Dear Friends & Readers,
Capri is one of the most charming and naturally beautiful places in the world. I visited as a kid but the real love story began in 2006 when I spent a weekend with my then boyfriend (who would eventually become the Pirate). The Mermaid Island is associated to so many great memories: swimming in the blue sea, eating great food, feeling the vibe of the dolce vita, and plenty of shopping, of course. We even had a painting of our favorite place shipped to New York! Even when I mediate I think of the island as my peaceful place. This year many things have changed and it’s time to update the CityProfile I posted years ago with some new finds that you will surely enjoy.
Restaurants in Capri
This restaurant took over a place that is near and dear to my hearty as it is the previous location of Da Gemma. The latter closed last year and Mamma‘ opened this summer few weeks before we arrived. First I should tell you that the space doesn’t resemble Da Gemma at all. The improvement is more than a face lift: it’s a change in the style, decor and target customers. Gone are the checkered table cloths and the guitar players. Mamma’ features a sexy white & blue Mediterranean Decor: candles, comfortable seating and a breathtaking view contribute to the experience and don’t distract from the food. Ah, yeah, the food, I almost forgot about that (just kidding). Mamma’s chef is Gennaro Esposito. The name may sound like a very Neapolitan name and may not be particularly telling to the American public, but in Campania (and in the rest of Italy) he is very well known especially for his other restaurant near Sorrento Torre del Saracino (highly recommended too. The pictures below shows you our picks! Everything from the zucchini soup to the stuffed calamari and fried seafood was delicious: it was a great meal with a wonderful ambiance. A very pleasant surprise since we were planning on having a traditional diner and we had an innovative and tasty meal in a hot new restaurant.
When we travel we go where the locals go and eat where the locals eat. We have two friends in Capri, Paola and Mario, who are the unofficial mayor and first lady of Capri. We go where they go…. and let them order what they think it’s best. That’s how we found il Geranio, nested on top of Via Krupp and overlooking Augustus Gardens and the Faraglioni. It’s a new restaurant in a wonderful location, you can’t beat the natural beauty of the view! The food is equally stunning. Our friends ordered a seafood appetizer and some pasta dishes. But first the chef has a present for us, something that is not on the menu, baby meatballs flavored with lemon zest. I enjoy my meatballs like just about any other Italian girls but they set a very high standard for the whol meal – they were delicious. I think I might have rolled downhill from il Geranio because I was so full, but I definitely recommend a visit!
If you live in the US and have been exposed to the Food Network, the Cooking Channel, Fox, Bravo and BBC (not to mention Lydia on PBS of course) you know many celebrity chefs and the name Gianfranco Vissani won’t tell you much. If you were brought up in Italy, like me you have seen this tall and big man on television since you were a teenager. Gianfranco Vissani is the quintessential Italian Celebrity Chef: his public persona is knowledgeable and fun, he doesn’t scream like Gordon Ramsay or makes mean comments like Joe Bastianich. His approach to food is traditional yet very creative as you can see from the pictures below. We went to L’Altro Vissani twice during our stay in Capri and LOVED the rustic Mediterranean ambiance with wooden accents and a whimsical decor. As you enter the restaurant you can see the chefs at work in the kitchen through a glass window. The feeling is that you just entered a cool house party: it’s cozy and fun and you’ll end up making friends with the people sitting at the tables next to you. We really loved the prompt and efficient service: all the front of the house staff is friendly, knowledgeable and adds more warmth to the already familiar environment, especially Giusy who is a local and gave us pointers on the view from our table and made our meals a rela joy. Vissani the Chef is as charming and fun as Vissani the person, who we had the pleasure to meet at the restaurant. The food is imaginative and creative: Kurt loved the sushi and carpaccio, perfectly prepared like in an upscale Japanese restaurant; I loved all the rest from the seafood salad and the curried parmigiana to the delicious pasta and the cod. I should also mention to leave PLENTY of room for dessert. The pastry chef is a really talented man who gives a cool new spin to traditional desserts. Don’t take my word for it, taste the chocolate mousse and you’ll see it for yourself. If you go to Capri and you don’t visit this restaurant you will be missing out on a great experience.