A feast fit for a King – Sorrento, Italy
A few weeks ago I had the BEST MEAL thus far in 2014. I’m not sure that any meal will top it this year (maybe not even my best meal of 2013) because it was so darn delicious I’m still dreaming about it. Of course, it happened it Italy, and yes, in beautiful Sorrento, on the Almalfi Coast and just down the road from the most beautiful place in Europe. The scene was set – a gorgeous Italian town, a beautiful evening, and a charming restaurant. But no-no, I wasn’t going to immediately hang my hat and call the place a winner, this restaurant earned the title.
The evening began with terribly un-scenic drive from Naples with boring views of my Mount Vesuvius (Pompeii, anyone?) and the setting sun on the Almalfi. (The girl has jokes!)
Cruising the winding SS145, with steep cliffs to our right, we rounded the last bend for a full panoramic view of the bay in which Sorrento lies. In the foreground sits the town of Sant’Agnello while further back (on the right), Sorrento.
Just outside the parking garage in the center of town, there’s an interesting little Sorrento treasure that’s often overlooked. Peering down into the deep gorge, an old stone mill is lit far below.
Moseying our way through streets as the evening sets in, Sorrento bursts of life. The streets are filled with vespas and Italians in deep conversations with their voices and hands.
We swing by the Chisea de San Francesco and the stunning overlook just beyond to catch the last of the sunset.
A short stroll up hill leads us back into the hubbub where restaurant goers are settling in for their feasts.
To our delight, space is available at the infamous Restaurante L’Abate. It’s a weeknight and just off-season so we thank our lucky stars and duck in.
Upon entry, we’re greeted with glorious cakes that look almost unreal with their glossy bright fruit and artistically decorated creams.
We settle in and place our orders. For me, the antipasti bar caught my attention. Always one for anything sautéed or marinated, I figured this would be a sure bet as a starter. I was right. Each and every single antipasti was silly-good (can I say that?) and I nearly licked my plate clean of any remaining olive oil drippings.
The freshest of mozzarella, onions with sweet balsamic glaze, marinated peppers, stuffed eggplant, mama-mia!
Next, we shared a platter of fresh octopus with a squeeze of lemon. I’d made a mistake while eating octopus before, but this time I played my cards right. The octopus was soft and sweet with a texture much like mozzarella.
Out came another appetizer for sharing, homemade gnocchi with Sorrento sauce and basil (similar tomato-cream sauce). It was certainly the most scrumptious gnocchi combination I’ve ever had, I nibbled away larger than my allotted portion.
Finally, a beautiful sesame-encrusted tuna filet arrived, sharing the stage with a cup of homemade pistachio glaze, this plate was cleaned moments after the picture was taken.
After the plates were taken, we were poured Grappa (an after dinner digestive made with brandy) as wiggled to find space in our full tummies. On the drive home I was giddy with laughter and in a state of bliss thinking back on each and every savory bite. For the love of puppies, add this restaurant to your list.
What about you, what’s the best meal you’ve had this year?