Eating Capri

where to eat in capri best restaurants in capri best hidden restaurants in capri da gelsomina le grottelle anacapri by travel writer kelly lee of kelly golightly

I am ruled by two things…my heart and my stomach. While I’ve shared peeks at the Magic of Capri and Where to Stay in Capri, today I’d like to share my Capri food guide.

For me, travel and vacations are about two things: landscape and food. And if past experience proves anything, even if a place is visually stunning, if it doesn’t have great food, I’m not going to enjoy my trip (ahem, Norway). By no means does this mean I’m a foodie. In fact, five-star restaurants aren’t my jam – they’re too much pressure and can rarely live up to their hype and price tag to feel worth it. Instead, what gets me salivating are those family-owned restaurants and off-the-beaten-path neighborhood gems. Those places that are authentic and serve real, local, simple, colorful, flavorful food.

If that sounds like you too, then pull up a chair, pour a glass of vino and enjoy Eating Capri.

La Grottelle – off the beaten path, the views from the terrace overlook the sea and Sorrento and the food is so authentic and simple.

1. Le Grottelle Off the beaten path and a 20-minute walk from the main tourist hub of Capri, close to Arco Naturale, the views from the terrace of this family-owned hidden trattoria overlooking the sea and Sorrento alone are worth a visit. (Via Arco Naturale – 80073 Capri /  tel. +39 081 8375719) 

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The authentic and fresh food, produced from a kitchen tucked inside of a cave, only enhances the supremely romantic setting. The owners are happy to create a custom antipasto plate for you with grilled zucchini, and grilled mozzarella atop lemon leaves.

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Tip: Bring a light jacket or wrap, as it gets cool in the evening as the sun begins to set over the expansive sea.

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2. Da Gelsomina The restaurant so nice we ate there twice…in one day. Really! This charming, family-owned winery and restaurant that sits high on a hilltop in Anacapri is both an experience and an adventure. (Via Migliara, 72  – 80073 Anacapri / tel. +39 081 837 1499) 


First, you take a bus or taxi from Capri to Anacapri (I nearly had a panic attack on the hot, crowded bus as it wound up the vertiginous roads to Anacapri, so would definitely recommend a taxi instead); then, someone (and by someone I mean a family member) from the restaurant comes to pick you up from the taxi stand area in Anacapri to escort you the rest of the way to the restaurant in a mini-shuttle.

da gelsomina anacapri

When you arrive, you walk up to the restaurant through the vineyards and gardens, and past the pool (which is open to the public), both with breathtaking, panoramic views.

Da Gelsomina - We loved this family-owned winery and restaurant

The sun-drenched terrace is the ideal spot for a languorous lunch, in which produce from Da Gelsomina’s gardens are used to make mouth-watering local dishes such as ravioli caprese.


And the owners are so nice that when they see that the sun may have become too much for your non-Italian skin, they’ll offer to lend you a hat. And you’ll sheepishly but gratefully accept.


Note: You must have caprese in Capri, its birthplace and for which the dish is named. The only downside: When you return home and have to eat our version of tomatoes and mozzarella, it will never compare. Such is life…


You must also have the Falanghina wine that Da Gelsomina makes at its own vineyard. It is light, delicious, and organic, and you will never be able to have it elsewhere, as they do not export it.

 Belvedere della Migliera.

After lunch, take a short stroll to one of the island’s most majestic overlooks, Belvedere della Migliera (the owner’s will tell you the way).

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Pinch yourself as you stand in awe of the dramatic limestone cliffs. And make a wish to return someday…

le grottelle anacapri

Beware that your wish may immediately come true, at least to return to the restaurant. As we watched the clouds roll in and an impending thunderstorm on the horizon, we decided there was no better place we could — or wanted — to be. So we enjoyed a long talk with the owner over tea — or was it wine? — back at the rrestaurant, and waited for dinner service to start. It was the best decision we could have made. Spend a day, you won’t regret it. Note: You can even stay the night.

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3. La Scalinatella I’ve raved about the hotel we loved staying at in Capri and a good part of that is due to the beautiful breakfasts we enjoyed each morning. Good news: They also serve lunch. {Via Tragara, 8 – 80073 – Capri /  tel. +39 081 8370633}


The setting is so beautiful, I’d highly recommend trying lunch on the terrace by the pool and drinking in the views of the sea and the bay of Marina Piccola and, perhaps, a negroni or two.

la scalinatella capri

And of course I’d highly recommend staying at La Scalinatella.

fontelina beach capri

4. Fontelina One of the most famous beach clubs on the island, they also have a restaurant that serves lunch and it is lovely.  {I via Faraglioni, Capri / tel. 081-8370845}

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Perched above the rocks and overlooking the sea, we enjoyed a beautiful lunch of pasta topped with an avalanche of fresh basil and tomatoes so sweet they tasted like candy beneath the restaurant’s straw pergola.

la fontelina boat ride capri

After lunch, hop on the restaurant’s boat over to Marina Piccola…

marina piccola capri

Where a cone of gelato is in order.

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La dolce vita, indeed.

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5. Villa Verde – On our last night, we craved a simple pizza and salad. We stumbled upon what we thought was a casual pizzeria steps from the piazzetta and were in for a surprise. The bustling restaurant had all the makings of a tourist trap — walls slathered in photos of the owner with celebrities ranging from Mariah Carey to Jessica Simpson, a television radiating in the corner, but much to our delight, turned into one very memorable dining experience. {Via Sella Orta, 6A, 80073 Capri / tel. +39 081 837 7024}

salt-encrusted fish capri

Although filled to the gills, the owners graciously fit us in without a reservation in under 10 minutes. While we munched on delicious thin-crust pizza and a simple green salad dappled in the richest and most delicious balsamic vinegar ever made (the restaurant’s own), we watched a symphony of servers deliver a seven-course meal of everything from lobster to salt-encrusted fish to a table of monied young things right in front of us. In the time it took us to share one pizza and salad, the table had devoured seven courses — each time clearing their plates.

After looking around the packed restaurant, we realized everyone seemed to be together, with long tables of 20-30 patrons. When we asked our server who they were, he replied, “doctor’s convention.” While it’s possible that was true, we got a very Soprano vibe, only illuminated the following morning when one of the young gentlemen at the table in front of us at dinner appeared at breakfast at our hotel, clad in only a robe and talking loudly in Russian on his cell phone. (Everyone else had on actual clothes and spoke in hushed tones.) But who knows… Either way, it was a memorable meal with the added benefit of a free show — and some of the best tiramisu.

lo smereldo capri

6. Lo Smeraldo You don’t expect quaint when you’re in the heart of the touristy part of Capri next to the ferry terminal, but that’s exactly what this seaside gem overlooking the sparkling emerald waters delivered, along with windchimes dancing in the breeze. It’s the ideal spot to grab lunch before grabbing the ferry back to the real world — and to plot your return back to this magical, seductively delicious isle.  {Via Marina Grande, 12, 80073 Capri / tel. 081 8375072}

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Until we eat again!

Photos by Fred Baby and Kelly Golightly

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