Perched high on the clifftop above Positano, Montepertuso is the home of Il Ritrovo Ristorante. With windows open to the sea and the finest Italian cuisine on the table, Chef Salvatoré will treat you to unmatched Mediterranean style dishes and a memorable experience on the Amalfi Coast.
Location: Via Montepertuso, 77 – 84017 Positano, Italy. Website here.
Menu: The mouthwatering dinner menu features enticing Antipasti dishes. They include delightful presentations of grilled octopus with caper flowers, eggplant parmigiana with a typical smoked cheese, cold cuts, and cheese with the Chef’s jam, and delicate zucchini flowers or king prawns in tempura.
The Primi Piatti are pasta dishes with local seafood, Costa d’Amalfi Lemon Sauce, sausages, or walnuts and cheese. The pasta is always made by hand with fresh, natural ingredients daily in Salvatore’s kitchen.
Two Secondi Piatti menus offer local fish and seafood, or hearty cuts of beef and lamb served with vegetables and potatoes.
Contorni, the side dishes, include arugula and cherry tomato salad, Greek salad, French fries, and a vegetable and potato pie.
Thoughts: My first meal at Il Ritrovo started with a small helping of linguini-style pasta and a light sauce to go with the red wine Salvatoré hand selected for us, followed by an enormous platter of hot, simmering seafood. In addition to the fresh mussels, local fish, shrimp, and clams were swimming in the delectable broth.
The dining room has picture windows thrown wide and a view of the sea to enjoy on a sunny day. Glass dome cloche covers protect cookies and pastries made in house. A second outdoor kitchen holds the pizza oven where they make their pizza and delicious bread.
Whether you know Salvatoré or not, you become instant friends when he comes out of the kitchen to greet you. Everyone is a friend, and every occasion is a party. Whether the restaurant is dressed up for an event, or just ready for lunch, you can anticipate an outstanding meal.
Salvatore’s signature cocktails, some made with a lemon slash or homemade limoncello, include a large selection of spirits. Top of the line gins, vodka, and whiskey are offered with a tonic selection or drink pairing. A “must-have” is the Il Ritrovo Margarita or one of the Spritz Mania drinks.
Regional craft beers from Umbria, Campania, and Piemonte are offered with “Temporary” beers such as limited editions of Belgium beers and one from England. With over 400 wines to select from and a broad soft drink menu, you will want to make this hilltop restaurant a destination when you are in Positano.
The Amalfi Coast is famous for limoncello because of the abundance of lemon trees in the sunny Mediterranean region. Whether the lemons are used in sauces, slashed for garnish, or steeped in alcohol for enjoyment as a velvety aperitif or digestif, it is a taste that you won’t want to miss.
Afraid of making that hair-raising drive up the curving mountain road at night? Call Il Ritrovo, and they will pick you up. The ride is especially welcome if you join in the merriment with the host and the extensive bar menu. During the day, you can take the bus and get off at the Bivio Montepertuso stop. You will be at their front door in the plaza.
If you want to make an authentic Italian cooking class part of your travel itinerary, be sure to call ahead and schedule it with Salvatoré. You will gather in the kitchen around the giant counter, the center point of his domain. Salvatoré wields the ingredients, teaches you how to knead pasta into submission, and roll it out for his handmade dishes. Many hands may joyfully create little gnocchi in the process, too. You will end the session feasting on the fruits of your labor.
Salvatoré and I have been friends for many years. Having watched and photographed his food shopping, cooking, teaching, and hosting, I guarantee you that his meals are extraordinary and fun!
Price Range: Starters from $17-22, Pasta dishes from $18-22, Fish from $24-28, Meat from $28-66, Sides are $7-11.
Disclosure: Il Ritrovo hosted me for this meal.