October 2017

Eating at Da Adolfo (the most remote restaurant I’ve ever been to!)

Any time I read about Positano, a mysterious restaurant would always be mentioned – Da Adolfo. It almost became sort of a legend. The only info I could find about it was that reservations were hard to get and the food was to die for. But if you know me at all, then you know that a restaurant like that is right up my alley.

I knew Da Adolfo was in a difficult location, so I emailed our hotel concierge months before we left, and I asked them to secure reservations for us. Because of the time zone difference, it was hard for me to call the restaurant myself. The hotel replied that the restaurant wasn’t open yet (it’s open in the summer… and I was asking them this in February, my bad), but they would try calling them once they were open for tourists.

A few months went by, and I sent a follow-up email to the hotel concierge. Once again, he replied that he had tried to call them all day, but no one would answer. And of course, Da Adolfo doesn’t have an email address or any type of social media. Ok fine, we’ll try again when we’re actually in town.

Once we arrived in Positano, the first question I asked was about Da Adolfo. Could they try to get us reservations now? But yet again, after trying to reach them by phone all day, they had no luck. What is the deal? This restaurant isn’t expensive, or fancy, or in any magazines?? Why are they so difficult to get a hold of?

Finally, on our last day in Positano, I pleaded with the concierge to please try one more time. Lo and behold… they answered on the first ring! Reservation for two? For today? No problem. Meet them at the pier and make sure we get on the boat that they’re sending for us. Wait, what? A boat? Evidently, there’s no other way to access the cove that Da Adolfo is in. No roads, no cars. Only small boats.

We packed our beach bag (I was told they had beach chairs for rent), and headed for the pier. We spotted our boat right away… look for the red fish! After fighting a few other people waiting to get on the boat, our shirtless, barefoot boat captain sped away from Positano. A short ride later, we rounded a cliff and I could see it! The beach club looked beautiful… and so elite! No wonder it was so hard to get reservations here. But then, reality crashed down around me. We weren’t headed to that gorgeous beach club… we were headed to the shack on the right. Matt gave me an “are you sure about this?” look, and I did my best to appear like I had known this all along.

When we got off the boat, we headed straight for the beach chairs. The restaurant wasn’t serving food yet so we might as well relax next to the Mediterranean sea, right? Such a hard life.

Something still seemed a little off to me about how easily we got a reservation that morning after having tried for months. I sent Matt to verify that they had our names on the list. He was gone for quite a while and came back looking a little paler than usual. Our names weren’t on the list. I repeat, WE WEREN’T ON THE LIST. We rode this boat to the middle of literally nowhere and now we were stuck here with no Italian food. Apparently Matt told the manager of Da Adolfo that there was no way he was going back to tell his wife that we didn’t have a reservation. The manager laughed so hard and told Matt not to worry… they would TRY to squeeze us in once everyone else had been seated. This was a disaster.

As we watched everyone else’s name being called, I got a feeling of dread. This was going to be such a waste of a precious Italian day. And we would be hungry. This is NOT how my vacations go. I always have reservations. I always print off the confirmation of such reservation just in case the restaurant themselves have misplaced it. I’m never the person hoping for a table. I am not used to such laid back, willy nilly spontaneity. It was giving me anxiety.

After every person had a table, we were still left sitting on the beach. Matt peeped his head up over the railing and made eye contact with the manager. He had forgotten about us! Once he remembered, we were sat immediately at a crowded table right by the bathrooms. That’s ok… at least we had a table!

The menu was written in Italian on a chalkboard so we fumbled through ordering. I knew we were getting some type of fish and our waiter insisted we try their signature drink… white wine with fresh peaches.

I tasted one bite of our appetizer of grilled mozzarella on lemon leaves, and my anxiety melted away. I wasn’t mad we couldn’t get reservations. I wasn’t mad our hotel concierge lied. I wasn’t mad the manager forgot us. I just needed more of that mozzarella. It was so warm and chewy and had a perfectly charred taste from the grill. Something about it being grilled on the lemon leaves gave it such a different flavor… a little citrus and a whole lot of freshness. Oh, and don’t eat the lemon leaf.

The white wine with peaches was incredibly refreshing after lying on the beach. I don’t even like peaches, and we drank an entire pitcher.

The mussels in the tomato sauce were so flavorful… garlic-y and tomato-y. It went so well with our grilled fish and the zucchini pasta. All of the dishes had such simple ingredients, but the flavors were fantastic. I definitely did not expect all of this from a bunch of barefooted waiters serving at a shack on the beach. I love when I’m wrong and it turns out this way.

After stuffing ourselves silly, we took a nap on the beach and watched the ferry come and go.

Da Adolfo was the hardest restaurant to get to AND to get into. My only advice is to try to call them yourself to get reservations. I’ve read that they tend to answer their phone better in the morning (which is our middle of the night). If you can’t get reservations, you could always do like us and just jump on their boat anyways! Surely they’ll work you in, right?

Day Trip to Capri

Despite all of my months of preparation, our visit to the island of Capri did not go as planned! This island is so gorgeous, and there’s so much to explore, but visitors are at the mercy of the weather and sea conditions. We loved our day on the island of Capri, but we definitely had to roll with the punches on this one.

The only way to access Capri is by ferry. The ferry from Positano to Capri runs throughout the day, and our plan was to catch the earliest ferry out the next morning so we could maximize our time spent there. We woke up to find that all ferries to the island were cancelled! How can they shut down all transportation to and from the island?!? Due to the high winds and rough sea conditions, it was too dangerous for the ferry to cross. That’s ok. We decided to have a beach day in Positano, and then try again the next morning.

Type A Tidbit:

For this exact reason, don’t buy your ferry tickets ahead of time. It doesn’t save you any money, and since the ferry tickets are sold for a specific date and time, you run the risk of losing your money altogether. It’s best to wake up and assess the sea conditions that day before buying your tickets at the kiosk right next to the pier.

When we woke up the next day, our hotel concierge called the pier and found out that the ferry was operating! Hallelujah! Unfortunately, the high waves around the island still made it too dangerous for anyone to visit the ONE thing we really wanted to do there: the Blue Grotto. The Blue Grotto is a tiny cave that you can take a rowboat in. Once inside, the sun illuminates the water to the brightest, most captivating shade of blue. We did get to see incredibly clear, bluish-green water, but I’m afraid it still couldn’t compare to the Blue Grotto. We were told that any time there is a strong wind from the west, the Blue Grotto is too dangerous to enter. We checked the forecast, and it was going to be closed everyday that we were in the area. So now that the Blue Grotto was out of the picture, we had to come up with something else to fill our morning with!

I’m so glad I had come across Capri Relax Boats in some articles I’d been reading before we left. They were the best! They’re located near the ferry pier, so we walked straight there to ask them if there was any way we could still get to the Blue Grotto. Unfortunately, there wasn’t, but we asked about other boating excursions that were available. They offered a private tour around the island that sounded too good to be true. For only about $200 we got a boat just to ourselves complete with a knowledgeable skipper! Our skipper was fantastic! He pointed out landmarks of the island, navigated our boat through caves, took our picture several times, and drove us straight through the famous Faraglioni rocks (you might recognize it from perfume commercials?). Not to mention, he had snacks and complimentary prosecco. I mean, is an Italian boat ride even complete without prosecco?

Type A Tidbit:

Ask your skipper to stop so you can jump out and swim! The water was much too cold for us, but he did offer to anchor the boat for a while.

Legend says that you must kiss you sweetheart while you pass through the Faraglioni arch… you’ll be blessed with a lifetime of happiness together!

After our boat ride, we rode the Funicular from the port to the hilltop town of Anacapri. The Funicular is similar to a railway on a hill. Everyone sits in little cars, and it slowly creeps up the hill until you’re at the very top. The view from Anacapri was breathtaking, so we decided this would be the perfect opportunity for lunch!

There’s a few things you can’t miss in Capri: caprese salad made with homegrown tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, fresh seafood, and the flourless chocolate cake known as torta caprese. Our restaurant, Ristorante Al Capri, was perfect for a quick lunch! After eating, we headed to find a cab that could take us to the chairlift up the mountain. The cabs in Capri are so fun because they’re all open air convertibles!

The line at the chairlift was long, but it moved really quickly. Unfortunately, we couldn’t buy tickets for any of our activities in Capri ahead of time because we weren’t sure what day we would be able to take the ferry across. It worked out ok, but we did have to stand in line a few times. The Mount Solaro chairlift is a smooth ride to the top, but once you’re at the top, there’s really nothing to do besides take pictures and take in the view. It is a good opportunity to see the Faraglioni rocks from high up though! We rode the chairlift back down, but there is the option to hike down. We had too many other things to do so we took the quickest way to the bottom.

We visited Villa San Michelle and toured the gardens. The villa was built around the turn of the 20th century, and it overlooks Capri and the harbor. The gardens are so well-kept, and we enjoyed the peacefulness. They do charge a small fee to enter, but it’s a place you must visit. Our pictures don’t do it justice.

After the villa, we took an open air cab to the marina to do some quick souvenir shopping and grab some gelato before taking the ferry back to Positano. Our time in Capri was a little rushed, but still somehow relaxing. I know there are many things we didn’t get to do because of the time constraints of the ferry schedule, but we already know we have to go back to see the Blue Grotto!