There are two things you absolutely have to eat in Positano. Well, it’s more like two categories of things you absolutely have to eat. Anything lemon and anything seafood. Being a cliffside fishing village, you can only imagine how fresh the seafood is. And if anyone knows how to prepare the local catch, it’s the chefs in Positano. Finish your dinner up with a shot of limoncello made from the locally grown lemons, and you’ll have yourself the perfect Amalfi Coast meal.
Our time in Positano was spent on the beach and eating in world class restaurants so I have several recommendations. Like I’ve said before, it’s hard to go wrong here, but it never hurts to be pointed in the right direction!
One thing that’s important to remember about Positano is that there are stairs EVERYWHERE. It’s kind of like the boardgame Chutes and Ladders except without the chutes. If you’re walking somewhere, you can bet there’s a flight of stairs involved. So when you’re planning your evening outfits, make sure you’re wearing flats (or the new pair of handmade sandals you just bought!). I say all of that to say that each restaurant featured in this post is within walking distance of your hotel if you’re staying in town. I definitely recommend walking (especially at night). It’s such a treat to window shop along the winding streets, hear the shop owners closing up for the night, and smell the wisteria blooming overhead on the trellises.
Il Capitano is the total package. The food was spectacular, the wait staff was courteous, and the view was to die for. There are candles and flowers everywhere which just adds to the romantic atmosphere! We wanted our first night in Positano to be memorable, and I can’t think of a better place to relax and take in the city from above.
To start, we ordered a tempura battered shrimp that was served with an orange dipping sauce. I’d never had anything like that, and the citrus flavor really sent this dish over the top. My entree was thinly sliced shrimp that was under a mountain of fresh pasta… I couldn’t even find the shrimp at first! They definitely get points for presentation! Matt had mussels and gnocchi that was so flavorful! If you read our last post on Positano, then you’ll remember I mentioned the best non chocolate dessert I’ve ever had. Of course, it was all about lemons! It reminded me of a sophisticated twinkie. They called it a lemon tart, but it was more like a cream filled lemon cake with the most perfect lemon glaze/icing. Oh, and don’t forget to order limoncello to finish off your dinner!
It’s crazy how hungry you can get just lying on the beach! Luckily, Buca di Bacco is just steps away from Spiaggia Grande (the main beach in Positano). We took a break from the sun, and headed upstairs for some fantastic traditional Italian food. We had fried zucchini flowers stuffed with mozzarella, eggplant parmesan with a side of spaghetti, and seafood risotto. All fantastic!
I was thrilled when I scored reservations at the Michelin-starred La Sponda restaurant! I was even more thrilled when they called asking if they could move our reservation time due to a conflict in the schedule. I was hesitant at first, but because of our trouble, they offered us the best table in the house! Of course I agreed! I couldn’t wait to see this restaurant in person because it’s lit by over 400 tiny candles and ivy grows all over the walls. Our table was right in front of a huge picture window that overlooked the roof of the church and the ocean. The food was served in small portions (we expected that), but for what they lacked in size they made up for in flavor. We shared a shrimp and cauliflower soup, and for our main course I ordered a lemon risotto with zucchini and baby squid. Matt loved his braised beef with vegetables and potato/anchovy side dish. At the end of our meal, they brought out complimentary dessert candies and limoncello. I love when restaurants surprise me with little extras!
I realize I am highly unqualified to have an opinion on this, but compared to our other Michelin-starred experiences, I feel like this restaurant was gorgeous and the staff was amazing, but the menu wasn’t really anything that special. We can get lemon risotto and braised beef a hundred other places. Just my opinion, so don’t shoot the messenger. You should try it for yourself because we still had a wonderful meal here!
Before our dinner at La Sponda, I knew I wanted to visit the hotel’s upscale outdoor terrace. We arrived early enough to enjoy a drink and watch the sunset. Unlike the restaurant, I felt that the atmosphere here was friendly and comfortable while at the same time being fancy and beautiful. There’s a seafood appetizer menu, but we stuck to the extensive cocktail menu. I was boring and went with an expensive glass of white wine, and Matt ordered the “Positano Cocktail” made with vodka and (of course) lemon syrup. I could have sat out here all evening, but our dinner reservations were calling! Even though hardly anyone can afford to stay at the hotel, everyone should stop in for a drink at the Champagne Bar!
Right on the beach, Le Tre Sorelle is a fun seafood restaurant with a great view of the waves. The fried calamari was hot and crispy, and the white wine was chilled perfectly. I had a shellfish pasta while Matt tried something a little different and went with a baked red fish. It wasn’t his favorite dish, but that’s probably because it wasn’t lasagna!
Next door to Le Tre Sorelle, Chez Black offers the same view of the beach. We enjoyed our food more at Chez Black, but we would go back to Le Tre Sorelle again. Matt had a pizza with ham, basil, tomato, and fresh mozzarella. I stuck to an old favorite and ordered eggplant parmesan with a side of pesto linguini. The portion sizes here were huge, and we were uncomfortably full at the end of dinner. We couldn’t let that good food go to waste though!
With so many amazing choices, how do you pick a favorite? When doing my research at home, I really thought La Sponda would be the hands-down winner. Maybe I talked it up in my head, but I’d say that was probably our third place winner. We both agreed Il Capitano was the best place we ate in Positano. It could have been just the overall magic of it being our first night in Positano, but I’m convinced it was the lemon cake.
For more information about Positano, check out last week’s post! Next week, we’ll get on a ferry and go to the island of Capri for the day!