Looking for Amalfi Coast restaurants? Want to know where to eat in Minori? Local chef Gennaro Contaldo shares his insider tips for the best restaurants along the Amalfi Coast, along with where to find the best pasta, pizza and espresso.
Agriturismo Villa Maria, Minori – for local cuisine
It’s a bit of a hike but if you book a table at this farmhouse, above Minori [the tiny town Gennaro grew-up in], the owner, Vincenzo, can pick you up from the centre of Minori. All the produce is home-grown and cooked by Vincenzo’s wife, Maria. The couple’s homemade hams and salami are a delight, as is their own wine. There aren’t many tables, so it’s best to book in advance. And if you do decide to hike up to it, you’ll be rewarded with pretty views of the bay and excellent food.
The agriturismo is surrounded by an ancient, fragrant lemon grove. There’s a vegetable garden, olive trees and vines to admire, and six country-style, pastel-hued bedrooms to book if you want to stay over, all with lemon-framed terraces.
Giardiniello, Minori – for lunch
Gennaro grew up eating at family-run Giardiniello , in the centre of Minori (it opened in 1955) – the owners, brothers Tonino and Giovanni, are family friends – and you can expect excellent fish dishes made with produce caught that day, handmade pasta and pizza, and a warm welcome from Tonino and Giovanni.
In the warmer months there’s even more reason to visit; sit and eat fried anchovies stuffed with smoked mozzarella, lemony seafood salad, spaghetti alle vongole, and grilled local octopus outside in the garden, under a canopy of bright green foliage.
Pasticceria Andrea Pansa, Amalfi – for espresso
Everywhere in Italy is pretty great at making an espresso but, for a little elegance and an yesteryears vibe, head to Pansa, in Amalfi’s main square, next to the steps of Amalfi Cathedral. Try one of its delicious pastries to-go with your espresso. Gennaro also recommends the hot chocolate.
The pasticceria was opened in 1830 by its namesake, Andrea Pansa, and still retains its 19th-century interior, gleaming with gilded mirrors. Try chocolate-dipped lemon and orange peel, or a babà – a Neapolitan speciality that sees a mushroom-shaped sponge cake soaked in citrusy rum syrup, then glazed with jam. Delicious with a short-and-strong espresso.
Torre Normana, Maiori – for a romantic meal
This Maiori restaurant used to be an old Norman look-out tower (it was built between 1250 and 1300), so it’s set high in the hills with beautiful views of the Mediterranean. With excellent food and impeccable service it’s the perfect place to woo your loved one over a long, leisurely dinner.
Torre Normana is run by four brothers and local ingredients come from their on-site garden, as well as from neighbouring farms, local vineyards and the sea below. Try the restaurant’s signature seafood risotto, handmade ricotta dumplings in an anchovy, hazelnut and walnut sauce, or ravioli stuffed with lemony buffalo ricotta cheese in a butter and mint sauce. To go with it, order a bottle of the restaurant’s own wine, which is made from grapes grown at Vigna Traversa on a hillside outside nearby Ravello.
Sal de Riso, Minori – for a drink
This pasticceria is near the seafront in Minori and is great for an aperitivo and cocktails. You can people-watch while sipping on a spritz or negroni, and enjoy delicious nibbles to accompany your drink.
If you’ve time to linger, order a slice of ricotta and pear cake, made with Giffoni hazelnuts. Panettone comes with limoncello cream, and the Grandfather Antonio sorbet (it’s served in a hollowed lemon and has a sharp lemon flavour) is the thing to order when the sun is shining. To drink, there are more than 10 local liqueurs to choose from, including versions made from wild Amalfi fennel seeds, mandarins and, of course, Sfusato – the lemon variety so typical to the Amalfi Coast.
Ristorante Donna Rosa, Positano – for pasta
A 20-minute uphill drive from the sizzling cliffside village of Positano, Ristorante Donna Rosa is a countryside trattoria run by the Villani sisters, Rosida (front of house) and Erika (chef), while Papá Vincenzo (the father of the family) is in charge of a 400-strong wine list. With a little help from her mother, Mamma Raffaella, Erika makes amazing fresh pasta – order the caramelle di aragosta (little tortellini parcels filled with Amalfi lobster).
Other must-trys include tubettoni with squid and potatoes, spaghetti tossed with garlic, olive oil and salted anchovies, and turbot served with fine slices of homegrown potatoes. Book ahead to try and guarantee one of the two outside tables – the tiny terrace has unrivalled views of Positano and the glittering Mediterranean beyond.
Giuliana’s View, Ravello – for pizza
This pizzeria is a little way outside the centre of Ravello but it’s well worth the trip for its amazing views (you’re sitting in the clouds, high above the coast), delicious wood-fired oven pizzas with blistered crusts, and casual, family-friendly vibe. Pizza toppings make the most of homegrown vegetables, local cheeses (including provolone del Monaco) and cured sausage.
Giuliana’s View also serves as a b&b; its three sunny bedrooms (one suitable for families) all make the most of those pristine views and guests can wake up to a breakfast of croissants and coffee on the terrace outside.
Gelateria Buca di Bacco, Positano – for ice cream
Visit Gelateria Buca di Bacco in Positano for artisan ice cream in delicious local flavours – my favourite is the sfogliatella, inspired by the shell-shaped pastries that you find all over Campania. It’s right next to the beach and the gelato is made fresh every day. Pistachio, coconut, coffee and chocolate chip are all popular, and vegans will love the dark chocolate sorbet with candied orange pieces. You get plenty of ice cream for your money, but remember to pay at the counter first before picking your flavours.
Aqua Pazza, Cetara – for seafood
Aqua Pazza, in the quaint coastal village of Cetara, is a simple fish restaurant that serves the freshest fish and seafood. It’s famous for its anchovies, which are the best along the whole Amalfi Coast, and it’s a great place to try Colatura di Alci, an amber-coloured fish sauce made by ageing Gulf of Salerno anchovies in chestnut barrels. Try it tossed with fresh spaghetti, then buy a bottle to take home.
The focus is firmly on excellent ingredients at Aqua Pazza, served simply and quickly. Seared fresh fish might come with riced potato, olive oil and grated tuna bottarga, and a reimagined pasta alla genovese adds tuna to the pesto and potato mix. Be kind and chances are you’ll get a complimentary bag of fresh Amalfi lemons to take home, or a limoncello at the end of your dinner.
Where to stay on the Amalfi Coast – Hotel Botanico San Lazzaro, Maiori
Donna Clelia restaurant, at the five-star Hotel Botanico San Lazzaro, in Maiori’s oldest quarter, San Lazzaro, juts from the cliffside as if suspended between sky and sea. This creates an infinity effect, with outside tables at the restaurant appearing almost at one with the horizon. You reach the restaurant via a glass funicular so the journey is always a memorable one but, if you happen to be there during a special festival like Ferragosto (celebrated on 15 August across Italy), it’s even more spectacular, with views of fireworks.
Marvel at the views over a pizza, or a plate of lobster and chilli pasta, then stay over in one of the hotel’s 19 bedrooms – all come with sea views, Vietri terracotta tiles and hand-decorated furniture. There’s also an impressive garden in the grounds, featuring giant cacti and spindly succulents.
Italian chef and restaurateur, Gennaro Contaldo, is the brand ambassador for leading Italian holiday specialist, Citalia. For more information please visit citalia.com
Listen to our podcast with Gennaro Contaldo here: