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Don Alfonso - Southern Italy's Temple of Gastronomy
Vincenzo's sense of humour was not appreciated by Madame
Sometimes when you wake up you just know it's going to be a sunny day even when it starts out cloudy. Luckily for us we had reserved a table at Don Alfonso and, finally, d-day has arrived and the sun is there too! From several points of view, we're lucky because we live in the Sorrento Peninsula and having lunch at Don Alfonso means covering a distance of only fifteen miles.
The main problem will be to look after our wallet!
Anyway, on with the best tie, the cheesiest smile, and let's go! We're going to Sant'Agata sui Due Golfi (on the two Gulfs). It's a sweet land, in fact it's Paradise. On the way we can see two seas: the Bay of Naples and the Bay of Salerno. One's eyes simply aren't big enough to fill themselves with this wonderful scenery. Even the restaurant is very charming. The manager looks us over and from his expression we read the sign: you look OK, it's good enough, you have admittance.
Our table is large and round, maybe a bit too big for two persons, but it is perfectly laid. Lady Livia, Don Alfonso's wife, comes to our table and welcomes us.
Our choice is for a light menu without antipasti, our starter will be a primi patti of potato gnocchi with smoked cheese and tomato. Anyway, as a pre-starter we were given several small balls of fried vegetables.
The first course was very good. Tomato is of course fresh tomato and we smell the green land where they grow until the same morning they are needed for the table. It's a very simple dish, yes, but perfect, anyway! Without asking, we received at the table another small first course: Ziti with fresh tuna sauce and oregano.
Ziti is a long kind of macaroni. They need to become short before cooking and cutting it by hands is a normal step in the kitchen. Ziti are well known only in the region of Campania Felix: - we're less than 30 miles far away from Gragnano, the most important town for production of macaroni.
We have to choose our wine. The best choice for our wallet is only one bottle of wine and, if it's possible, cheaper than the cost of the total amount of the two lunches! So, our best choice is for a Sudtiroler Sauvignon dell'Alto Adige, - the Northern part of Italy closer to Austria. Don Alfonso stored this wine, together with thousand of other wines coming from all over the world. In an ancient cellar dug in the tufo rock
For our second course we have some difficulty deciding meat or fish. I cracked a joke about foot and mouth and the dangers of eating meat, but I had a feeling the lovely Lady Livia was not amused, so I had to choose meat, otherwise she might be no longer quite so kind and nice with us and I didn't want that to happen!
It was a good choice of course: the meat roll with pine kernels and raisins on tomato cream and wild endive. Perfect, although maybe not enough in quantity, but we must arise from the elegant chairs still a little bit hungry. It's the Don Alfonso way of dining.
The olive oil, the vegetables, the tomatoes, the herbs and the fruit used and served come from their farm named Peracciole, located in the Sorrento Peninsula and owned by Livia and Alfonso Our flavour and aroma memory banks are now recharged and refreshed from the taste and the colours of these Peracciole gifts.
We're not drinking a lot: one bottle must be enough!
But I have a sneaky feeling that Lady L hasn't forgiven our joke about her meat and she'd like us to go away as soon as possible.She's usually very
nice to clients who go to her restaurant. Most of them are rather like people go to church: to pray, to listen, to pay and have no doubts about god (or rather the chef, in her case!). She likes silent prayers and silent payers better than irreverent clients who treat it as a restaurant, charming as you like, but a restaurant and not a cathedral.
I nearly forgot dessert! Yes, dessert: fried custard cream with warm chocolate sauce. Perfect, really.
Bill, please. Heart is beating faster than usual - will the plastic cope with the battering?
Bill arrives: total amount is ( 2 persons ) 180 euros, (£108), one bottle of wine included, and kindness of Lady Livia and coffee, excluded.
We go outside to find that it's still a nice afternoon. On the way home we drink two strong coffees in a nice bar of the Piano di Sorrento and we ponder the fact that so very many people say that Don Alfonso is the best restaurant in our Sorrento Peninsula and in the whole South of Italy...
We have several doubts.
Don Alfonso 1890
Corso S. Agata 11
80064 S. Agata Sui Due Golfi (Naples)
Tel : (39) 081 878 00 26
Weekly closing : Monday and Tuesday
Monday only from June 1st to September 30th
Annual closing : from January 10th to February 2
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