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Aug 27, 2009 08:54 AM

Quattro Passi or Taverna del Capitano?

Calling all Amalfi Coast connoisseurs! I'm hoping you can help me decide between these two really fantastic sounding restaurants in Massa Lubrense: Quattro Passi or Taverna del Capitano?

From what I've read, Taverna del Capitano sounds slightly more upscale (2 Michelin stars) with more innovative flavor combinations and a more contemporary approach to Italian cuisine, using the local bounty. Quattro Passi sounds a little more "slow food," and more traditional without being stuffy, but still with beautiful presentation (1 Michelin star). We are staying far enough away from Massa Lubrense (between Positano and Praiano) that we can only do one. Both get praise from Batali on the Babbo website, as well as Luciano Pignataro's site. So all fluff aside, which one is the most delicious!?

Also, unrelated question: how dressy do you have to be at either of these? We plan to hike around a lot and might consider doing a Sunflower Guide walk down to Nerano to visit one of these. Is that a very bad idea? I can go to a 1 star restaurant in NYC in what I'd hike around in, no problem (no trainers, no fanny packs; lots of black, motorcycle boots), but definitely not a 2 or 3 star. I'm hoping the coast is casual given all the tourists.

We also plan to try to hit:
Stuzzichino (Massa Lubrense)
Acquapazza (Cetara)
Al Convento (Cetara)
A Paranza (Atrani)
Cumpa Cosimo (Ravello)
Maccus or Lido Azzuro (Amalfi)
Il Ritrovo and maybe Donna Rosa (Montepertuso)
Barilotto di Nonno (outside Positano)
and maybe a few spots in Positano

Grazie mille!

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  1. Oh, my God; between Quattro Passi of Mennillo and Taverna del Capitano of Caruso , , , flip a coin !!!
    It is one of the happiest of problems in the world and you feel lucky to have to solve it.
    Don't worry about dress, especially at Quattro Passi.
    Very good choices also the other restaurants:
    Stuzzichino at Sant'Agata is delightful and when you meet Mimmo, use my name "Vincenzo D'Antonio" for an extraordinary welcome and at the end of the meal go to the bar of his brother Peppe, few steps, for a gorgeous "delizia al limone".
    About Acquapazza di Cetara, oh my God it is a must and do not miss it.
    Anyway, with this same name, but nothing to do with each other, there is a very good restaurant in Piano di Sorrento and there also, with Geppi and his sister Fanny, you will use my name, if you want.
    In Montepertuso between Donna Rosa and Il Ritrovo, I recommend Il Ritrovo.
    Feel free to ask me more about Amalfi Coast and Penisola Sorrentina.


    1 Reply
    1. re: vidanto

      Thank you -- yes I'm afraid it may very well come down to a flip of the coin! Glad to hear you prefer Il Ritrovo over Donna Rosa; I had been leaning that way as well.

    2. Some years ago I wrote an article on restaurants around the Bay of Naples, including these two. If you can find it (NY Times travel section, Maureen B. Fant), you may get a picture of what the two are like. Since then, Capitano has earned its second star and become more innovative. We haven't been back, but are very eager to. The Caputo family is delightful. After I wrote the piece, we returned several times to the Captain, but never to Quattro Passi, which, despite some very good food, just left us cold.

      1 Reply
      1. re: mbfant

        Thanks! Capitano really glows in your review. Here's the link for any future travelers with similar questions:
        It includes your write up of Il Principe, which I'd seen before. I'm very tempted to try it for the Roman preparations, but I'm not sure a dusty, sweaty day at Pompeii will leave us in the state for such an elegant place. Then again, we probably wouldn't be the first to try such a thing.