Florence Highs: -- Staying at JK Place, Florence's ultimate boutique…
Just like the Beatles, Smith gets by with a little help from our friends. Our recent rummage through the Italian kitchen with gourmet gurus Dean & DeLuca wouldn’t have been possible without a discerning smatter of Smith informants. One such secret-sharer is Samuel Porreca, who mans the good ship JK Place Capri; a whiter-than-white sunspot overlooking the limitless ocean. He recommended so many ravishing restaurants, we thought we’d reward him with a blog post all of his own. So, if you’re wondering where to eat out on this enticing island, what to order when you get there and where to dance off the linguine and limoncello, simply read Samuel’s wise words below…
PS: Our Global Gourmet giveaway – a five-night foodie break in two of our Tuscan rural retreats, along with a hamper stocked with Italian treats selected by Dean & DeLuca – is still up for grabs for US residents (sorry non-StatesSmiths). Register before 9 July for a chance to win.
So Samuel, we’ve landed in Capri, we’ve dropped off our luggage and our thoughts have turned to dinner. Where do you suggest? One of my favourite places is Aurora (+39 081 8370181) at 18-20 Via Fuorlovado. Like many restaurants in Capri, its walls are dotted with pictures of the celebrities that have been lured in and there’s a great ambience. Space is limited but the food is excellent and the service very friendly. Mrs Lucia, the owner, will help you with your choices. Try the pezzogna al forno con patate (blue-spotted bream baked with potatoes). Simply delicious!
Have any new restaurants been causing a stir on the island? A new entry among the classic restaurants on the island is Edodè (+39 081 8388252). It’s located in a leafy green spot on the shopping street of Via Camerelle. Be sure to ask for a table in the cabanas outside if you fancy a romantic tête-à-tête. Food is very good, especially the Edodè Special appetizers – seven or eight small starters (make sure you are hungry enough!) For dessert, try the cream cheese with almonds. Service is impeccable; young, friendly and professional staff managed by maître d’ Franco. This guy is witty and professional and his memory is famous. Ask him about any football team that has played against Italy in any world championships over the last 50 years and he will have all the answers!
We’re sick of bland pizza houses that bluff their way through bread-making. Where can we taste Capri’s masterful version? The island’s best pizza is served up at L’Approdo (+39 081 8378990) in the heart of the harbour in Ferraro Marina Grande. The pizza is over the top (in a good way!) and Monica, the lovely owner, will make your evening even nicer. The seafood is delicious – try the fried calamari and shrimps. After dessert ask for a glass of home-made finocchietto (like limoncello, but made with fennel – a great digestive).
If love is in the air, where can we dine with romance? Take a sunset boat from Capri to Nerano and have a romantic dinner at La Conca del Sogno (+39 081 8081036) at 9 Via San Marciano. It’s a lovely, casual restaurant with excellent food. The boat ride at night is really something. Check to see when there’s a full moon and go then if you can – it will be a unique night.
Sigh. (Sorry, the romance was too much – I swooned.) Which restaurant is best for traditional Caprese dining? Da Gelsomina (+39 081 8371499) at 72 Via Migliara in Anacapri has an amazing location: a panoramic position called La Migliera, set amid Mediterranean greenery and an old vineyard. You have to call the restaurant when you arrive and staff will pick you up in a typical small Vanette and drive you up the narrow country road. Da Gelsomina is a small family-run hotel with a swimming pool, amazing views and delicious home-made pasta. According to local legend, over 50 years ago the raviolo Caprese, stuffed with local cheese, lemon and served with tomato and basil, was created by Gelsomina. Today her granddaughter (also Gelsomina) continues the tradition. The fish is fresh and the chickens are from their farm. The wines are home-made and the puddings and cakes are amazing! Dine early so you can enjoy the sunset.
Blimey, we’ve put on a few stone just reading about these restaurants. It’s time to shift some pounds – where should we go swimming? Club Nettuno (+39 081 8371362) is a beach club on top of the Blue Grotto. It’s not very easy to reach by road – you need to take the bus from Capri to Anacapri and then take a bus to Grotta Azzurra (this takes about 30 minutes). Alternatively get a boat taxi from the harbour – the boat ride takes about 15 minutes. La Fontelina (+39 081 8370845) is one of the island’s most famous beach clubs, located on the opposite side of Capri in front of the famous Faraglioni rocks. The club’s restaurant is very good (though perhaps slightly overrated) but it’s worth a visit for the views alone.
We still feel fat. Where can we swim in seclusion? My top tip for swimming in Capri is to take a gozzo – an island tour on a private wooden boat. This way, you can stop anywhere and swim in the best places.
Excellent. Before we reluctantly check-in for the flight home, is there anything else we should cram in to our stay (non-foodie please, we want the plane to take off). A visit to Anacapri and a ride on the chairlift to Monte Solaro is a must. The chairlift is great fun and if the sky is clear, you will be able to see also the island of Ponza (over 60 miles away) from the highest point. It’s really breath-taking, just remember to check your camera batteries before lift-off!
Wow, thank you Samuel. Diet, schmiet. Now all we need are some loose-waisted trousers and two tickets to Capri…
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