Gemma recently headed off on a food filled holiday to the Bay of Naples visiting the islands of Ischia, Capri and then spending a couple of days in Naples. The Naples write up is coming soon – there was far too much food on this holiday for one post! Here are her top recommendations for Ischia and Capri.
Ischia is the largest island in the bay and is most known for its mineral packed thermal waters – perfect for a relaxing break! We took the ferry from Naples across to the island, which took about an hour, and was an amazing journey across the beautiful bay. We treated ourselves to a 5 star start to our break, after spotting a deal on Voyage Prive for the Terme Manzi Hotel and Spa. This place was INSANE. So beautiful, staff were friendly and helpful and the pool areas (one on the roof and a spa on the ground floor) were dreamy. We didn’t try the food here as the prices were out of our budget (23 euros for a chicken sandwich!) so we headed into the nearby town to try the local cuisine.
On the first night we went to Casamicciola Terme and discovered a foodies dream. It was a charity evening to raise money following the recent earthquake so all the restaurants and locals hit the street for a fundraiser. Stalls lined the main street with the whole town coming out in support. For 10 euros you could buy a ticket which got you one antipasti, one primi, one secondi, a dessert and a beer or wine. Told you it was a foodies dream! The choices were amazing – my highlights were grilled swordfish served with an anchovy bruschetta and a fritto misto. We could barely move by the end of it – what a great start to our foodie trip to the region.
We also ate at Taverna Antonio Di Antonio Cervera in Ischia Porto which was a great value dinner. Starting with a smoked mozzarella bruschetta (dreamy) we then had a table of seafood pasta for our main. The clam vongole was perfectly seasoned and cooked; truly this region on a plate. We also had seafood gnocchi – this consisted of tiny gnocchi balls in a seafood and tomato sauce, studded with mussels, clams and prawns. This was beautifully rich and fragrant and full of seafood flavour.
We then headed off on the ferry to Capri, about 40 minutes across the bay from Ischia. This is picture postcard pretty. It is absolutely jaw droppingly beautiful – your Instagram is going to look good after a visit here! We stayed at a B&B in Anacapri, about a ten minute drive from Capri Town, at an amazing little place run by a local resident called Luigi. This was such a bargain (only 100 for us both for two nights) and set in the grounds of his property. About a ten minute walk from Anacapri town and the main bus routes around the island it was a great location for exploring. We immediately headed off to do the chair lift in Anacapri, which had the most awe inspiring views and is well worth the money to get to the top. We chose to do only one way as Luigi recommended we walk down, which was tough, but worth it to see more of the amazing Capri countryside.
Capri is definitely more expensive than Ischia – you will need a millionaires budget to get drunk in Capri Town! Expect to pay about 8-9 euros for a beer and similar for a wine, and they will charge service too. However, all drinks come with a snack which is something I can get on board with. We chose to eat in Anacapri both nights as it was a better price and easier for us to get back. The first night we went to Aumm Aumm Ristorante Pizzeria – super cheap and AMAZING pizza! For two pizzas and a bottle of wine it was 30 euros and truly one of the best pizzas I have ever eaten.
We also went to La Taberna degli Amici, again about a ten minute walk from the apartment we were staying in. This was a great find! It was pretty quiet when we went, but did fill up throughout the evening, and is run by a family. They were really friendly and it was a lovely environment to tuck into some authentic Italian cuisine. Here we tried a rabbit pasta which was absolutely beautiful, and definitely a dish we will look to make at home. We also had a seafood spaghetti which was served as a huge portion! It was a dish that summed up our Italian food adventure – quality ingredients, bold flavours and simple cooking. Delicious. We also had desserts- trying a tiramisu and a caprese tart (a Capri speciality made with chocolate and almonds). This along with wine and limoncello came to 50 euros – really great value.
One final thing I highly recommend in Capri is travelling down to Punta Carena Lighthouse for the sunset. We went in the day to swim in the sea at Lido del Faro and sunbathe, after Luigi recommended it as a popular spot with locals. Once the sun started to set we found a bar on the cliff and tucked into a few glasses of well priced wine (and snacks of course). The snacks here including a savoury seaweed dougnut (absolutely delicious despite how that sounds) and some great bruschetta. The views were truly unbelievable and sum up the beauty of this island. We sat here for over an hour revelling in the sunset views (and the wine and snacks).
It was a truly wonderful trip with amazing food, people and views. I will definitely be bringing back the cooking styles to the Gills kitchen as I adored the flavours, respect for ingredients and simple dishes.