Positano Review - 5 nights (Super long review...)
Hi All - After reading through all the posts and recommendations, I wanted to share my experiences after returning from our recent trip to Positano for 5 nights and Capri for 4 nights (will post a separate review on Capri).
I've included the prices where I wrote them down but note that all our meals included one bottle of local Campania wine (usualy €25-30), bottle of water, usually 2 appies, 2 mains, grappa appertif, and espresso macchiato so you might want to take that into consideration when looking at the total price. And YES - we ate TONS of food and it was all fabulous.
Sat lunch & Tues dinner - Da Vincenzo, our favourite restaurant in Positano and we liked it so much that we returned for dinner on our last night. Be sure to book in advance for dinner and if you want to sit outside, request this at time of reservation. Our favourite dishes here were the grilled & skewed octopus with whole deep fried artichoke, the local flag fish grilled with olive oil, lemon & parsley, and the chocolate almond cake (best we had was here) and even better was the tiramisu. Do NOT miss the tiramisu, I wouldn't have ordered it except the two locals behind us were practically licking their bowl and seeing their faces convinced me I should try it and I was not disappointed. To be honest, I preferred going for lunch, it was much less busy. But if you like a busy buzz and a show by live musicians that come by to play (and ask for donations), this is definitely a very popular spot. Lunch €130, Dinner €140, Score 10/10
Sat dinner - Drinks at Hotel San Pietro, Dinner at Taverna del Leone - We had originally wanted to go to Barilotto di Nonno but unfortunately it wasn't open yet for the season so the hotel recommended Taverna. I HIGHLY recommend going for drinks at San Pietro before the short walk to either Barilotto (if open when you go) or Taverna. The setting at the hotel terrace is simply stunning and the best I saw while I was there. The restaurant is a short 5 minute walk away up the road. We had the octopus salad with potatoes & olives (our fav octopus dish of the trip), thinly sliced ham with grilled veggies appie (ham was v. good), and we shared a Diavalo pizza with salami. The hotel staff told us this was the *best* pizza in Positano - I don't know if this is true but it was indeed a very tasty pizza with a nice thin crust & fluffy edges. No complaints, lovely restaurant, and a good option for a "lighter" dinner. Think the bill was < €90 including wine, Score 8.5/10
Sun lunch - Da Gemma in Amalfi. Beautiful lovely restaurant on the 2nd level overlooking the busy square traffic. We sat out on the terrace (tip: ask your hotel to make a reservation whereever you go. Even though it's not usually necessary at lunch, they reserve the best tables for you.). The highlight of this meal was the "Paccheri pasta alla Genovese" which was their house specialty pasta with slow braised beef and the "O limone" dessert which was a platter of various lemon treats: lemon crepe, super intense lemon sorbet, lemon roll cake. I also had the grilled blue fin tuna which I thought was good and my husband had the grilled sea bass but we both agreed that neither dish was good as the grilled fish at Da Vincenzo. We scored this 8/10.
Sun dinner - Il Ritrovo (Montepertuso). The hotel shuttle will pick and drop you off at your hotel. I started with the Caprese salad and quickly learned that unless the menu specifically states buffalo mozzarella, the cheese is made from cow's milk which is a much leaner version. Also good but I didn't know the difference until I read up about it (rookie!) and I personally prefer buffalo mozzarella. My husband's pasta was a hit - it was the special pasta of the day with smooked cheese, sausage and mushrooms. The sauce was tomato based with a wonderful smokiness and slight gooeyness from the cheese - absolutely delish. We shared the Florentina steak as it was the first time we'd seen it on the menu anywhere since we were in Tuscany. Meat was very good but overcooked - we had asked for it bloody and it came medium. Don't miss the ricotta cheesecake, it was divine and the only place we saw that offered it. €100, Score 7.5/10.
Mon lunch - Lo Gauroccino. This was an overall good restaurant, it has a beautiful view overlooking Il Fornillo beach and it had a nice family feel to it with its resident cat, Naomi. Again, we had octopus salad (clearly we love it), scialattielli Guarracino (home made pasta with seafood), spaghetti vongole, and the capricciosa pizza. The pasta and pizza was very good - I preferred the pizza at Taverna del Leone but this was just a step behind. We shared the lemon tiramisu for dessert which I wouldn't recommend. I would come here for a casual lunch over dinner. €85, Score 7/10
Mon dinner - Il Fornillo. A huge dinner: Saute misto (clams & mussels in garlic & parsley), spaghetti with cherry tomato and capers, gnocchi with seafood, veal escalope with lemon, deep fried zucchini flowers, side dish of spinach with lemon, and finally ricotta cheese with pear & chocolate cake. The portions were HUGE, almost too large but that may not bother you. I loved my gnocchi which were deceptively light but the dish probably could have fed 4 people. The spaghetti was amazing, the tomato sauce rich and worthy of sopping up with the bread. Do NOT miss the zucchni flowers, I didn't want to get this dish as I don't like deep fried foods but the waiter insisted it shouldn't be missed and I agree. The batter was light, fluffy and super crispy and would rival the tempura batter at any top Japanese restaurant. Also the ricotta with pear & chocolate cake was the best we had during our time there, clearly home-made with a lot of love. €100, Score 8/10 (I docked a .5 for portions!)
Tues lunch - La Cambusa. Started with the carpaccio of local fish which was one of my favourite dishes of the trip. It came sliced thinly with soya sauce and wasabi and I was in heaven. It was amazingly fresh and delicate. Half the people around me ordered the same dish once they saw it coming to my table. The waiter recommended the special of the day which was a spaghetti with local lobster (300 grams) for €60. My husband decided to try it and we actually thought this was the most disappointing pasta dish we had. The lobster was perfectly cooked but the pasta was actually not al dente, the first and only time this happened to us during our entire trip. I had the grilled local fish called "occhione" which I admit that I didn't like. It had waaaaay too many bones in it and the waiter missed a lot of scales plus I personally didn't love the flavour. We finished with the pear & ricotta cake hoping for a repeat of the previous night but it was disappointing. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the carpaccio and feel maybe we didn't order the right dishes. €200, Score 6.5/10
Tues dinner - Drinks at Le Sireneuse (was nice but not as nice as San Pietro) and then we walked back to Da Vincenzo. Positano was gorgeous and if you have any questions, let me know. And yes, we went to the gym every day we were there otherwise we would have floated to Capri!
Thanks for the report! I do have a question - we will be in Positano in September to celebrate a friend's birthday (round number, important.) She wants pizza and champagne. Do you think Taverna del Leone would be a good place for a birthday celebration?
She travels often and I am not sure if she really MUST have champagne or if prosecco will do - but if you remember any French champagne on the menu, do let me know.
I do think Taverna del Leone would be a good place for a bday celebration as it was casual but still had nice white tablecloths and a warm atmosphere. They do have outside seating which is along the road - if you want to sit outside, do request this during your reservation. I don't know if there was champage on the menu as my husband always ordered the wine but you could call and ask? As an alternative, I can't recommend enough going to Hotel San Pietro beforehand for celebratory drinks and I had a gorgeous rose champagne there (they had many varieties so you won't be limited for choices). It's an unbelievably beautiful spot for great pictures to capture the celebration and just a short walk from the restaurant.