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The Best Place to Eat

Il Ritrovo, which means a place to meet, was recommended by Gabriella who was my guide along the hike up the mountain from Positano to Montepertuso. The hike comprised of a 5 mile walk before finishing it off with 850 steps UPHILL. Needless to say when we finally arrived at Il Ritrovo I was relieved and in need of a respite. There are two parts to the restaurant, the main part and the terrace. We enter the main part first and it’s the equivalent to receiving a big hug. Exposed wood and very rustic tabletops with wine and water glasses and a white dinner napkin just so gently tied with twine. A small silver bucket of thyme with a small chalkboard marking the table number sticking out rounds out the tablescape.  Another thing that is immediately noticeable is the view of the kitchen. Situated behind paned glass it’s expansive and busting with activity. Near the entrance I passed a farmers table resplendent with about 6 different types of cookies and small sweets in tall glass jars which I later learn were all made by the restaurant.

Gabriella, in Italian starts to talk about our “little walk” up the hill and orders us prosecco. I really like her. Prosecco and a large bottle of water is presented to us and we are urged to sit. I go for the water first to quench my thirst. After chugging down 2 glasses of water I was hydrated enough to go for the prosecco. Prosecco is to be savored not chugged. And I am glad that I did because the prosecco was delicious, aromatic, crisp with a hint of pear. Just what I needed after a long trek up the mountain.
We slowly finish our drinks and enjoy the chatter as well as smell the dishes that are being escorted from the kitchen. My stomach starts to rumble. The food looks and smells amazing. As each dish is brought out of the kitchen I follow it with my eyes and instinctively lick my lips. It’s time to eat.
It appears that all of the guests are eating on the terrace and that’s good because the view was breathtaking and made me realize how far we really walked. I’m now thinking that it’s over 850 steps from the look of it. We sit and are presented with our menus. Gabriella has recommendations from the menu as she has been here before. Before I start perusing the menu I take in the atmosphere of the terrace. Interesting white light fixtures hang purposefully from the ceiling and there is a painting, mural on the wall opposite from the wrap around glass that provides a view of the ocean which is dark outside of the twinkle light from the yachts spread out below. I think to myself that it’s already beautiful and I haven’t even eaten any food.
Back to the menu. There are several dishes of fresh fish (in crazy water), fresh homemade pasta and steak. Well, one thing I know for sure I did not come all this way for steak so I settled on my favorite dish by the sea, the grilled polpo (octopus) as my appetizer and ravioli with truffle sauce for my main entree. My guest did not order an appetizer, she was going to share mine (which was dangerous because I love polpo). For her entree she ordered the Brazilian steak which as she explains it is special cut beef. Orders placed and menus taken we go back to discussing all things life, New York City and the winter season in Positano.
The appetizer arrives and its huge and looks absolutely delicious. The polpo (octopus) is grilled with the perfect amount of char distributed along each piece. The dish is served with caper berries, olives, tomatoes, radicchio and fennel. The caper berries had the taste of capers with a hint of sweetness to go along with the saltiness. The tomatoes were fresh and although heated through they still held their shape and were bursting with flavor. The one thing that I realized is that everything in Italy is so fresh, right off the vine, out of the ground fresh which just, in my opinion, transforms dishes.
There was so much of the appetizer we had to stop eating in order to leave room for our entrees. As I take my last piece of polpo from the plate, the waiters arrive with the entrees. My order is comprised of 3 ravioli that are the size of large grapefruits. Gabriella’s steak entree literally looked like 3 individual NY Strip steaks on her plate. The portion sizes here are huge.
The truffle sauce looks delightfully delicious and creamy. The pasta is cooked perfectly al dente and the cheese filling is savory, ultra creamy and smooth. Each bite was an experience for my taste buds. The dish was simple but with complex flavors. The hint of truffle, the perfect amount of bite to the pasta, the creaminess of the filling. Just delicious.
My recommendation is to go to Il Ritrovo for a dining experience. Where your taste buds will dance and your stomach will thank you. It’s good for groups and the atmosphere leans more towards the romantic side so if you have a date and want to guarantee another bring them here.
Il Ritrovo
Via Montepertuso, 84017 Positano SA

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