The food in Capri is undeniably some of the freshest food I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing in Italy. One of the key secrets to making sure you get a great meal is listen to the locals. Some restaurants are really pushed by the hotels and others are not. Sometimes they were recommended at one time, but fell out of favor for one reason or another. I’ve tried it every way possible, and while I do try new restaurants each time I visit, there are some staples that I return to again and again. They are divided by which side of the island you’d like to visit. Keep in mind, there are so many, it’s hard to keep track, but a nice place to look is right here on this page.
One of my all-time favorites. I could say this about every restaurant on this list, but there is one difference, the owner, Jean Franco, makes every visit worthwhile. Just off the main square in the center of Capri, you will find several small little paths, like beautiful veins that connect you to the rest of the island. One of these veins, or paths, is Via Longano. You will find Al Grottino and very likely Jean Franco, on the left just a stone’s throw from the center. The restaurant is small and cave-like with arched ceilings and coves, and pictures of many celebrities and non-celebrities adorn the walls dating back to 1937 when Jean Franco’s father, Tonino, opened this adorable little oasis. I cannot say enough about its impeccable host, Jean Franco, who has treated me like family each time I am in Capri. He has been known to whip up something special even during siesta when everyone else is resting or preparing for the evening rush. First class all the way. When I am not in Capri, we stay in touch via Facebook. Lots of love there. Lots of love.
On another little vein path from the center, Via Le Botteghe, sits a well-loved family restaurant, La Campannina. Upon entering, you will immediately notice a black and white photograph of Aristotle Onassis and Jackie Kennedy who were known to frequent the island. Its walls are also covered with pictures of a host of travelers, including many celebrities, politicians, and royalty, dating back to 1931. The ambience is intimate with beautiful lighting and classic table clothes. Neither, La Campannina or Al Grottino have sea views. They are intimate and elegant, family owned, down to earth, and can simply not be missed.
La Palma is perched just above the main drag cobblestone walkway, Via Vittorio Emanuele, surrounded by some of Capri’s most exclusive shops where you can easily people watch from the outdoor terrace. In the evening, coupled with star lit skies and the beautifully lit Via Vittorio, spending a few hours listening to live music over medium rare Chateaubriand and a bottle of velvety vino rosso is a perfect way to spend a relaxing evening. Don’t be surprised if you happen to see a celebrity strolling the path. While vacationing with my sister, Rod Stewart and entourage were spotted shopping in a store a few feet away from our table. Most people would find this very exciting including my sister who jumped up to get a picture, but I believe in letting them be… even if they are wearing leopard tights.
Laced with small tables overlooking the Faraglioni Rocks toward the end stretch of the exclusive Via Camerelle, an intimate candle lit sumptuous meal awaits you after a luxurious stroll through some of Capri’s most beautiful boutique shops. Catering to jet-setters and day trippers alike, this restaurant is even loved by the locals and highly recommended by even the most sophisticated hoteliers.
5. E’ DIVINO
If you want to experience something different, this is the restaurant for you. Just around the corner from the Town Hall on Via Sella Orta, the Divine House, as it’s called, is just that, a house with different rooms for dining. You can dine in the living room, kitchen, dining room, family room, bedroom, on the bed, or the quaint outdoor garden terrace. Service is spectacular. A truly unique experience and great for those who are feeling a little homesick. You will feel like you are with family, loved and cared for with every detail.
Located in Anacapri’s Center, the Barbarossa is an excellent pizzeria with wonderful bustling street views great for people watching. It is convenient to Anacapri’s shops, the chair lift, bus and taxi stop. I have been welcomed back year after year on my first day back in town when I am too tired to get gussied up, but am trying to follow the rule of thumb about staying awake long enough to acclimate to the time difference. Although the Barbarossa sits in the middle of a touristy square, you will find many locals enjoying the cuisine and the company.
Off the beat and path if you are entering from the back side and right on Anacapri’s main drag from the front entrance, Via Orlandi, the non-touristy La Rondinella is one of my favorite places to visit. The eggplant parmesan melts in your mouth as does everything else they whip up, but more importantly owners Marco and Anna never forget a face and will treat you like a loved family member. After my husband and I were married in Anacapri’s Town Hall, we took our guests and witnesses to the restaurants flower laced covered terrace for an afternoon of fresh local fish and seafood, homemade pasta, and several bottles of wine. We have returned to this lovely establishment year after year. Never a disappointing experience.
3. AL CUCCILO
Perched above the famous Blue Grotto, Al Cuccilo was the very first restaurant my sister and I visited many years ago in 1999. It has changed management several times, but has never lost an ounce of appeal. Due to the tiny less traveled streets at the end of which Al Cuccilo sits, the restaurant will use their own tiny car to pick you up and take you back you to your hotel. After what may seem like a comically windy drive, you will end up eating the freshest local seafood and pasta overlooking miles and miles of Italy’s hypnotizing waters. The views are endless and from every vantage point. Entertainment is a plus too. Just be sure to call ahead and check about entertainment times.
4. A’ CURTIGLIA
Think locals. This is where the locals eat. Off the beat and path as well and family owned, expect lots of love, fresh seafood and handmade pasta while enjoying a lazy pink and purple sunset from the restaurant’s covered terrace. On cooler evenings you can still enjoy the sea views through the clear wind shielding curtain. Absolutely lovely. A taxi is necessary to take you to and from.
Save the best for last. If you want exquisite, look no further. Etched in the side of a cliff one thousand feet above sea level with views of Mount Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples, you can bask in shear luxury dining on the best culinary delights the entire island has to offer. Whether you choose to sit by the infinity pool, under a tree, or the eloquently covered terrace tables, La Terrazza di Lucullo will tantalize your palate with fresh organic vegetables and herbs grown from the hotel’s personal garden, daily homemade fresh baked bread, and a wine list to please even the most discerning connoisseur. If you want a deeper experience, you can book a tour of the garden, take a cooking class, or just enjoy an after dinner drink on the upper terrace amid the sound of classical piano. Let the environment envelop you with its sense of peace and serenity. The stars, the open air, the elegance. There is nothing quite like it.