally cheery location (in a historic building but without any view). However the lack of view is compensated by the quality of its food. It is particularly well known for its fried dishes, both fish and vegetables.
Ravello was the town that initially introduced high quality restaurants to the Amalfi Coast.
The top restaurateurs started here, and over time they were followed by many others.
At Villa Cimbrone, one of Ravello’s historic villas, you will find Il Flauto di Pan, a Michelin-starred restaurant that offers both structure and balance in its dishes, high-class service and an excellent wine list.
Another place that I believe deserves to be mentioned is Garden, a restaurant that is often very busy – if not chaotic – at lunch time, but that in the evening turns into a charming locale with attentive service and authentic food, both from the land and sea.
*Baldassarre Fiorentino is a chef, sommelier and producer of quality wines.