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Sep 7, 2009 08:11 AM

Positano/Amalfi Coast -- Where do I eat? Where do I stay? Please point me to greatness!

I am planning 7 days in the Amalfi Coast with my boyfriend in early October. All the options from guide books are overwhelming and I am turning to Chowhound to get the advice of travelers that I can trust! I was thinking of staying in Positano most of the time, but then maybe Sorrento or Ravello for a few nights. Where will we have the most mouth watering meals? Il San Pietro and Sirenuse seem to be the most beautiful hotels, but a bit out of our budget at 650 + a night. Has anyone stayed or dined at Poseiden, Merincanto, Hotel Murat, or Villa Rose? I appreciate all your advice! Thanks!

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  1. Have you read the many reports about the area that have been posted here? I wrote at least one after my trip last year, and there are many others. Personally, I like Amalfi much better than Positano, but all of the towns are lovely. Sorrento is not actually on the Amalfi Coast and is quite a bit larger than the other places you mention.

    1. Take the boat to Procida and walk out to Scarabeo on Via Salette to dine under a wonderous lemon arbor to sample this delightful, low key island, the home of lemoncello.

      4 Replies
      1. re: glbtrtr

        Ok ... it seems everyone is exhausted from summer traveling, but I will take a crack at answering your question. Go to Positano, and stay at the Marincanto and spend every single day going around to neighboring beaches, towns, islands to experience some VERY exceptional tastes with some of the most gorgeous views. The Marincanto does not serve lunch or dinner, but the breakfast is great (with great cappucino) and you can walk to some LOVELY restaurants from there, and it is mere steps from the bus route that will take you to all the rest. If you are budget minded and want to see some gorgeous views while dining, head up to Nocelle (village in the mountain above Positano) and go to Ristorante San Croce -- very homey italian food with the most gorgeous views in the world (great for lunch or dinner!). For a rustic experience, have the hotel concierge make reservations at La Tagliata -- up in the mountain, where they will send a driver (tip him a euro or two) for a family style dinner (35euros per person including wine) that is about 6 courses long with all kinds of tastes -- seriously, they serve you about 30 different plates of items to taste! For my favorite homemade & very casual dining in Positano, walk (about 20 minutes) to Il Fornillo or take the bus around town and have them drop you off at the Fornillo grotto -- tell Margarita that Peggy sent you for Gnocchi and margherita pizza and spaghetti carbonara (to share) and a view that is lovely off the patio dining area ... another day, take the ferry to Amalfi, and we did not eat there, but it is a beautiful village in a great setting on the sea. You should search the listings on this board as there are Amalfi restaurant choices that I will definite try my next trip. We took the bus up to Ravello in the morning, enjoyed a look around during an outdoor music concert at Villa Ruffolo(sp??) and then had lunch at Da Vittoria ... right off the main Piazza ... they have a fancier restaurant next door, and a pizzeria side by side, but the lunch specials are made by the same folks and they were WONDERFUL. From there, we walked down from Ravello to Minori (another really quaint village) about two hours (to work off our Caprese Salad and Pizza Margherita and pasta from Da Vittoria) and had a swim in the sea at Minori. Two trips ago, we took the ferry from Positano to Capri in the morning, returning on the 3pm ferry ... the Capri village square (at the top) is really great, and we rewarded ourselves after walking up to the top (you can take a taxi) with lunch at a restaurant on one of the out-of the way, winding back passages away from the square ... can't remember the name, but the pasta and salads were great. The weather was too windy to see the Blue Grottoes when we were there, but Capri is something to see. A little fancy and expensive in some parts, but some people have reported that all the "day trippers" leave at night so it might be a nice place to overnight. We prefer to settle in one spot and venture out each day!! For a splurge night -- meaning, only slightly more expensive, back in Positano, we had our hotel call the Il Ritrovo up in Montepertuso (another village up in the mountain) and the food there was very good ... a bit more composed, fancier salads and antipasti, ravioli with interesting ingredients, but still homey enough to serve all tables with bruschetta the night we were there. Twice, we had drinks on the patio of the Sirenuse hotel (once while staying there, but you don't have to stay to enjoy the "happy hour") and it was a thrilling view. We did not dine there because a friend reported he was unhappy with the food, especially at the prices they charge. We like to eat out with a beautiful view, and after all, Positano is all about the gorgeous view, but we ate one rainy lunch at Max's ... near the Lemon Lady Shop in Positano, which has no view, but a great selection of wines and grilled items. Our last trip to Positano, on our last night, when we were going to blow the budget and do whatever, we chose to return to IL Fornillo for more of that great Gnocchi and Pasta Bolognese because the relaxed, casual, homey atmosphere appealed to us and we were welcomed like family! Try some of these tips and I promise you, you will dream of returning for many years after this trip! Ciao! Peggy

        1. re: PeggyD

          thanks Peggy for taking it for the team. In addition to the above Id suggest cumpa cosimo in ravello, very casual and tasty, friendly place and A'Paranza in Atrani, adjoining Amalfi. Eat pezzogna, an excellent fish, if you get a chance.

          1. re: PeggyD

            Thank you, Peggy! That is exactly the hotel I wanted to hear more about. I very much appreciate you taking the time to highlight these wonderful sights and flavors of the region. And to go into such great detail! Much appreciated!!!! I will report in when we return mid October. Also, thank you, Jen, Erica, and Glbtrtr.

            1. re: DolceVitaNYC

              You are most welcome ... thanks to this site, which I discovered before my first trip to Italy in early 2008 ... I now have a group of Italy foodies that I follow and I have learned that if I search the reports of CJT, Zerlina, MBFant, JenKalb, JoeH, SteveG, Erica and RomeAddict, I will sooooo happy with my selections, and not waste a lot of money -- thus, there is good incentive (and some euros left over) to begin planning the next trip. You will love the Marincanto ... ask for the last room on the right on the 2nd floor (facing the sea, of course) and you will have a view that rivals all at the Le Sirenuse (I have stayed there too, but in the off season) and at Marincanto, you will pay about 1/5 of the price. Please go to some of the spots I mention, as now I am adding a few that I heard from Jen Kalb to my list for Ravello next time, and Erica went to Atrani (small village with great food further down the coast) which I also will not miss. Toast us and report in ... we'll be thinking about you on your glorious trip ... and if you ever go anywhere in the world where the view and the weather and the people impress you more than on the Amalfi coast, write me and I will go there next ... in the meantime, I am planning my next (4th) trip for next summer!! Ciao!! Peggy

        2. For slow food restaurants & Trattoria in and around the Amalfi Coast I wrote this list few weeks ago:

          I'd love your feedback.
          Nancy Aiello

          4 Replies
          1. re: ItalyTravelista

            Recently used SlowFoods in Naples and found La Chittarra to be extremely mediocre, boring and expensive, total waste of money. Don't understand why it ever got included in this guide. Starita in Materdei proved to be the better choice for pizza and it not listed at all, but thanks to a chowhounder we were sent in the right direction. Toledo was closed in August so can't report on that. Ones we missed but wish we hadn't were Mimi al Ferrovia and Europeo which consistently get good reviews.

            We loved Scarabeo on the tiny and highly picturesque island of Procida which for us was a far better Naples Bay island choice than the more heavily touristed Capri or Ischia.

            The Deucumani du Charme Hotel right off the Spacconapoli put us right in the middle of some of the best dining choices in the city, but unfortunately was also just a block or so way from the very disappointing La Chitarra, but remains a wonderful central place for a lot of close by recommended restaurant samplings.


            1. re: ItalyTravelista

              All I get when I click on the names on your site are links to a few SlowFood places in or near Naples--where are your comments on the Amalfi Coast restaurants?

              1. re: erica

                there are ones for Agerola and sorrento there...but the rest are elswhere in the bay of naples area.

                1. re: erica

                  Buongiorno Erica,
                  What I posted is about restaurants in and around the Amalfi coast which I was about to update with new entries but I didn't have the time.
                  -La Terrazza del Cardinale Amalfi, amazing view, good seafood & Local wines.
                  -Donna Rosa, Positano, very good seafood.
                  -La Brace, Praiano, Excellent Spaghetti with anchovies and Tuna Caponata.
                  -Trattoria da Lorenzo, Scala, all kinds of very fresh seafood.

                  Hope you'll enjoy these restaurants.
                  Nancy Aiello