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Apr 11, 2009 10:18 AM

naples - amalfi - rome

hey all,

i've been wading back into the italian 'hound community and after reviewing the existing literature, this is what i have so far. please let me know your thoughts and/or specific recommendations to order. budget is not so much a concern so much as a balance between gluttony and mild overeating. i only want food specific to each location (e.g., no need to eat piedmontese food in rome) but modern interpretations are fine. my wife and i are our in ealry 30s and she's pregnant so unfortunately, only i can consume vino, crudo, and salumi. i've made reservations at a few places already.

4/23 - Naples- arrive from Rome
- Lunch: Da Michelle
- Dinner (post-opera @ 9 PM) : Da Dora or Hosteria Toldeo?

- Lunch: maybe di Matteo or Sobillo for more pizza?
- Dinner: Napoli Mia or George's in the Grand Hotel Parker?

4/25 - Amalfi
- Lunch: Open
- Dinner: La Caravella (r)

4/26 - Ravello
- Lunch: Cumpa Cosimo
- Dinner: Rossellini (r)

4/27 - Positano/Sorrento
- Lunch: Open
- Dinner: Il Buco (trying to r)

4/28 - Capri / Sorrento
- Lunch - Open - a lighter meal with nice views
- Dinner - Open - Don Alfonso / Caruso / Taverna del Capitano

4/29 - Sorrento / Pompeii / Open
- Lunch: L'antica Trattoria
- Dinner: La Torre del Saracino (r)

Rome: this is my second time. last time i ate at dal checchino, matricianella, armando, remo, and la rosetta. this time, i really want to eat roman jewish food esp. fried baccala. this time. we'll be staying around via veneto again but are willing to travel all over.

4/30 - Rome
- Lunch: ?
- Dinner: Armando/ Al Ceppo / Paris - party of six

- Lunch: Open / Volpetti or something around Campo de Fiore?
- Dinner: La Pergoal (r)

- Lunch / Dinner: Open
- Options: Armando/ Al Ceppo / Paris / Antico Arco / Monti / L'altro Mastai


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  1. I am totally obsessed with Naples and eat there very frequently. This would be my wish list:

    4/23 - Naples- arrive from Rome
    - Lunch: La Cantina di Via Sapienza in Centro Storico; Matteo, Sorbillo, Trianon, and Starita are all better than Da Michele
    - Dinner : Da Dora is good, but overpriced. why not head to Da Cicciotto in Marechiaro or Ciro a Mergellina in...Mergellina?

    - Lunch: Di Matteo or Starita a Materdei (both pretty convenient to Museo Archaeologico which you should not miss)
    - Dinner: Napoli Mia or Mimi' alla Ferrovia

    I dont eat on the Amalfi Coast enough to give an informed response, so Ill skip ahead to Rome:

    For Roman Jewish cuisine try Nonna Betta (Kosher, Milk) in the Ghetto for fritti (fried things). There is also Piperno in the same neighborhood. For filetti di baccala' you might want to stop by Filettaro a S Barbara. though its past its prime, the atmosphere is nice. It is only open at dinner.

    4/30 - Rome
    - Lunch: Taverna dei Fori Imperiali in Monti near the Forum
    - Dinner: Checchino in Testaccio (nice to go back as many menu items change according to the season)

    - Lunch: Trattoria Settimio, Via del pellegrino near campo de Fiori, very good trattoria, ring the bell to be let in
    - Dinner: La Pergoal (r) Lucky you!

    Lunch: Casa Bleve for a phenomenal lunch buffet
    Dinner: Al Ceppo (though it is cucina marchegiana not Roman, you should consider making an exception)

    5 Replies
    1. re: katieparla

      katie, thanks for all of these great recommendations.

      i think i'll check out matteo or trianon for pizza. as for sit down meals, i think it'll be napoli mia and either ciro or da ciccioto. i'd lean toward da ciccioto but it's pretty far from my hotel in decumani. according to google it's more than a 20 minute drive away. how much would that cost to get there and would it be worth it?

      as for rome, taverna dei fori sounds fantastic. i love the forum and the capitoline is my favorite museum in rome. as for jewish, you like nonna betta and piperno better than paris?

      re: checchino, i'm leaning against it just because we were there last time and while it was good, i wasn't blown away. admittedly, i was completely jet lagged but i was expecting the pajata to change my life. it did not. the buon ricordo plate is very cool though!

      re: al ceppo, i'wasn't a huge fan of the food of marche. stayed 3 nights in urbino and i really don't remember too much of the food other than a disappointing truffle meal.

      1. re: fulminating

        da cicciotto could be more than a 20 min drive depending on traffic. i dont like to advocate adding to the traffic problem in naples, so save your cab fare and some petrol and go to ciro. if you staying in the historical center, you can even walk (via toledo, through chiaia, and along the lungomare should take 45 minutes but its a nice walk).

        I actually dont like Paris at all and would recommend Piperno instead. It is expensive though so if you want to have a more low key meal, Nonna betta is good (esp for fritti), thought since it is a milk kosher place you will not find any meat. piperno has roman jewish items on its menu but is not kosher.

        maybe instead of checchino you should try augustarello in testaccio. it is very reasonably priced and they have many similar dishes. the service is decidedly less formal and the dining room small so its a totally different experience.

        hope this is helpful!

        1. re: katieparla

          re: katieparla Paris
          Oh no, don't like Paris? I will be in Rome next week and had narrowed my list down to definitely include it. Could you provide more detail as to why?

          thanks so much

          1. re: katieparla

            Katie: Have you heard of a restaurant near the Naples Botanic Gardens named A Figlia do Marinero?

            Is Ciro Mergellina related to Ciro Santa Brigida? Any opinions on the latter?

            Many thanks!

        2. re: katieparla

          LOL, I had a nice meal at Taverna dei Fori Imperiali awhile back (v. tasty saltimbocca)and the waiter was wearing a Boston Red Sox t-shirt that a friend had just sent him. I'm from Boston and it tickled me so.

        3. Hi again!

          I spent 5 days in Amalfi last spring. I did not eat at La Caravella. (I believe this is a quite "fancy" restaurant and I usually seek out more casual places)

          But I did have two very good dinners at A Paranza in Atrani; perhaps you can have lunch there. You can walk from Amalfi in about 10 minutes.

          I wrote a report with more details:.

          The best food town in the area, based on my very limited experience, is Cetara.

          Where are you staying on the Amalfi Coast?

          1 Reply
          1. re: erica

            On the Amalfi Coast itinerary, I agree with Erica that Cetara is worth a detour, and that A Paranza is superb. Either of those options would be far superior to Cumpa Cosimo. They would also provide a lighter meal, probably more suitable for lunch. That said, I don't recall if A Paranza opens for lunch.

            For your open lunch in Amalfi, I would suggest Il Lido Azzurro, which is right on the water in the harbor, or Da Gemma, which is in the center of town, but has a nice terrace.

          2. a late lunch at da michelle is pretty good if you like pizza napoletana. i do. this is not a fancy place. just go with the flow and enjoy some of the best pizza in town and move on. maybe spend some time after your pizzas and beer watching the pizzaioli shaping and baking these pies. it's a lot of fun. still, this is nothing more than a pizza parlor and should not be treated liked a shrine or a museum.

            it's not the easiest place to find but a little diligence and a good map will get you there. it's worth it.

            1. It would be hard to go wrong with most of the places recommended and the food in Campania is wonderful. I cant tell whether you are moving from town to won every day in the Amalfi coast or what. Some of your choices are very expensive (ex Rossellini) some not. If you are in Ravello at lunchtime, Cumpa Cosimo is a good choice, if you are looking for an unpretentious meal and dont mind other tourists around the food is well made and not expensive. Its a lot of food, also - the folks are friendly and gave us a complimentary dessert. If you are staying in the town, you wont want much dinner after a meal there. You are probably not going to want to move from town to town simply for a meal. A Paranza is excellent in Atrani, very cordial, professional, more intimate and well priced, a short picturesque walk from Amalfi.I thnk Erica has posted extensively about it before.

              Ive posted on Naples before so you will find if youve done a search. Not much crudo to worry about in traditional neapolitan food, but I hope wife does not completely skip the wines, they are fascinating local grapes you wont see elsewhere.

              11 Replies
              1. re: jen kalb

                thanks all for the input on amalfi. we're spending two days in amalfi and three in sorrento but each day as a different area to explore, hence, amalfi, ravello, positano, capri, sorrento (or pompeii).

                the mix of restaurants is meant to try a combination of high and low. at the end of the day though, i just want to eat the best food. in my previous visit, i sometimes found that at the fancy and modern (osteria francescana) and other times its the humble but perfectly executed (osteria dell matto) and somewhere in between (trattoria della posta).

                looking at my amalfi sked, i might switch la caravella with A Paranza to go for something a bit simpler. ah, only so many calories to spend!

                1. re: fulminating

                  I know--it is a dilemma! Please keep in mind that A Paranza has no view. If you want a view in Amalfi and decide against La Caravella for any reason, you might consider MArina Grande which hangs over the main Amalfi beach.

                  There is also a modern, wine/food place within Amalfi town which seems to get lots of coverage; I did not have time to eat there, but it might be a good snack, small-plate place (as if you need MORE ideas...) Maccus is tucked away within the arched stairways (scalinatelle) of Amalfi...


                  1. re: erica

                    ah, too many choices. i just noticed that some of the thread participants live in nyc (as do i). given the restaurants that we discussed how would you liken them to nyc equivalents? i like analogies, so when we were discussing trattoria della posta in monforte d'alba, i'd say the closest equivalent in nyc would be a voce (when andrew carmellini was still there) while osteria francescana as an italian version of per se (ok, not exact, a heckuva lot cheaper, but the playfulness and technical proficiency are similar).

                    accordingly, i'd like to try any restaurant that are don't miss like lupa and convivio from the reliable but not special like max in east village. i'll pay to eat at sorrento's le bernardin but not at its version of tavern on the green!

                    1. re: fulminating

                      Now you have given us something to think about! I have not been to Sorrento in a very long time so do not know the restaurants there. In and around Amalfi you can rest assured; none of these places are akin to Tavern on the Green! Maybe A Paranza as Lupa but in a slightly less casual atmosphere. Interestingly, on Batali's website he mentions La Caravella, for "modern" food, and yet another restaurant, Da Zaccaria, which always looked deserted when we passed.

                      I see I have not answered any of the analogy questions! I will think about this and try to come up with a few. But I just want to emphasize that the food in that area is SO good that I can't imagine really messing up in selecting places to eat. The problem is that there is never enough time to sample all the places that merit a visit!

                      1. re: erica

                        A Paranza as Lupa? Foodwise maybe so but atmosphere and price wise no. It is civilized and casual but hardly any kind of a stylish scene - we were in there at lunch wearing our hiking shoes, having walked down the hill from Ravello) and quite inexpensive (SLowfood choices are) - Cumpo Cosimo is more chowhoundy than any of the types of restaurants you have noted in that it is friendly, homey (a little bit hokily so) and unpretentious -stuff like their veg apps and pasta (which you can order as samples of several) are very good - I dont know about the mains.
                        Rossellini did have a highly innnovative chef for a time but that changed - I dont know what the poop is on that now. On the Amalfi coast, there is so much delicious and relatively simple local ingredient-driven food to enjoy that unless you are going to be there for a while there is not such a need to reach ethereal heights, cost wise or otherwise. Or thats how it seems to me.

                        If you havent read Carla Capalbo's book on Naples and Campania you should do so, or look at the Pignataro website. they will give you a good flavor of the restaurants/chefs operating in the general area of the Amalfi coast and Sorrento. You might need are car to take a bus to get there, but as I recall it was possible to take a bus from Sorrento to the town where don Alfonso is, for example.

                        1. re: jen kalb

                          Oh, I never thought of Lupa as a stylish scene! Maybe because I've been there early in the evening! Cumpa Cosimo is really good but I don't think it is better than many other places that do not get as much press...I would not go to Ravello to eat there but I certainly would return if I was in Ravello. Unfortunately almost all of our fellow diners there were English-speaking tourists. But the food is good, honest, local fare made with products from the owner's farm in nearby Scala--you can't get more CH-ey than that, I agree!!

                          I can't really make any more comparisons...I think this area is so good for food that it would be pretty difficult to get a bad meal. An overpriced meal, perhaps, but bad food would take some searching, in my opinion..

                          1. re: erica

                            We were staying in Ravello (where there are relatively few eating options) and went to CC with low expectations because of the tourists - they definitely do go there in droves - but we were won over totally by the quality of the food and the reasonableness. If you cant get over hearing dumb sounding english speaking tourist (we can have a hard time with this ourselves) this may not be the place for you, but you will have missed something. this region's food is so delicious - I had one of my best meals of the same trip in Pompeii town at a cavernous restaurant with a strolling musician and, when I was there only a few tables of foreigners in the whole place but it was wonderful, wonderful food.

                            1. re: jen kalb

                              So true! I was also leery of MarinaGrande because I thought since it was right on the beach it would not have the great food that some hidden spot would have. Wrong!

                              I do wish, though, I had had the time to go up to Agerola or Pogerola and try a few places there. I imagine that there are all kinds of good places up in those hills.

                              I wonder about this SlowFood place, for example:


                              1. re: erica

                                it's very encouraging that the consensus is that you can't eat bad food in the area. that's very different than rome or venice where you can easily eat at a terrible tourist trap/disinterested restaurant.

                                anyway, still have the reservation at rossellini's because the food combined with the view at dinner is supposed to be amazing. that's something i normally don't care about but given ravello's views, i'm leaning towards it.

                                oh and a paranza should be open for lunch.

                                now, still need to figure out where to eat in capri (hopefully with a nice view).

                                1. re: fulminating

                                  Yes, and you need to choose well because I may be following you to Capri in September!!!

                    2. re: erica

                      I second Marina Grande. Had lunch there twice last summer. Great seafood, reasonable prices (by Amalfi Coast standards) and lovely service. 180 degree view of the beach. Also, lots of table on the patio that provide shade from the beating noon sun. Can't go wrong.