For over thirty years, my in-laws have spent two to four weeks on the gorgeous island of Capri, Italy. Over time they have gotten to know the shopkeepers, hoteliers, and restauranteurs, and many have become close personal friends. Clearly over that stretch of time they’ve also learned where to eat in Capri. We were thrilled to join them last year for five days in Capri, and even happier to see that some of our favorite restaurants from our last visit 13 years prior were still there.
I’ve put together a list of some of our very favorites in Capri to help with your trip planning.
1. Villa Verde
You can’t spend time in Capri without at least one meal at Villa Verde (we went twice in five days.) As you walk in you’ll notice the wall of celebrity pictures (see if you can find the non-celebrity photos of Ellen and Arnold Gruber), and those aren’t all from decades ago. One of the nights we ate at Villa Verde, Magic Johnson was also eating there with his wife. Magic is a fan of Capri and you’ll see his yacht anchored in the harbor frequently. Earlier in the week we saw him walking through town with Samuel L. Jackson.
When you go to Villa Verde, you’ll want to sit in the expansive garden. The dedicated staff has worked here for years so you are ensured top notch service, service that sometimes goes back generations. Everything here is fresh and “from their garden” but there are a few specialties you’ll want to try. First, the fried stuffed zucchini flowers are some of the best that I’ve ever had.
Another dish that you just have to order at Villa Verde is the pasta e fagioli. It is more like a pasta dish than a soup, and it is absolutely delicious. But you don’t order it just for the taste, you’ll also enjoy the theatrical presentation — but I don’t want to ruin the surprise.
I was also completely blown away by the Veal Milanese. I usually don’t order veal but when I had a bite of my in-laws, I just couldn’t stopping stealing from their plates. It is so incredibly tender with crisp breading on the outside. For dessert, try the wild strawberry tart. You will see these tiny wild strawberries throughout Capri and if you like strawberries, you should get them…every…single…time.
Villa Verde is located at Via Sella Orta, 6; +39 081 837 7024.
2. Terrazza Brunella
Terrazza Brunella at Hotel Villa Brunella offers one of the most spectacular views in Capri, and one of the most delicious meals. I’ve been here for lunch a few times and it is easily one of my favorite restaurants in Capri.
All of the pastas are amazing, as is the lemon risotto, but my favorite is the pasta with eggplant, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella.
3. Da Paolino Lemon Trees
It is a bit of a hike to get down to Da Paolino, but it is worth the price of the cab. You will be seated in a lemon grove lit with twinkling lights and the sound of trickling water fountains in the background. Watch out for those lemons because they are as big as a grapefruit so you wouldn’t want one falling on your head. As you can imagine, everything is here lemon themed. From lemon pasta to salt-crusted branzino with lemon, to grilled mozzarella in lemon leaves — and everything is delicious.
You’ll start off with an abundant buffet of antipasti with grilled vegetables, seafood, cheese, olives and more than you could eat for your entire dinner. I fell in love with the zucchine alla scapece — lightly sautéed zucchini finished with vinegar and mint. It was so good that I had to recreate it with some fresh zucchini from my garden last summer. As generous as the portions are, you’ll want to save room for dessert. The dessert buffet is set in its own climate controlled room. Just imagine, a room full of dessert! And of course, Paolino won’t let you leave without a sample of their very own limoncello.
4. Ai Faraglioni
Named after the famous Faraglioni rocks, Ai Faraglioni has been a favorite of my in-laws for many years. Instead of being stuck inside, at Faraglioni you can eat outside at a table lining the popular Via Camerelle, tucked away in your private little booth while doing some people watching of the tourists walking by. They are well-known for their lemon risotto and their seafood, including urchin and crab. Any of their salt-encrusted fish are delicious, especially the branzino. My father-in-law is a fan of the chef’s egg specialty.
5. Buonocore Gelateria
If you are walking through town during the day, you’ll inevitably smell the mouth-watering aroma of freshly baked waffle cones at Buonocore. As you can imagine, the thing to get here is gelato — in a cone. It may be messy to eat, but it is delicious.
Buonocore Gelateria is located at Via Vittorio Emanuele 35, Capri.
6. Lemon Granita stand
If you take a walk up Via Tragara to the Faraglioni rock view point, you’ll probably hear singing from up ahead. The joyous song is coming from the small lemon granita stand close to the path down to the beach. You’ll want to stop and sample the icy cold lemon granita, which is so refreshing on a hot day and the service couldn’t be more pleasant.
Bonus: La Scalinatella
The reason this is a bonus, even though I think it may just have the best food on the island, is that the restaurant at La Scalinatella Hotel is only open for lunch and only for guests of the Morgano Hotels — La Scalinatella, Casa Morgano, and Grand Hotel Quisisana. If you are lucky enough to be staying at one of those hotels, you must go. My in-laws have been stayed at the Scalinatella for years and last year we stayed next door at Casa Morgano (Scalinatella is strictly adults only but Casa Morgano accepts kids.)
Lunch here is not going to be a quick affair, but you are in for a treat so relax and settle in for the ride. There is no fixed menu and the waiter will list the dishes of the day for you to choose from. I recommend starting off with one of their amazing peach bellinis and snacking on their light and crispy zucchini fritti while you wait.
The pasta is delicious but you really want to sample their fresh seafood. Everything is fresh from the sea and offered in abundance. I’ve had crab the size of my head and the spaghetti vongole has enough small, delicate clams to feed an army (see below.)