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How to eat well in Italy

Cortile dei Mori 

Vincenzo d'Antonio is our guide to the Amalfi Coast
His lunchtime choice is tucked away in Minori

 I've noticed that the majority of tourists who visit the Amalfi Coast only seem to get as far as Amalfi itself, and Positano. I'm the first to claim, that Amalfi and Positano are the two jewels of our lovely region and that these two small towns are fine enough to deserve an exclusive trip.

However, please don't forget that the entire Amalfi Coast means a road about 40km long, where the two limits are Vietri sul Mare and Positano. Along this road there are many very interesting villages to visit and to have a relaxing break, for lunch, too.

Coming from Vietri sul Mare, the Southern gate of the Amalfi Coast, having the sea on our left hand side, we meet Cetara (don't miss out on the two principal local delicacies acciughe [anchovies] and colatura di alici [something also fishy!]). After that there's Maiori, with its wonderful and nice lungomare and finally we reach tiny little Minori

We park our car in a small square almost on the beach and, looking at the thin waves of the blue sea, we go, it is a must, to Pasticceria De Riso, one of the best caffes in the whole Amalfi Coast, really.

What time is it ? Any time is good for a visit to the Pasticceria De Riso with its tables outside on the square and other more elegant tables on the first floor. Only coffee? Well, perhaps a slice of cake with some fruits of our Coast? - Better still! Don't be in a hurry! Piano piano, Slow down, listen to the waves, they are suggesting that you live more quietly on this your trip on the Amalfi Coast.

Minori is very nice to visit: lungomare and its inner streets going until wide gardens where the flavour of lemon is appealing and strong. There is a very interesting ruin: Villa Romana. It deserves a visit.

By now it is nearly lunch time. Where shall we have our lunch ? Oh, happy problem. Our choice is for CORTILE DEI MORI in a square so little, but so little, that it almost seems the hall of an ancient house.

We don't miss antipasti. They are very nice and almost unique. Not from the sea, but from the gardens; yes, only vegetables. Don't miss sarchiapone, scarola imbottita, patate ripiene, carciofi. The kind waiter will bring you it on a tianiello, a special plate. The situation is looking good: the antipasti are excellent.

Let's go on. Primi piatti. Maybe, walking before lunch, along the inner streets of Minori we met a fattoria making fresh hand made pasta. Well, here we can taste it. I suggest scialatielli with zucchine e gamberi. But, there are several other first courses on the menu and every one them is very good. The scialatielli with zucchine and gamberi shows how clever is the chef and how perfect his cooking.

Secondi piatti. There's a little problem today. Although we've driven along the sea which was calm and inviting, the fishermen are on holiday and Tonino, the nice patron of this restaurant, hasn't any fish to cook. His fish only come from local fishermen: luveri, alici, totani. Fishes that you cannot find in other well known and famous restaurants. On normal days the Chef cooks these fishes in his own way and you'll agree with him when you taste them.

After sea food, you know, we like cheese. The helpful waiter, will suggest scamorza wrapped in lemon leaves. You'll taste and appreciate it starting from its inviting smell. Fresh season fruit and handmade rum babās. Could you refuse them?

And sweet liqueurs also handmade: one glass only. Two, ok two and stop of finocchietto or concerto. Yes, ask for concerto and then you'll tell me if he liked it. We drank well because the wine list is quite fine. We choose Costa d'Amalfi Ravello Bianco by Cantine Gran Furor Divina Costiera and it was with us for the whole lunch. We were two and our bill was 68 euro: 34 euro per person!

Amalfi, Positano: you may be the jewels, yes. But now we are in Minori and we have done very well here. Ciao.

Vincenzo D'Antonio  June 2002

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