POSITANO BITES DEEP
THE GILDED FILES: POSITANO, ITALY
A picturesque cliffside village on the Amalfi Coast, Positano boasts a charming beach-town vibe mixed with Italian sophistication. It's impossible not to enter a state of rapture when pulling up to the harbor by ferry. A dreamy locale in the middle of nowhere, for those who want to get away from it all, Positano is out-of-touch with reality in the most amazing way possible. Insouciant sun-bathers on holiday visibly paint the pebbled beach, consuming take-out pizza straight from the box while sipping on aperitif under the iconic orange and red umbrellas. I knew this was my kind of place.
John Steinbeck wrote for Harper’s Bazaar in 1953, Positano Bites Deep. "It is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone". Surely I took part in a dalliance with Positano, which can be expected from a magical place exuding unpretentious elegance. The cliffside village instantly transports you back in time to when Hollywood had just put this haven on the map.
Our hotel, Hotel Villa Franca, was placed perfectly on the top of the cliff with incredible views of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The room's white decor with turquoise accents evoked a Moroccan feel, a theme seen throughout Positano. We reveled in our customary bottle of champagne upon arrival. Following our celebratory clinks, we were off to dinner on the beach.
Chez Black is a cozy boat-house styled Mediterranean restaurant influenced by classic Italian fare and the fresh local seafood at arm's length. We ordered an imaginatively presented uni pasta served in a spiked bowl to emulate a sea urchin, as well as the squid ink pasta with grilled octopus. Later tiptoeing down the beach to Fly Lounge and Bar; we entered through a stone castle built into the bluff where a man euphoniously played Frank Sinatra on the piano as we slurped down our cocktails.
In the morning we watched the sun's rays blanket our balcony, as we relished over breakfast. I dazed off towards the view of cascading sun-bleached homes surrounding me. It blew my mind that such a whimsical place was fabricated with pure simplicity.
Later we followed the steep stairs, between restaurants and boutiques, exploring the main square and past the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, down to the water.
Dinner was at Villa Treville’s Michelin star restaurant, Maestro’s - which was just a quick drive away. Under a vine covered terrace, we could see Positano from a distance as the sun started to fade. We ate lightly fried ricotta stuffed squash blossoms, citrus lobster and porcini risotto with truffles and gold flakes. After dinner, we ventured down to Salone Bianca for a nightcap. Just below the restaurant, the lounge was covered from floor to ceiling with white ceramic tiles and white furniture, exuding the widespread zen-like Moroccan feel.
The best day started with a journey down to Spiaggia Grande. We lounged on the beach with Aperol Spritz's and castelvetrano olives to tie us over until lunch at Buca di Bacco just a few steps away. The waiter brought out heart-shaped mushroom arancini as we started with beef carpaccio, devoured fettuccine Bolognese and ended with a purple sweet potato filled ravioli with a light clam sauce, UNREAL.
Reservations for dinner were at La Sponda inside La Sirenuse, a seducing hotel overlooking the main square. We arrived early so we could enjoy their Champagne and Oyster Bar while waiting for our table. We indulged in champagne cocktails, caviar blinis, and a profusion of French oysters. Dining at this Michelin star restaurant, we chose to order the Chef’s Menu with wine pairings to really get the experience. First course: marinated mackerel, marine plankton, and beans cooked in a garlic and tomato sauce. Next, we had shellfish linguine, the wine pairing melted all the flavors together. Then, we received a veal loin with stuffed peppers, escarole, and new potatoes. Ending with a sliced citrus meringue with pepper, thyme and grapefruit sherbet paired with slightly effervescent dessert wine and some dessert bites.
Lunch was spent at Il Covo dei Saraceni the next day, eating salmon carpaccio, spaghetti and meatballs and pepperoni pizza. Following our food coma, we headed to the rooftop pool of our hotel to enjoy the lush landscape. Our last supper was at Li Galli Restaurant inside Hotel Villa Franca, the send-off meal consisted of fried oysters on top of creamy potato soup, grilled octopus with passion fruit sauce and chocolate, and filet mignon topped with foie gras and black truffle. We indulged in cappuccinos served with cups filled with chocolate, lavender, vanilla, and cinnamon sugar.
Hotel Villa Franca, La Sirenuse, Villa Treville