The Amalfi coast is a full of sunshine and vibrant fresh produce, so you would expect to find some exemplary restaurants serving great Italian food and wine. Unfortunately, many of the tourists visiting settle for less-than-authentic bistros which do not give a true taste of the area. I recommend turning off the busy main square, into the pictoresque side street which is home to Il Buco Ristorante, a charming Michelin star restaurant, with delicious food and lovely service. This elegant restaurant is housed within the beautiful wine cellars of an old monastery, and serves traditional fare presented with flair and creativity.
If you can, sit at one of the outside tables… we were seated in an atmospheric corner with a glimpse of the ocean in the background. The shadowy alcoves of the ancient building provide a romantic setting for an intimate meal. To whet our appetites the sommelier poured us two glasses of delicious fine Italian sparkling wine.
The menu is lengthy and varied, with a range of starters, pastas, meat and fish options. We followed our waiters recommendations and started with Calamari filled with porcini mushrooms, potato, mozzarella and wasabi, and the antipasti plate of Buffalo mozzarella on tomato with ricotta-filled cannoli and a selection of homegrown pickled vegetables. The calamari was incredibly fresh and artistically presented to look like a mushroom, while the rainbow plate of antipasti was a highly flavoured taste of Italy, with different marinaded vegetables and contrasting creamy cheese.
The meat and seafood dishes sounded tempting, but we couldn’t resist ordering pasta for our main course. Homemade ravioli filled with rosemary scented lamb and Ischitana sauce was a delicate dish, exquisite little parcels of tender meat in a traditional tomato-based sauce. The Linguini with lemon scented scorpion and zucchini flowers was an instant reminder of the sea, plump pieces of zesty fish entwined in a pile of fresh pasta.
The desserts on offer were classic with bold flavours. I opted for the Amalfi lemon dessert which was served with biscuit crumb and a froth of limoncello, and my dining partner chose the chocolate dish. After a big meal the light and creamy lemon posset-type mousse was the perfect palate-cleansing finale. The chocolate pudding was slightly more refined, an offering of contrasting textures of chocolate served with fresh strawberries and pretty edible flowers. Feeling weary after our Italian feast, we finished the meal with strong macchiatos to get us ready for more city exploring.
More information and book a table at Il Buco here.