On a coastline renowned for its stellar restaurants, we seek out the best local secrets – from sumptuous Michelin Star stunners to simple, affordable little lidos where in-the-know Italians eat.
Restaurant edit by Cher Roscoe and Chloe Gardner, Travelcall
Restaurant descriptions by celebrity Chef Marc Murphy. Read about his food tour of the Amalfi Coast
Da Adolfo, Laurita
Family-owned for more than 40 years, this beachfront restaurant is little more than a wooden terrace set in a secluded cove on the Amalfi Coast. A steep set of 450 stairs leads down to Da Adolfo from the town of Laurito, but the restaurant also provides a free shuttle boat from the nearby Positano pier. On the covered, open-air terrace, a chalkboard menu advertises specialties like grilled mozzarella over lemon leaves, totani con patate (squid cooked with potatoes and garlic), and local wine served with sliced peaches. The restaurant also rents umbrellas and lounge chairs for after-lunch swimming and sunbathing.
Chloe adds… They have a little boat with a red fish on the top that picks up passengers from the main pier every hour (maybe every half hour this time of year) from 10am. We will usually hop on the first boat over and spend the morning on the beach and have lunch there – make sure you book sun beds and lunch in advance, they are ridiculously busy. It’s such an odd little shack, I think people who have never been there before see it and think “uh, what is all the fuss about?!” BUT the food really is delicious and it’s super authentic and very funny… it’s all one big family yelling at each other and racing up and down the stairs with bowls of pasta. I highly recommend it… but go with an open mind as it’s not what you expect from the outside!
Casa e Bottega, Positano
A gorgeous cafe for breakfast/lunch (about a 10 min walk up the hill from the base) – amazing salads, cakes, baguettes etc, all freshly made in front of you. It’s amazing how much you crave a good salad when you’re travelling and have been gorging on Italian carbs! They also have beautiful homewares for sale. This is my fave café.
Il San Pietro
The two restaurants at Il San Peitro are well worth a visit. Carlino is right on the water and Zass is their Michelin starred restaurant. If you only have time for one, I’d choose Carlino because it’s so beautiful to be perched on the water. (You will actually see this hotel when you catch the boat to Da Adolfo).
The island’s only Michelin-starred restaurant is in the Capri Palace Hotel. Dine on raw red shrimp with asparagus and apple salad followed by cuttlefish-ink ravioli.
Il Riccio, Capri
Situated at the blue grotto, the open-air restaurant serves stunning food accompanied by the most magnificent, mesmerising sunset. Save room for dessert – the sweet smell as you enter the ‘all you can eat’ dessert room is truly intoxicating… and dangerous!
Da Paolino, Capri
An institution in Capri – a magnificent courtyard full of lemon trees (hello Limoncello!). The trees are adorned with light of an evening, making it a very charming dinner spot, but also great for lunch as the menu is full of beautiful fresh seafood and produce.
La Fontelina Beach Club, Capri
A beautiful place to spend the day, with views over the Faraglioni (Capri’s famous three rock formations). The colour of the water here is breathtaking. Blue and white umbrella adorn the beach and rocks and the beach club serves up a delicious lunch.
La Conca del Sogno, Salerno
Built in a former stone quarry, this family-owned restaurant has an outdoor terrace that juts out over the Gulf of Salerno, providing views of the surrounding cliffs and the yachts floating on the water below. Just a short boat ride from Marina del Cantone, the partially covered restaurant includes white-clothed tables, wooden chairs, and colorful potted flowers, as well as seven adjacent guest rooms for overnight stays. The menu emphasizes fresh seafood, with options including linguini with clams, salt-and-pepper shrimp, and the grilled catch of the day, paired with peach-infused white wine from the Campania region.
Chez Black, Positano
It’s been around since 1949 and rumor has it that it’s named for its owner’s perma-tan. The restaurant’s famous spaghetti with sea urchin is worth the visit: It’s served in a giant bowl that looks like a sea urchin (spines included) and the waiters aggressively encourage you to wear a ridiculous bib when eating it, but I promise that’s an offense you can easily get past once you have your first taste of the dish’s sublime flavor. Equally delicious are the views and location, right on the main drag.
Lo Scoglio da Tommaso, Positano
Quite possibly my favorite restaurant in the world. We pulled up to the Hotel Lo Scoglio’s dock (run by the same family since opening in 1958) and were greeted by Antonia De Simone, daughter of proprietor, Peppino. She was delightful and quick to introduce us to her father, her sister, her cousin, another cousin who is related only by marriage, and everyone in the kitchen—all related in one way or another.
The menu is large, but the list of daily specials is larger and the smart move is to order from what they have fresh that day. That day’s antipasto included marinated anchovies, arugula with baby tomatoes, and large tomatoes with basil, fresh mozzarella, raw sea urchin and baby clams. And then the pastas—we had four different spaghettis, each better than the next: zucchini, basil and parmesan, yellow tomato and basil, and sea urchin. And then, for our main course, we shared a whole baked fish with lemon, olive oil, capers and potatoes—a contender for final meal ever (if I ever had to make that difficult choice). This is the type of place you hear about but can only dream of ever really finding.
L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, Naples
There’s a line out the door from the minute they open and they’ve been serving only two types of pizza (Margherita and Mariana) since they first opened in 1906! If you want a true Napoli pizza experience, this is the place. It is also one of the most basic restaurants you will likely ever dine in – but if it’s good enough for Julia Roberts (a photo of her dining there hangs on the wall), it’s good enough for us!