Situated off the Sorrentine Peninsula, Capri was once loved and visited by emperors, queens and writers. It remains one of the most beautiful places in Italy, with its many caves, a rocky coastline and large plateau. Escaping from mass tourism can be difficult in Capri; here is a list of ten restaurants highlighting the natural beauty of the island and its culinary heritage.
Lido del Faro
Restaurant, Italian, Seafood, Mediterranean
Situated at the feet of Punta Carena Lighthouse (Faro di Punta Carena) on the west side of the Island, Lido del Faro Restaurant specialises in seafood dishes by revisiting classic Italian fare. These include Faro’s parmigiana di mare, where baked scabbard fish is added to the traditional recipe (smoked provola, tomato sauce and fried aubergines), and stuffed ravioli with clams and pumpkin. The restaurant is essentially a terrace above the sea, overlooking a stunning cove lit by one of Italy’s biggest lighthouses, making it a perfect place to enjoy a sunset.
When Roman Emperor Tiberius left the capital, he retired to the Island of Capri, which he turned into his private residence. It is thought that he used to bathe in the very same bay where Bagni Tiberio’s Restaurant now rises. The restaurant can be reached either by foot or gozzo, a common boat used by fishermen, and cultivates a rustic-marine vibe, with fishnets and seashells hanging from the ceiling. The dining area is on a terrace facing the sea, ideal for a quiet meal overlooking the islands and anglers nearby. After the fresh seafood and fish have been brought in directly from the fishermen in the bay, the chef prepares a variety of dishes that respect the ancient marine gastronomy of the island. Especially recommended are the stuffed squid ink ravioli and the seafood risotto.
Tucked away from tourists is Le Grottelle, an ideal stop after a peaceful walk in Pizzolungo, which runs for kilometres along the coast. As its name suggests, the interiors of the restaurant resemble a cave, adorned with bucolic decorations and homey furnishing. The menu includes homemade regional dishes such as the seafood scialatielli in tomato sauce and the restaurant’s renowned wood oven-cooked chicken, creating a balance of land and sea flavours that cater to anyone’s taste. Run by a local family, their respect for regional cuisine also applies to the wine selection, which is a curated selection from the Campania region.
The graceful and elegant Il Geranio can be found between Capri’s main square and the Gardens of Augustus. The walk to reach the restaurant is a treat on its own, made of small, winding paths facing Marina Piccola beach and the Faraglioni (three rocks stacks emerging from the sea). Surrounded by pines, the restaurant’s atmosphere is calm and the terrace offers an idyllic view of the Faraglioni and the Bay of Naples. Their seasonal selection of dishes and regional wines focuses on the flavours of Mediterranean cuisine as well as some international dishes.
For a more sophisticated and romantic dining experience, try the Terrazza Brunella, a terrace-restaurant with a beautiful view over the Faraglioni. Although it may be on the expensive side of European standards, it offers a wide range of wines and dishes. The choice includes many seafood-based pasta dishes, regional delicacies as well as prawns with cognac and Chateaubriand. The interiors are refined yet delicate with a predilection for soft, white-beige furniture that makes the venue plush and romantic. Adjacent to the restaurant is the Belvedere of Tragara, the starting point of a path going all the way to the feet of the Faraglioni.
Awarded one Michelin star in 2013, Il Riccio belongs to the Capri Palace family. The venue screams its love for the sea both outside, with its paradisiacal beach close to the Blue Grotto, and inside, through its blue-hued furniture and decorations. All that the deep sea has to offer can be found on the fish display, from cod and octopus to sea urchins. Afterwards, the ‘deserts room’ with its many delights is a special treat for anyone with a sweet tooth. The exclusive natural location, the low-key atmosphere combined with close attention paid to the high quality of the ingredients, have established Il Riccio as one the favourite restaurants in Capri.
The two Michelin-starred L’Olivo in Capri Palace is a modern and stylish restaurant where attention to detail is evident in the refined and studied décor and in the composition of the dishes. Excellent for a special night out, L’Olivo has a spacious dining area lit by warm colours to enhance the white monochrome furniture and accessories or customers can choose to dine on the terrace overlooking the Bay of Naples. The restaurant has an extensive wine selection and even a water list. The gourmet cuisine is the result of different combinations of flavours that still retain a level of simplicity.
A family run-restaurant surrounded by lush nature, Da Gelsomina is situated on the south-western side of the island. From its terrace you can enjoy one of the most breath-taking panoramas of Capri, which stretches from the Punta Carena Lighthouse all the way to the Faraglioni. Most of the dishes on the menu are prepared with homemade products, with the vegetables grown in the family’s garden and the wine prepared in-house. Among their signature dishes, the must-try options are the rabbit cacciatore, the spaghetti alla chiummenzana (a traditional dish with fresh cherry tomatoes and chilli), or the unique pollo al mattone, which is a barbecue chicken with lemon zest and rosemary, cooked under a heated brick.
Going for an aperitif is a traditional custom in Italian daily life. Pulalli Wine Bar caters to this tradition with its wide range of Italian wine, most available by the glass, and a good selection of regional specialities to choose from. The perfect spot to unwind and relax, its strongest asset is its location. The bar is positioned on the top floor of a building right next to the Clock Tower and offers a bird’s-eye view of the famous Piazzetta (‘little square’); Capri’s historical centre where traces of the urban and architectural heritage of the Middle Ages are still strongly visible.
Lo Zodiaco is located on the Marina Grande seafront, one of the largest beaches on the island. Specialising in seafood bought daily fresh from the fishermen, the menu draws directly from Neapolitan and regional cuisine. From pasta dishes such as paccheri with sea truffles, to the seafood scialatielli (long square types of spaghetti originally from the Amalfi Coast). Plus a large selection of fish that includes one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, the delectable sesame encrusted tuna. As befits an upscale venue, the chef pays extra care to the presentation of each dish, which are exquisitely decorated. Lo Zodiaco is the ideal place to enjoy a delicious meal right next to the sea while watching the sun setting over the harbour.