There’s no better (or stylish) way to reach the best restaurants along the Amalfi Coast than by boat. Kelly thought about buying her own little boat so she wouldn’t have to rely on her always-accommodating friends like Giancarlo, who lives on Capri, and Raimondo, who lives in Positano. But she opted against it and instead bought a car in the late fall, enabling her to drive to some of her favorite restaurants in the winter. Below she shares her top 10 favorite Amalfi Coast restaurants, in no particular order:
I first ate at this restaurant, situated between Positano and Capri, in 2001 and it immediately became my favorite dining spot on the Amalfi Coast. For years I didn’t even know a menu existed because I always let the staff bring me whatever it thought I should have. And I never disagreed. Italian glitterati flock here, especially on Sunday afternoon during the summer. Tod’s owner Diego Della Valle, whom I credit for introducing me to Lo Scoglio, is a regular when he’s in this part of Italy. If you need a nap after eating, there’s a small hotel attached to the restaurant.
Rent a chaise lounge, swim, eat and spend all day at this beachfront shack that is only open for lunch and has regular boat service to and from Positano’s Marina Grande. (You can also hike down the 400 steps from the road.) I still remember the first time I went here but can’t count how many more trips I made. Sergio Bella is the owner and does an amazing job. Enjoy local fresh fish such as bandiera, pasta with lobster and white wine that seems more refreshing because of the sliced peaches floating in the jug. Be sure to start with a big bowl of mussels and grilled mozzarella on lemon leaves, a recipe I made many times at home. And be sure to save room for dessert. I used to call in the morning to find out if they were baking my favorite cake that day and ask them to be sure to save me a slice.
I always thought this place was called Anna’s in honor of owner Anna Tizzani, who is so wonderful and warm. No wonder she draws the big names. I lunched next to Hugh Grant one day and Ralph Lauren and Bill Gates have also eaten at her restaurant on Recommone beach and ensconced inside one of the most breathtaking coves along the Coast. The bluish-green waters are mesmerizing but the real focus is the Mediterranean-style cuisine, especially the local fish caught and prepared daily and the array of antipasti that is almost enough for a meal. I recommend the tubettoni con cicale di mare, a short pasta with a crustacean similar to crab.
Considering how long some of the restaurants in Italy have been around, this one, which opened in the late ’90s, is a baby. But it didn’t take long for it to become one of the best places on the oh-so-fabulous isle of Capri.
Opt for a table in the covered garden rather than inside. Feast on Mediterranean cuisine with a focus on seafood and fish. I recommend the linguini fra diavola, with different types of fresh seafood and lobster. Great wine list too with over 800 bottles!
This waterfront restaurant not only had an incredible view but yummy spaghetti alle zucchini, which quickly became my favorite dish when I moved to Positano. But just as good is the fresh seafood.
Usually hotel restaurants aren’t at the top of my list but this one, owned by the Cinques, is an exception. This famed luxury hotel, which attracts the likes of George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Kelsey Grammer and other big names, is nestled in enormous jagged cliffs facing the sea and offers graceful dining in its romantic, one Michelin star restaurant, where “a piennolo”, or hanging tomatoes, dangle from the ceiling and fresh pasta more than satisfies. Belgian chef Alois Vanlangenaeker, a longtime resident of Italy, puts his individual touch on traditional cuisine such as adding limpets, sea snails and baby calamari to his paccheri pasta. Don’t miss the mixed seafood salad, cooked while you wait, with vegetables.
Whoever says you can’t get good meat on the Amalfi Coast hasn’t been to La Tagliata. Located high above Positano in the charming village of Montepertuso is where you’ll find this family-style restaurant, which offers indoor and outdoor dining. You better be famished when you arrive. And don’t worry about ordering from a menu. Just nod your head when they ask if you want the super-size platters of antipasti and six different types of pasta. Delicious fresh fish and divine desserts also available. Be sure to have the grilled meat platter with lamb shish kabobs, chicken, rabbit, pork and duck. A nice perk is the complimentary transportation from Positano or you can can drive.
The best thing about my move to the other end of Positano was being closer to this restaurant, which is on the side of the road and easy to miss if you’re driving too fast. But the locals know to stop for arguably the most reasonably-priced, quality food in Positano. The pizzas are incredible but some of my other fave dishes are ricotta cheese and eggplant stuffed ravioli with fresh tomato sauce and the seafood kebab.
I never found a great pizza place in Florence but the pies on the Amalfi Coast are a different story. My fave on Capri is Aurora, which dates back to 1912, is one of Capri’s oldest restaurants and has been called a “gastronomic museum.” But it’s not just about the pizza. Traditional Neapolitan and Caprese menu with scrumptious fish and pasta is also available. The outdoor tables make this the perfect place to see and be seen since Capri is fantastic for people-watching. I recommend the pizza all’acqua, the house specialty, white pizza made on a thin crust topped with mozzarella and spices.
Sant’Agata Sui Due Golfi
Save this one for those special occasions. Unique Mediterranean-style dishes such as lobster, mozzarella and tomato with peach ravioli and “bollicine” and made with the highest quality ingredients set this pricey, two Michelin star restaurant apart from the competitors. All of the fruits, vegetables, olive oil and lemon liqueur come from the Iaccarino family’s 15-acre farm. An amazing wine list.