Any visit to Sorrento is a feast for the eyes. The clifftop drive, snaking around sharp bends hundreds of feet above the Bay of Naples provides breath-taking views that rival any destination on the globe. Never have land and sea been so well married to create dramatic colours and textures …. the essence of panoramic allure. This hyperbole can as easily be applied to the visually arresting taste creations that are offered to delighted visitors at some of the best restaurants in Sorrento.
Here are some recommendations of places you might like to visit for a feast to your senses.
Fine Dining – By the Water – Traditional – Modern – Casual – Sorrento has them all!
1. Terrazza Bosquet
The Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria is an imposing historic hotel that has been run by the Fiorentino family since 1834. With its main entrance from Sorrento’s central square, Piazza Tasso, the Hotel also has a private elevator that connects the Hotel with the Marina at the foot of the cliffs.
If your arrival is by boat, you might be very glad of this service as there is a rather steep road to navigate to reach the main entrance.
The One Michelin starred restaurant, Terrazza Bosquet, under the expert direction of Chef Antonino Montefusco offers sublime food in a gorgeous setting.
The history of this Hotel, that has welcomed discerning travellers for decades, creates a backdrop for Michelin winning dishes that embrace modern skills with traditional nuances. The views from the terrace are not disappointing.
Prepare to be dazzled by the experience.
Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, Piazza Tasso, Sorrento
Open for Dinner: 19.30 -23.00 – Reservations Essential
2. Il Buco
Another Michelin starred experience, Il Buco, rated as one of the top restaurants in Sorrento, is run by Chef Aversa the self-styled ambassador of local ingredients.
The restaurant is designed along contemporary lines with beautiful furnishings offset so wonderfully by a canopied domed ceiling of indigenous tuff stone.
These chunky blocks of stone made from volcanic rock liberally found in this region of Italy remind us of the legacy of Vesuvius.
This unique setting creates a romantic and intimate experience, not unlike dining in a cave.
As in all Amalfi Coast restaurants, the knowledge and grace of the staff are enhanced even further by the warmth with which guests are greeted – your every need will be anticipated.
The stiff formality, so often experienced in Michelin starred properties, is nowhere evident here.
Piazza S Antonino, Sorrento
Lunch 1230-1430 / Dinner 1930-2230 / Closed Wednesday – Booking recommended
Dine by the Water
For some of us landlocked tourists, the opportunity to dine near or on the water is an experience we always welcome, and being a coastal resort town, there are some good restaurants in Sorrento from which you can dine to the mesmerising sounds of the sea with the warm sun on your shoulders at lunchtime or beneath a starlit canopy on a balmy evening.
There is a lovely walk down the steep roadway to the Marinas (Grande and Piccolo) and the views over the harbour will have you stop along the way to get some terrific photos. For the less active, you can pop in a taxi or better yet visit the Villa Communale (Town Park) where you will find two ingenious elevators that will whisk you down to sea level for a nominal sum.
If you are a gal who likes to wear a sexy sandal with your dinner attire, then the elevator is for you! Operating each day from 07.30 to 01.00 in high season, you can enjoy visiting the Marina without the hilly workout pre or post-dinner!
3. Soul and Fish
This restaurant has been brought up to date by the youngest generation of a family of restauranteurs. It is a modern space, overlooking the marina and pier.
At lunchtime, it is a casual place to enjoy delicious seafood, pasta plates, risotto. At night, the ambience changes to a more romantic vibe as the twinkly string lights of the pier offer a backdrop to a relaxed dinner.
As with all Italian menus, you can create your dinner from a selection of starters, first courses, second courses and desserts.
With lovely local wines, Soul and Fish are a pretty place to have a delicious meal without too much formality.
Lunch: 12.00-14.45 Dinner: 19.00 – 22.30
4. Bagni Sant’Anna
Perhaps one of the best restaurants in Sorrento, Italy if you want to combine a lazy afternoon on a sun lounger, a few refreshing dips into the sea with some lovely casual dining. Open from 10.00am, go early and rent yourself a lounger.
The restaurant offers standard Italian classics, pizza, seafood, club sandwiches, salads. Just throw on your sundress over your bikini and enjoy your lunch followed by a leisurely siesta!
A perfect day.
Open for dinner, there is a less casual but more romantic atmosphere as you enjoy a cocktail watching dusk change the sea from turquoise to sapphire blue.
Open: 10.00 to 24.00
Old School, Traditional
5. O’ Parrucchiano
This is the largest restaurant in Sorrento with seating for up to 600 guests in an unbelievable lush, multi-level space filled with mature citrus trees, flowering shrubs and wild foliage.
You are essentially dining in a conservatory. Founded in 1868, this restaurant created the dish that we now call cannelloni and you can enjoy many versions of this Italian classic on its menu today.
Regardless of the numbers of guests who pass through the doors each day, the welcome is warm and genuine.
The design and layout create many cosy corners in which to dine. It is a bustling place to visit but certainly unique by any standards.
The food is traditional Sorrentine fare accompanied by a wide selection of wines. So if you and your family want to visit one of the traditional Italian restaurants Sorrento has to offer, this is a good place to start.
Lunch: 12.00-15.30 Dinner: 19.00-23.30
Corso Italia, 71
6. Ristorante Museo Caruso
Any opera buffs out there will know who Enrico Caruso was but for those of you more into hip hop than high notes, Caruso was to the early 20th century what Pavarotti was to the late 20th century.
Born in Naples in the late 19th Century, the tenor Caruso was celebrated all over the world and performed in every great opera house. This remarkable restaurant has set itself up as a museum to honour his memory.
Regardless of your interest in Caruso or opera, the traditional Neapolitan cuisine so wonderfully created and presented in this friendly restaurant with small intimate rooms is a delight. If you are a music enthusiast, you will love the Caruso recordings that very subtly accompany your dinner.
Delicious traditional fare, a top-class cellar all served with a slice of history.
You will enjoy it!
Lunch: 12.00 – 15.00 Dinner: 18.00 – 00.00
Via Sant’Antonino, 12
Restaurants in Sorrento, Italy that have a more modern flair have popped up here and there.
The dark, cavernous, formal dining experiences aren’t for everyone and if you are looking for a fresh take on Italian cuisine then look no further than Accento. This modern setting, designed along clean lines, has harnessed the very best of local ingredients, extracting their greatness and presenting culinary masterpieces that will entrance guests.
All of this gourmet wonderment is accompanied by the friendliest staff who will take time to chat and make you feel at home. Their recommendations from the kitchen are always right on the mark.
A wonderful place to dine if you want to embrace modern Italy and step away from the ‘grand tour’ vibe of more traditional establishments.
Lunch: 12.00 – 14.30 Dinner: 18.30 – 23.00
Corso Italia, 38
8. Fuoro 51 Wine Bar
It is sometimes lovely to slip away from the hustle and bustle of the main centres of any Town. Sorrento, with its labyrinthine laneways, can offer lovely bars and restaurants that appear less touristy and consequently more relaxing. Fuoro 51 is a wine bar with a divine selection of unusual vintages sourced locally and from beyond.
If you want to try some interesting wines by the glass this is a good place to start. Food-wise, you will love the charcuterie boards with a diverse range of cured meats and cheeses.
Served with rich olive oil and crusty bread made with good strong flour, this is the sort of dining that can really appeal. You simply get stuck into the fabulous intense, gamey flavours of some of the salamis, the bresaola, the hams, bruschetta, olives.
The cheeses that I feverishly wrote down the names of in the hope I could source them again back home, were divine.
All of this topped off with a good coffee, the ingredients for a simple but great evening.
Certainly worth a visit.
Tue-Sun: 17.00 – 00.00
Via Fuoro, 51, Sorrento
9. Pepe Bianco
Occupying a corner of the Piazz’Antonino, this airy restaurant decorated entirely in white, is a very modern European-styled establishment at which to enjoy the delicious plates created by the talented chef. Again, like all good restaurants in Sorrento, Italy the best of local seafood, meats and vegetables are conjured into modern interpretations of wonderful Italian standards and creative tasting menus.
Pepe Bianco is a beautiful restaurant in a great location.
Enjoy watching the scenery pass you by as you dine discretely in this most attractive room.
Casual or Just Fun
I really hate the word ‘budget’ when it comes to the concept of dining.
I have eaten food that might not have cost a fortune but for flavour and experience, it has been priceless. So, I am calling this section ‘Casual or Just Fun’.
The food is still wonderful and these suggested restaurants in Sorrento embrace the local ideal of what is both casual and fun.
If I haven’t already mentioned this, my death row dinner of choice is pizza. Yes indeed. A big hot slice of something really cheesy. And Antonino Esposito’s mouth-watering offerings are my pizza of choice.
Not surprisingly, Antonino is a regular guest on TV as his wonderful attitude and wizardry with the ‘humble’ pizza has been nationally acknowledged.
Once you have tried one of his divine and uncomplicated pizzas or calzone, briskly cooked in brick fired ovens you will be forever disappointed by pizzas you will eat back at home.
Dinner: 18.00-Midnight – Closed Tuesday
Piazz’Antonino, 6, Sorrento (Next to a bowling alley!)
11. Pizzeria Da Franco
For a family night out, you could try Da Franco and order your pizza by the meter. With 16 slices per meter, you can get your favourite toppings added per section and enjoy the ‘grab a slice’ fun of tucking into your ridiculously long pizza.
The quality of this pizza is really good.
Don’t think this is quantity vs quality. Certainly not. Teenagers really enjoy this experience.
You can leave your tiara at home for this indoor picnic atmosphere, paper table cloths, plastic cutlery …. fun for all ages!
Corso Italia, 265, Sorrento
12. La Cantinaccia del Popolo
An authentic Italian experience awaits. As Sorrento restaurants go this is pretty unique. You will dine shoulder to shoulder with locals and discerning travellers who want a rustic experience with solid Italian favourites. On a tiny side street, do seek it out if you like an adventure.
Lunch: 12.00-1500 Dinner: 19.00-23.00
Vico 3 Rota, Sorrento
Where to Stay in Sorrento
Sorrento, a town whose name derives from the word ‘Sirens’ referencing the tantalising femme Fatales who lured sailors to their doom on the rock of the Tyrrhenian Sea, has a population of about 17,000 citizens.
This number swells considerably during high season as the Italian villa rentals fill with tourists but somehow the laid back and gentle way of life of this pretty resort town makes navigating the small streets and thoroughfares a stimulating yet pleasant experience.
As you know, being a tourist is a hungry occupation and resort towns such as those along the famed Amalfi Coast understand the importance of offering diverse dining experiences to the many guests who are lured by the Siren call of Sorrento.
Whether you are an individual traveller, a young couple on honeymoon, families with fussy eaters, more mature travellers, gourmands or all of the above who simply wish to load their Instagram feed with mouth-watering images – Sorrento will not disappoint.
Sorrento – Italy – Food!
Sorrento is one of the larger towns in the Campania region of Italy. If you are a seasoned Italian campaigner, as I am, you will understand how each region has a distinct style of cuisine and uses ingredients specific to that region in designing its menus.
Campania is blessed by nature to have an incredibly broad range of some of the most delicious ingredients that form the best of Italian cooking. Sorrento also about 40 mins drive from all of the interesting things to do in Positano.
First off, let’s discuss the lemon. Generally, for us Northern Europeans, the lemon is something that is sliced and floats rather neglectfully in a gin and tonic. It is a sad, bitter little fruit that makes little impression on our taste buds. Well, cast that preconceived idea off the cliffs of the Nastro Azzuro as you drive into Sorrento as the queen of lemons await you.
I defy anyone to find a menu on the Sorrentine peninsula that doesn’t harness the lemon in the most inventive ways in the creation of both savoury and sweet dishes that will charm the senses.
The lemons are grown for centuries in the colourful citrus groves that surround Sorrento and produce the fruit of such texture and sweetness that the locals eat these Femminello lemons sliced as we might consume an apple.
Another remarkable ingredient that has been elevated to such greatness as to be called white pearl is the Campania Buffalo Mozzarella. A meltingly soft, fresh, creamy construct that will elevate your humble Insalata Tricolore to epic levels.
The last key ingredient I will give a special shout-out to is the San Marzano tomato that has now become the backbone of all aspirational pizza restaurants in Europe. Gone are the days when a mention of ‘tomato’ as an ingredient in a pizza would suffice.
Now it has to be a San Marzano tomato, as this has become the hallmark of greatness in the pizza world. These red luscious beauties are picked warm from the Amalfi tomato vines and arrive with a perfumed freshness to your table to enhance any feast.
Obviously, food in Sorrento, Italy encompasses the widest range of seafood, meats from the farms that picturesquely dot the hills of the Amalfi Coast, olives, fragrant herbs, as well as vegetables and fruits of dazzling varieties.
The entire coast is a living, breathing supermarket that equips the inventive and traditional chefs that have established some of the best restaurants in Sorrento. While in Italy, don’t forget to experience the luxurious Villas of Venice, overlooking the Grand Canals, an authentic Italian destination.
I’ve been a frequent visitor to this region, stayed at many Amalfi Coast vacation rentals, and always spend time in and around Sorrento.
What I truly love about visiting this fabulous town is the vast array of dining experiences to be had.
Sorrento restaurants present Italy at its best. They take the best ingredients and conjure them into something sublime.
Whether you are looking to dress in your stylish best and dine in Michelin splendour or pop on some casual summer attire to relax over some seafood pasta as the sun sets, there is a venue and a menu just waiting for you at the best restaurants in Sorrento.
Enjoy it all!
About Mairead Moriarty
Born and raised in Co Kerry, lived in London, New York, San Francisco, Dublin. Owner of one very battered suitcase, a well-worn passport and a million memories.
It seems very fitting for a travel writer that my surname translates as ‘Skilled Navigator’. Apart from an occasion when, aged 3, I got lost in a Supermarket in Tralee, I have managed to live up to my name!
Curiosity is probably the driver that has sent me on magical mystery tours around the world. I want to ‘feel’ a place. I want all my senses to be engaged: from the history and geography that has influenced a country or city, the arts and achievements of its natives, anything and everything really.
Regardless of whether I am on a local train travelling through Morocco, or poking around in Marconi’s study in Bologna or on a canal boat weaving through the heart of the English countryside, the same rules apply - ask questions, talk to locals, eat what they eat, sit quietly with nature and simply be.
Assimilate as much as is possible so as to understand the soul of a place. That is my passion. That is the compass by which I navigate.