Positano in June 2008
We're heading to Positano for a week in late June, and would love some up-to-the-minute Chowhound recommendations for good places to eat. Also, we're renting an apartment with a kitchen so any recommendations on the local markets, where to buy good meat, veg, fruit, wine, etc. would be really helpful.
We also have a few unplanned days at the end of our trip, so any ideas for other places to stay in the area would be grand!
I just returned two weeks ago from an 8 day trip to Rome, with a 2 night, 3 day side trip to Positano. I totally loved Rome, so I'm not sure I would trade time in Rome for too many days in Positano. There is simply not that much to see and do. The view is totally breathtaking ... don't get me wrong ... it is beautiful ... from just about EVERY vantage point. There are some lovely restaurants -- our favorite was a restaurant that called itself a combination restaurant/wine bar/art gallery -- it is called MAX's ... and is located in one of the little tiny piazzas just about one level up from the beach. Ask anyone, it is almost right next door to the store called Lemon Lady -- where they sell tons of lemon scented soaps, candles, and Limoncello by the bottle. We bought Pancetta and cheese and crackers in the little store on the other side of the Lemon Lady store -- just up the street from the church in Positano. Sorry to be so vague, but the streets twist and turn and I never knew what street I was on, except that many of the bigger hotels were on the main road -- Via Christopher Columbo. Check out the beautiful Positano pottery shops ... and hit the beach ... several nice pizza places on the beach, but we had nothing fancy there. Go see Max's ... big wine selection and pastas to die for!! Ciao!! If you are staying in an apartment ... go by the Le Sirenuse Hotel on Via C. Columbo and have drinks on the patio ... there is no more beautiful view in the world in my opinion!! Very expensive meals at that hotel, but the coffee and drinks are reasonable, and the 80 million dollar view is a memory of a lifetime!!
You might want to consider Sorrento for your extra days. There are several very good restaurants, and the town is charming. You can take a ferry to Capri, though I think you can do that from Positano as well. If you will have a car, Herculaneum and Pompeii are nearby, and there is a Michelin 3-start restaurant (one of 2 in Italy?), Don Alfonso, in Sant'Agata, just a few miles from Sorrento. If you will not have a car, you can get taxis from Sorrento to these places. There is also a train that stops at Sorrento.
Take some of the hikes in the amazing hills above Positano - there are some fine walks up there on ancient stone paths - some quite famous, and, if you take a bus up to a high starting point, (I think there is a bus that climbs up through the Furore gorge, and takes you up above the Sentieri degli Dei (Path of the Gods) - you can walk downward toward some nice village dining locations in Montepertuso (a couple listed in Slowfood). Look for the Sunflower walk guide to the Amalfi Coast and Sorrentine peninsula, or the local tourist offices have good maps. We loved the Ravello area so much we never made it over to this part. Each of the little mountain villages seems to have some place to eat and you can get nice and hungry from the breeze and exercise. Much better IMO than vegging on an inferior beach or shopping in a tourist town. You can take the bus over to Ravello, too, or a boat along the coast to the other little towns, Minori, Cetara, etc each with good dining, to Salerno or to Paestum (great) as well as to Capri. You should also look for the book on Campanian Food and wines by Carla Capalbo - a great planning resource for your trip since she points out artisanal food producers and wine makers as well as shops and restaurants. http://www.amazon.com/Food-Wine-Guide...
re: jen kalb
In Positano Max's is really good. There is supposed to be a fun restaurant off of La Spiagetta di Laurito - you have tot take a little boat there from the small beach. Bar La Zagara has yummy ice cream Via dei Mulini. Drink limoncello!!
Ravello is amazing - don't miss the gardens of course. Hiking there is hard but than you can eat at Cumpa Cosimo.
The little town of Atrani - on the other side of Amalfi toward Salerno - is so cute, and a great place for an aperitivo. It is very cheap too because somehow it has been left relatively untouched by Amalfi tourism. There is a trattoria in the piazza that I think it good.
For the extra days I would say Naples (Da Michele pizza with double mozzarella!) and Pompei but there is a garbage crisis in Napoli - a darn shame as this is one of my favorite places in Italy. I would instead go to Capri for fresh air.
There are many solid restaurants in Positano (El Capitano, Saraceno D'Oro, etc.), but for a truly spectacular dining experience, take a cab to Montepertuso (a small town above Positano) and go to Donna Rosa. You will need a reservation, and it's costly, but it's the place to go if you're looking to splurge.
If you get to the town of Amalfi, you have to go to the pastry shop. It has by far and wide the absolute best candied fruit I have ever tasted. I wish I could order it but their website doesn't let me. Also, in Amalfi there is a wonderful restaurant in an old building that has a cave-like feeling and the basement cistern area has been made into a wine cellar. I'm not much help with names but the road from Positano and east is a wonderful drive and I especially liked Amalfi.