The jewel of southern Italy, the Amalfi Coast is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. The serene landscape of cliffs, lush hills and glittering water is where some of the country’s finest produce is grown – and, in fact, it’s one of the best places to eat in the whole of Italy.
Famous for its local produce, which includes lemons, fresh pasta and seafood, Amalfi is heaven for food lovers. This is a place where locals never miss an opportunity to indulge in the very best seasonal cuisine, and where restaurants combine local produce, a love of Amalfi’s traditions, and real culinary flair to create a truly exciting atmosphere for travellers.
For the most authentic culinary experience on the Amalfi Coast, try to eat like the locals do. Breakfast is usually light, consisting of coffee and a quick pastry, while lunch is the main meal of the day and usually eaten around 2pm (though most restaurants open at midday if you can’t wait until then!). Dinner is typically lighter than lunch, and eaten around 8.30pm – though again, most restaurants open a little earlier, usually around 7.30pm, if you don’t want to wait.
Unmissable things to eat on the Amalfi Coast
The Amalfi Coast has so many stand-out dishes, you really will be spoilt for choice. Among the must-try highlights is ndundari, which is perhaps best-described as a lighter version of gnocchi – though it is made with ricotta rather than potato, so while it tastes lighter, it perhaps isn’t in terms of calories! Typically, these airy balls of ricotta are served with a simple yet sumptuous sauce of fresh tomato and basil – delicious.
When it comes to starting the day, the locals typically enjoy an authentic Italian espresso accompanied by a moreish pastry. Sfogliatelle is a staple of the Amalfi Coast – this sweet, ricotta-filled pastry is flavoured with local lemons and is a wonderfully indulgent way to start the day.
No visit to the Amalfi Coast is complete without trying some locally caught seafood. Among the star dishes to try is scialatielli ai frutti di mare, which pairs long, square-sided spaghetti with fresh seafood, and can include everything from blue fish and octopus to shrimps and redfish.
Seafood isn’t only used as a main component of dishes; it’s also used to make the wonderful Colatura di Alici, which is a kind of fish sauce that’s added to a variety of local dishes to give them a stand-out flavour. This local speciality is produced in Cetara, and a bottle makes a great souvenir if you want to use it to enhance your cooking at home.
For those with a sweet tooth, don’t miss the opportunity to try pear and ricotta cake. One of the region’s best-loved desserts, this delicious cake consists of two hazelnut sponge discs sandwiched with ricotta cream, pear filling and an indulgent sugar syrup.
Perhaps one of the region’s most famous products is limoncello, a liqueur made of local lemons, with the region being renowned for its swathes of lemon groves. So, indulging in a glass is the perfect way to round off your meal.
Where to eat on the Amalfi Coast
As the Amalfi Coast is home to so much fine produce and so many local specialities, it is little surprise that it also houses a great selection of restaurants. Here are some of the best:
Famously a favourite of Jamie Oliver, this restaurant in the village of Montepertuso, just above Positano, is a real treat. Boasting views as spectacular as the food, it is known for its skillful use of local ingredients to create mouthwatering dishes, such as courgette flowers stuffed with mozzarella. The menu changes often, so if you are as enchanted by the food as most visitors seem to be, you can count on discovering something different if you return on subsequent holidays.
Located in Minori, Giardiniello has been running since 1955 and is one of the best local eateries. Well-priced and delicious, it is an excellent place to try local scialatielli, and has a reputation for serving up some of the finest pizza on the Amalfi Coast.
This restaurant, bar and beach club is the perfect destination if you really want to treat yourself. Its beachfront location and the quality of its food makes it one of the best places to dine in Amalfi – especially if you’re keen to try some of the region’s celebrated seafood. Creating dishes that respect the local heritage, this restaurant also prides itself on the quality of its service, so if you’re not sure what to have, be sure to ask the staff for their expert advice on the dishes of the day.
Located in Ravello, this restaurant is another of the region’s finest – thanks in no small part to its vast restaurant kitchen, which grows everything from potatoes and courgettes to tomatoes and salad. Villa Maria uses its own produce as much as possible to create authentic local dishes, and thanks to its incredible location, you can enjoy these with breathtaking food.
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