Friday 27th May 2016

By mira

I was glad that my friend hadn’t told me just how many steps we were about to climb to get up to a restaurant she was recommended – had I known, I might not have gone – but the restaurant, the views throughout the ‘hike’ (not exactly a hike, but it certainly felt like one) and then the reward of eating delicious fresh yet incredibly simple pasta and vegetables at Il Ritrovo was just…. totally worth it!

With only two and a half days in Positano, my pick of cafes and dishes is short, but I rather surprisingly loved what I ate (surprising because I usually find trying not to have any wheat as well as being vegetarian really difficult in Italy) that I was inspired to write about those places and things I ate – incredibly fresh and effortlessly flavourful.

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I never eat pasta, or for that matter, pizza (save the odd slice maybe once a month), but after a fair amount of exercise, not much breakfast, and a bout of food envy (the couple sitting near us had ordered a fresh cherry tomato pasta), I ordered half a portion of what they were having. It was, of course, larger than expected – and I had already eaten a plate of grilled vegetables. The flavours were satiating in their simplicity and perfect with the sweeping views of lush green on ocean blue. There is such joy in eating the most uncomplicated things so full of flavour… even a bite of a tomato tastes so entirely different.

Il Ritrovo is the kind of restaurant I’d go back to for dinner, albeit by taxi, if I had more time in Positano. There’s a lengthy wine list, the staff are super friendly and there’s a charming counter of cakes and biscuits.

Next on the list was a delightful little café I’d come across near our hotel, Casa e Bottega, filled on one side in the most perfectly organised way with cakes, ceramic plates and beautiful homeware, and the other side were tables humming with activity. I sat there in the afternoon and worked, sipping coffee and eating a little organic cherry cake, made with olive oil and yoghurt. The lady on the table beside me recommended Next 2, the fine dining version of this café, just up the road. And so my dinner plans were made.

Whether it was the sudden drop in temperature or the after-effects of the exertion today, I wanted pasta again – the truffle tagliatelle with broad beans was just calling me, apparently made with a light chickpea sauce (not cream, thankfully). It really was one of the best pasta dishes I have ever had. I’m also one of those people who craves something sweet after a meal, but not in the slightest today.

I started the next morning at the very same café with a delicious breakfast and great coffee and then, after a short excursion by boat, I came back to the same café for a late light lunch (I’d clearly found my happy place!) – quinoa and spelt salad with chickpea cakes. Exactly what I needed, though the almond cacao cake thereafter was probably less of needed and more of wanted. “See you tomorrow,” the girls at the café called out. I do wish I could have one last breakfast here (well I’d only had one but it was my new obsession) but I have a morning flight!

There was dinner left, and while I would have loved another small plate of that truffle tagliatteli from last night, I thought I should try elsewhere.

Stay at: the Miramare Hotel

Eat at: Il Ritrovo 
Casa e bottega 
Next 2

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