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Vincenzo's favourite restaurants around Naples: Sapore di Mare

Do you remember Positano?
It's the northern gate of Costiera Amalfitana. Positano is where the Penisola Sorrentina and Costiera Amalfitana meet. Starting from Positano you're driving across Costiera Amalfitana and often you can pause to look at the views of sea and sky. It's a heavenly place!

The Southern gate of the Costiera Amalfitana is Vietri sul Mare. Vietri sul Mare isn't literally over the sea! It's more like a terrace over the sea. But Vietri has a hamlet named Marina di Vietri, and Marina is over the sea! A short distance after the beach ends there's a small square and finally, you see the restaurant named Sapore di Mare that we'll translate "Flavour of the Sea".

All seafood: fresh, only fresh. Sometimes, if it isn't fresh it's because, simply, it's still alive! And, when you are at the tables, you can see the fisherman bringing sfasella - you know this Italian term because we already used it for another review! ( Nonna Rosa) Fresh seafood is so central to Sapore di Mare that in winter, when the sea is rough and the fishermen have to stay on dry land, the restaurant is closed for several days, until the sea calms down and the fishermen can return to their boats.

The patron is Signor Alfonso Trezza, born and bred in Vietri sul Mare. Hic et nunc I say that Sapore di Mare is the best seafood restaurant of my happy region. We cannot read the menu because Alfonso doesn't hold with such things. He likes to speak about the output of the sea and, of course, about the chef.
Who is the chef ? His wife!

Antipasti: che delizia!
Can you imagine a newborn child? Of course you can imagine. If you're mothers and fathers you imagine too damn well! Can you imagine a lot of fishes just born? They haven't time to understand what's a wet life always swimming in the sea and they become cecenielli and I'm not able to transalte this particular term. It could mean a child very very little! Cecenielli are served simply boiled and in bed of lemon leaf with a few drops of lemon and a thin film of oil.

The lemon of Costiera Amalfitana is quite different from lemon of Penisola Sorrentina. We name the first sfusato and the second figurino. Sfusato is bigger than figurino. OK, cut it along the main side: you obtain two halves of a lemon. Bring off the inner part and you obtain the empty half part of a rugby ball! You fill this lemon with gamberetti and lemon sauce: I thank life, I thank Alfonso and his wife and I thank gardens and sea of Costiera Amalfitana!

In spring and summer seasons the sea presents a particular fish: I don't know English term so I tell you it's the fish with a black ink jet (it isn't a printer !). Here this fish becomes a tube to fill with vegetables and other small parts of itself: delicious. (Cuttlefish or squid? -Ed)

To go with Antipasti - which wines? We drank, during the whole lunch, two excellent white wines coming from the green hills of the inland part of our region. We began with Greco di Tufo '98 by Vadiaperti: very correct with these antipasti. We were 6 persons and we saw off three bottles from full to empty during the antipasti alone!

First courses: ravioli stuffed with gamberi and pezzogna in a white sauce, without tomatoes, made from the result of the two seafoods during their brief cooking. The Pezzogna is a very good fish living in our sea.

Tubetti with cozze: Tubetti is a kind of short macaroni. Tubetti mean small tubes; every tubetto is less than a quarter of an inch long. Cozze are mussels.

Second courses: fried fish. We name this plate frittura di paranza. Paranza is the boat of the fishermen. Alfonso's wife will cook the fish as you like them or, better, as she suggests. We drunk Fiano di Avellino '98 by Vadiaperti and we liked it very much.

We refreshed our palates of all that fish with a slice of old cheese. Alfonso has a good ship cheese. Desserts are some mousse, and lemon cakes. We were six persons and we paid L360,000!- that's 60,000 Italian Lire per person. (That's about £22 English pounds each - July 1999)

Good bye, dear Alfonso, we'll come back often. We didn't return via the scenic route, it's too dangerous after a lunch like this. Going by the highway, driving slowly, we get home in one piece - then crash out!

SAPORE DI MARE Marina di Vietri tel. 0039 089 210041
closed on Thursday and December and January.

See Vincenzo's collection of restaurants in the Naples region

Vincenzo D'Antonio May 1999

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