Category Archives: Wine and Dine

L’Orangerie Restaurant

excelsior-vittoria-orangerie

A touch of Magic at the Excelsior Vittoria

Perhaps it’s a special occasion or the last night of the vacation and you would like somewhere very special to wine and dine. So consider this recommendation.

On the main square, Piazza Tasso, there is a wisteria covered entrance to the 5* Grand Excelsior Vittoria Hotel with its long pathway tempting visitors with a glimpse of hidden treasure at the end. A treasure under the watchful eye of the gateman.

In the hotel’s secluded garden is one of their restaurants, L’Orangerie, where you can eat ‘al fresco’ throughout the summer in a beautifully natural and chic setting.

Book a table at L’Orangerie for 8.30 – 9.00 pm but arrive around 7 pm to take a stroll down that pathway and discover those treasures. This will lead you down steps to the main entrance and through a lobby perfect for a 1920’s romantic novel.

“You can almost hear the charlston music and clink of champagne glasses”

Continue straight ahead to the open terrace. In this timeless setting choose a table, order an aperitif and experience a sunset over the bay of Naples.

exvit_hall

The sun has retired, Naples twinkles under the shadow of Vesuvius and it’s already 8.30. Time to make your way to the restaurant. At the top of the steps take the walkway on the left to the pool which leads to L’Orangerie. The pool lighting and Bar sets the atmosphere for something special.

Excelsior Vittoria pool

For a 5 star hotel the cuisine and level of service is to be expected but there was one thing that particularly caught my attention, their Orangerie Boule dessert!

If I show or describe it the surprise will be lost. All I can say is to keep looking at your plate as the waiter performs what seems like a touch of magic.

This recommendation offers an opportunity to explore and experience this wonderful hotel as part of a very pleasant evening together. Enjoy its magic.

For more information view L’Orangerie’s webpage. While you are on the seafront terrace you can see their Michelin starred gourmet restaurant ‘Terrazza Bosquet’. Another time perhaps?

Marisa Cuomo Wine – A Tale of Passion

Marisa Cuomo Wine

Having seen the name Marisa Cuomo on a number of wine menus we organised a private tour to the winery in Furore. It’s located 45 minutes from Positano and 500 m above the Amalfi coastal road. This wine tour was to prove stimulating not just for our taste buds but for all the senses.

After turning off the coastal road we began the winding ascent to Furore with each bend offering picture postcard scenes of the coastline far below and mountains high above. Having been used to seeing rows of vines on a rolling landscape it was hard to see where the vineyards could possibly lie in such a vertical environment.

mountain wine terraces

However, following a warm welcome at the winery everything became clear as the Marisa Cuomo story unfolded during the introduction and visits to the cellars, hand-cut into the rock, and the steep, almost hidden, terraces. The main cultivation system is the ‘pergola’ with vines often planted on vertical rock faces with manual labour and donkeys still carrying the burden. Some of the wines are classed as Extreme and Heroic because of the challenging conditions.

marisa cuomo wineyards

Bruna was our guide and her description sounded more like a novel than a tour. A story of romance, dramatic landscapes, physical struggles and passion to produce beautiful wines. In 1983 the vineyard was a wedding gift from Andrea Ferraioli to Marisa and like true love, flourished over the years. Their determination, together with generations of experience and physical toil has resulted in a cellar with a world wide reputation.

Marisa Cuomo Wines

In addition to vineyards in Furore, they have others located along the Amalfi coast. Ancient vines producing unique tastes influenced by the earth in which they grow and the mountain air they absorb. Tronto, Tintore, Sciascinoso, Ripolo, Pepella, Ginestra, Piedirosso, and Fenile are the grape varieties blended to create nine Marisa Cuomo wines listed below.

Furore Bianco, Furore Rosso.
Ravello Bianco, Ravello Rosso.
Furore Bianco Fiorduva, Furore Rosso Riserva.
Costa d’Amalfi Rosso, Costa d’Amalfi Rosato, Costa d’Amalfi Bianco.

Marisa Cuomo wines are available in the UK and stockists found with Google search

Tastings took place at the Ristorante Bacco, located opposite the winery with a table for two on a terrace open to spectacular views of the mountains and coastline. There was a choice of menus each with a selection of three wines to complement the dishes and ours included the award-winning Furore Bianco Fiorduva.

Bacco Restaurant

How the different landscapes and soils influenced the intricacies of each wine were explained to us as the dishes were served; citrus from lemon groves, minerals in more rocky ground and much more. It was an exceptional meal with superb wines in a truly wonderful setting followed by a relaxing drive back to Sorrento.

Whenever we open wine from Marisa Cuomo it is not only the flavours that rekindle memories of our visit but also the label. Each wine has its own illustration as if taken from a storybook, but a story based on real people and real places. Whether you are a wine connoisseur or a romantic you should find this tale of passion and fortitude in a beautiful but unforgiving landscape fascinating.

Based on our experience Friends of Sorrento provides a private tour to Marisa Cuomo including time to visit Positano. See itinerary

marisa cuomo wine label illustrations

Full details about the Marisa Cuomo winery and their wines can be found at their website together with a selection of videos. Here’s a little taster.

Marisa Cuomo
Via G.B. Lama, 16/18
Furore
Website

Sunset dinner in the Marina Grande

Let me invite you for a sunset dinner in the picturesque harbour of the Marina Grande. Make your way to the Piazza della Vittoria, at the rear of the Tramomtano Hotel, and with the Bellevue Syrene on your right follow the cobbled lane. This will guide you through hidden villas and secret gardens, down well trodden steps and under an archway which opens to a magnificent vista of the harbour.

Marina Grande in Sorrento

In the next hour or so tables will start to fill every available space in and around each restaurant along the water’s edge. Dishes of grilled sardines, plump prawns, fish of the day, crab, lobster ….. will be whisked across the road from kitchen to outside tables. On this occasion we’ll have to ignore the temptation of the long established Trattoria da Emilia and the more recent Soul & Fish restaurant, at least until lunch tomorrow.

Because this evening we are dining at Delfino’s, right on the other side of the harbour, past the children paddling on the beach, the illuminated church and the lady making traditional lace products. From here you can enjoy uninterrupted views of the sunset with the relaxing sound of waves splashing under the boardwalk. The atmosphere is a little quieter with enough table space to allow some privacy for those ‘special’ occasions.

View of Marina Grande harbour

On one side is the fishing harbour and on the other, the bay of Naples with Vesuvius skirted by the lights of Naples just out of the picture on the right. The scene is set, so lets order aperitifs to toast the sunset while we wait for the highlight of the evening, the meal. I’m going for one of Delfino’s specials, Risotto with mussels, clams, squid, octopus and scampi, or perhaps Pasta with clams, zuccine and peeled shrimps, but those Dumplings with smoked cheese and peeled shrimps look tempting ……..

Sunset from Delfino's restaurant Sorrento

Its popularity with the locals and visitors throughout the year says enough about the food and service which are under the constant supervision of the family owners Andrea, Luisa and Roberto (the quiet one). Nothing more to add except it is advisable to book in advance for an outside table. Buon appetito!

Delfino in Sorrento

Restaurant Bagni Delfino
Marina Grande, Sorrento
tel: 081 878 2038


Sorrento Holiday Offers

Cocktails at Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria

Signature cocktail menu at the Excelsior Vittoria in Sorrento
Selection from the 20 Signature Cocktails

The menu at Bar Vittoria takes a leisurely trip around the world, from Portugal to Germany to Cuba and Japan and eventually back to Italy, with each country inspiring a cocktail. The Madame Bovary from France, the Bollywood from India, the Tartan from Scotland and so forth. The clifftop terrace has stood since 1834 – when the hotel became a favourite stop on the Grand Tour route – and since then the bar has served whiskies to Jack Lemmon, champagne to Marilyn, and pretty much anything a monarch, opera singer or film star might fancy.

On our visit we tried the Flauto di Pan, a take on the Peruvian classic Pisco Sour, delicately flavoured with pineapple and pomegranate. A refreshing aperitif with enough complexity to keep you interested. Then from Italy the Stradivari, a kind of Aperol Spritz/Negroni cross, adding limoncello and moscato wine. And from the US, maybe our favourite, the Marilyn: a boozy after-dinner sipping drink made with bourbon, Ancho Reyes (a chili liqueur which gives a little kick) and Amaro 18 – Italian bitters made with aromatic herbs. There’s also a little waiter theatre to enjoy…our Stradivari was poured and topped with prosecco in front of us from a silver trolley, and the ladies at the neighbouring table enjoyed a live martini-mixing.

The Flauto di Pan
The Flauto di Pan (“panflute”) with Vesuvius in the background

The signature cocktails were created by head barman Gerardo Oliva, whose CV includes the Capri Palace in Anacapri, and the Castello del Nero Hotel & Spa in Tuscany. And there are lots of little menu details that nod to history or culture or local mythology. The Liquore delle Sirene pops up in a few drinks, an Italian liqueur of 23 botanicals including Mediterranean fruit and flowers, Asian sweet spices and bitter roots from the Americas. It’s used in their Parthenope cocktail, named after a Siren in Greek mythology. (The Sirenusas are an archipelago of islands between Capri and Positano – the name a reference to the sirens said to have lived there and lured sailors to their doom.)

The prices here aren’t for the faint-hearted: the cocktails are 18 euros each. But, remind yourself, this is a once-in-a-lifetime drinks experience. And to soften the blow, they don’t skimp on the nibbles. At the very least you can expect a generous trio of crisps, toasted almonds and big sweet green olives (according to a quick internet search, Castelvetrano olives from Siciliy). We were also brought a plate of tasty amuse-bouches – cream cheese and chorizo in shortcrust-pastry boxes, miniature pizzas, and bitesized basil and mozzarella sandwiches.

Cocktails and canapes at the Hotel Excelsior Vittoria in Sorrento
Champagne cocktail, the Stradivari and snacks aplenty

It goes without saying that you can order off-menu – the barman will make any classic cocktail on request. We had a great gin martini the night after too. For me, the only things missing from the menu were a few good craft beers. Granted it might not be their priority (and maybe Campania hasn’t been hit by the craft-beer craze like the UK) but it couldn’t hurt to add to the omnipresent bottle-of-Peroni.

The bar hosts live music every Friday night, including international jazz artists. On our visit, a quieter Wednesday, there was a pianist on the terrace playing the traditional Italian songbook – Torna a Surriento etc.  I personally find this kind of music a little sentimental, and preferred the modern tracks they had in the background later into the night. (Hearing a contemporary sound in a historical setting can be strangely magical.) That said, some might consider a traditional soundtrack part of the Excelsior experience.

View from the bar terrace at sunset
View from the bar terrace at sunset

And then of course there’s the view. Honestly it’s a fight to not spend the whole time reaching for your phone – and I did find myself wishing that people were a little less phone centric – because the sunset is breathtaking. If you’re visiting Sorrento but not staying at the Excelsior, you’d do very well to head down to Bar Vittoria (check beforehand what time the sun sets) and see for yourself why it’s such a firm favourite.

by Sam Edwards
www

Michelin Star Restaurants

There are 17 Michelin star restaurants within a 30 km radius of Sorrento, 4 more between Ravello and Salerno, 3 in Naples, 3 on Capri and 2 on Ischia. A full list of names and locations is provided below.

Diners will experience superb cuisine at immaculate tables set in beautiful surroundings and in many cases with breathtaking vistas. A vacation for all the senses.

As you would expect the dishes are true works of art, pleasing to the eye as well as the taste buds. For the moment the delicate aromas and subtle combination of flavours must be left to your imagination, but here is a small selection of culinary masterpieces to feast your eyes on.

The Chefs are obviously masters of their skills with a respect and passion for the ingredients and regional influences, seasoned perhaps with life experiences and memories. This can be demonstrated, in my opinion, by this video showing the preparation of the pasta dish, Pacchero with tomato sauce, by two top Chefs, Marco Parizzi from Parizzi di Parma and Giuseppe Aversa from Il Buco in Sorrento.

Enjoy Chef Aversa’s presentation which is full of humour, passion and respect for ingredients from the south. There are English subtitles.

Giuseppe Aversa Il Buco Restaurant Sorrento

This video was produced as part of a centenary celebration for Pasta Di Martino, a pasta making company. It is located in the town of Gragnano, world famous for the production of dried pasta and home for numerous manufacturers. Some provide factory tours and tastings for visitors and Gragnano is only 25 km from Sorrento.
pasta-tubes
Michelin Star Restaurants in and around Sorrento
In addition to these 25 star restaurants there are another 38 with mentions.
Full details can be found in the Michelin Guide for Sorrento

Two star
Don Alfonso 1890. Sant’Agata
Quattri Passi. Nerano, Marina del Cantone
Torre del Saracino. Marina Equa, Vico Equense
L’Olivo. Anacapri

One star
Terrazza Bosquet. Excelsior Vittoria, Sorrento
Il Buco. Sorrento
Don Geppi. Sant’Agnello
Taverna del Capitano. Marina del Cantone
Relais Blu. Termini
Antica Osteria Nonna Rosa. Vico Equense
Maxi. Vico Equense
La Serra. Sirenuse, Positano
La Sponda. Positano
Zass. Positano
Piazzetta Milù. Castellannare di Stabia
Il Refettorio. Conca dei Marini
President. Pompeii
La Caravella dal 1959. Amalfi
Rossellini’s. Ravello
Il Faro di Capo d’Orso. Maiori
Re Mauri. Salerno
Casa del Nonno 13. Salerno

Mammà. Capri
Il Riccio. Anacapri

Indaco. Ischia
Il Mosaico. Ischia

Palazzo Petrucci. Naples
Il Comandante. Naples
Veritas. Naples

Buon appetito!

Where to eat in Sorrento

We are often asked to recommend restaurants, particularly by first time visitors who have not yet had time to explore the many available. For this reason we selected some of those we use ourselves and where you can be sure of receiving a very warm welcome.

dagigino restaurant sorrento

Ristorante da Gigino
15 Via degli Archi, Sorrento
tel: 081 8781927
www.dagigino.com

We have eaten at the Ristorante da Gigino on a number of occasions and it provides an ideal choice for first time visitors. It presents a wide range of meals from pizza and chips to traditional regional dishes using local produce. The staff will be pleased to explain the menu or prepare dishes to satisfy the individual tastes of guests, regardless of age. It is popular with visitors and locals and has a very friendly and informal atmosphere. Located in a quiet lane in the heart of Sorrento’s historical centre and away from the main tourist thoroughfare it provides a relaxing introduction to the quality and range of food you can expect.


Il Pozzo Restaurant in Sorrento

Ristorante Il Pozzo
32 Via Tasso, Sorrento
tel: 081 8774876
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Ristorante Il Pozzo is another of our favourite eating places found in the quieter narrow lanes of the historic centre. An excellent selection of traditional dishes is served and the staff always find the time to explain each dish on the menu and, if required, to advise a suitable wine. During our visit the house red was especially good value.

The tables are laid out in a manner that offers enough space for family groups or couples seeking a little more privacy. First time visitors will quickly feel at home and be given plenty of time to choose something familiar or typically Sorrentine.


lantica trattoria sorrento

L’Antica Trattoria
33 Via P P Giuliani, Sorrento
tel: 081 8071082
www.lanticatrattoria.com

We celebrated a special occasion at L’Antica Trattoria (est 1930) which offered a choice of places to eat, each with a different décor and ambience and perfect for a quiet and private evening. The food and service were both excellent as was the house wine. Smart casual dress seemed entirely appropriate for the evening.

Located in the heart of Sorrento’s historical centre, you can sample the true flavours of Sorrento under a lush pergola or in one of the elegant and intimate inner rooms.


Il Buco
2a rampa Marina Piccola, 5(Piazza Sant’Antonino), Sorrento
tel: 081 8782354
www.ilbucoristorante.it

This elegant Michelin rated restaurant is located in the heart of Sorrento’s historic centre in the wine cellars of an old monastery.

As you would expect from such a recognised establishment the cuisine is prepared and served with a passion and pride. For visitors seeking a truly culinary experience based on traditional recipes and in a beautiful setting then Il Buco and chef Giuseppe Aversa will more than satisfy.

Please note: Booking enquiries are only accepted by email or in person.


excelsior-vittoria-orangerie

L’Orangerie
Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria
Piazza Tasso
081 8777868

Perhaps it’s a special occasion or the last night of the vacation and you would like somewhere very special to wine and dine … Read more.


oparrucchiano restaurant in sorrento

Ristorante ‘O Parrucchiano
71 Corso Italia, Sorrento
tel: 081 8781321
www.parrucchiano.com

Entering the Ristorante ‘O Parrucchiano from the main road is an experience in itself, with steps leading up to a magical garden environment full of different seating arrangements, each with its own character. We visited in the evening when the candle lights made it even more enchanting.

The menu offers a wonderful selection of traditional cuisine and the basket of fresh breads was a clear indication of good things to follow and we were not disappointed. It was founded in 1868 and they have a leaflet which tells its fascinating history. To finish the evening try their own limoncello !


La Fenice Restaurant in Sorrento

La Fenice
11 Via delghi Aranci, Sorrento
tel: 081 8781652
www.ristorantelafenice.com

In May 2014 we had another opportunity to eat at La Fenice and the choice and service was as good as ever. The setting is informal and cool with a range of dishes that will satisfy all tastes, particularly fresh sea food from the Marina Grande harbour only five minutes walk away.

We shared a starter of grilled vegetables and our main course was pasta with fresh prawns and a glass of house white completed another very pleasant light lunch.


Marameo Restaurant Sorrento

Marameo Beach
Spiaggia San Francesco, Sorrento
tel: 081 8783381
www.marameobeach.com

Marameo beach, restaurant and lounge bar provides a very comfortable and convenient location for those who like to relax right next to the sea. Visitors can take the Sorrento lift from the Villa Communale down to the sea shore and Marameo’s entrance.

It has all the facilities you require for sunbathing, swimming and refreshments including an excellent restaurant and superb views of Vesuvius and the coastline. There is a pleasant, stylish and sophisticated feel about the place which is captured on their website.


marina-grande-harbour

Restaurant Bagni Delfino
Marina Grande, Sorrento
tel: 081 878 2038
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This is the view we had from our table across the Marina Grande fishing harbour with the hotels rising up behind it. On the opposite side was a view of the distant twinkling lights of Naples skirting the silhouette of Vesuvius.

The atmosphere and setting were perfect as was the meal. Nothing more to add except it is advisable to book in advance if you would like a table outside.