Ponza is first and foremost a fisherman’s village, and so the cuisine here reflects the bounty that the surrounding sea provides. That does not mean it is uninspired though, as the island chefs have found just the right delicious balance between tradition and innovation. From creative fine dining, to simple but perfect pizza, these are our picks for the best places to eat in Ponza.
Restaurant, Seafood, Italian, Mediterranean
Don’t be fooled by the casual atmosphere at this spot in the port along the Corso Carlo Pisacane. Oresteriais one of the most desirable tables in town. TV star chef Oreste and his sommelier wife Valentina serve innovative dishes rooted in tradition like vinegar doused fried anchovies and gnocchi inspired by the Piedmontese dish rich with aromatic sage and garlic calledTonno di Coniglio, with the rabbit switched out for fresh swordfish. The wine list is expertly curated with the perfect range of high to low. In the winter months, the restaurant relocates to Eataly in Rome.
Look for the family run Ristorante L’Aragosta in between the island hotspots, Bar Tripoli and Bar Mage Circe in the port. A speciality of the house is the carbonara made with local prawns in place of pancetta. Classics like the spaghetti alle vongole, marinated anchovies and grilled fresh fish are also delicious choices. There is a pizza oven if the kids are tired of fish and pasta.
Make sure to book a few days ahead at this popular restaurant named after the Greek goddess of the sunrise with sweeping 360 degree view over the port. Ristorante Eea’s chef Davide De Luca uses local ingredients like lentils, wild fennel and wild caught Gamberi rossi to create elegant dishes that stay true to their Ponzese roots. Spaghetti is tossed with Atlantic horse mackerel and dusted with fennel-scented breadcrumbs. The tomato risotto with butter whipped shrimp and basil is sublime. Save room for dessert which pleases the chocolate lover, with a rich square of dark chocolate and hazelnuts. If you prefer fruit flavors, try the port soaked mango sorbet. The wine list has a nice selection of locally produced whites.
Located in the Campo Inglese neighborhood in Ponza and run by Ivan Altieri, the Il Tramonto restaurant has an unforgettable sunset view. With such a spectacular view, they could probably get away with mediocre food, but they do not. Watch as the sun sinks behind Palmarola island with a flute of prosecco and a plate of fried seaweed fritters. Spend the next few hours feasting on dishes like stuffed local squid, tender octopus salad and seafood pastas. The decadent dessert selection has something for every taste from rich chocolate to tart citrus. Don’t leave before you have a chance to try an icy sip of house made digestivo made from local wild fennel.
Start your morning at this bakery on the lower level of the port with a sugar dusted donut while you select your picnic lunch supplies. There are slices of pizza rosso, with a slick of red sauce or bianca, with olive oil and springs of rosemary, or pizza stuffed with escarole and olives or ham and cheese. Take home a wrapped tray of local cookies for a sweet reminder of your trip.
You can eat in or take out at this Italian version of a diner. Make a meal of roast chicken or eggplant parmigiana that is the perfect mix of gooey and crunchy edges. There is a glass case of pizza by the slice and if you want to try a very local dish, order the lentil soup.
In the port just under the lighthouse that locals call Il Lanterino, is Il Faro Cafe. During the day, there is a cafe serving coffee, sandwiches and an interesting selection of craft beers in a perfect location before you catch the ferry back to reality. In the evening, head back and find an authentic Neapolitan DOC pizzeria. The pies are baked in a flash in a wood-fired oven while you enjoy the sea breeze and boat view of the port.
The proximity to Naples means there is some very good pizza on the island. Take a walk through a Roman era tunnel or two over to the Santa Maria neighborhood and find this old-fashioned pizza place. The Pizzeria da Luciano is worth the walk for Neapolitan style pizza, with a soft pillowy crust and a cold draft beer. To be really authentic, make sure to order a plate of deep fried things to start. In the summer, there is a large outside patio on the beach.