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Travel tips food: Sant Agata, Amalfi Coast

Sant'Agata is a small food mecca, including Don Alfonso 1890, one of Italy's best restaurants.

This part of the tour is about areas near Sorrento. These can be useful tips so that you can enjoy your trip even more. NB! all my photos are taken with iPhone 11.

Our destination for this part of the trip was a small town, a little way up in the mountains, called Sant'Agata sui Due Golfi.

As I said, it was precisely good Italian food that was decisive for the choice, so let's focus a little on the offer of restaurants. First, if you are particularly interested in top food experiences, you have a unique opportunity to experience just that here. Right in the center of Sant'Agata lies one of Italy's very best restaurants, namely Don Alfonso 1890. You may be disappointed, but we had not included these in the budget this time. The last time we were here in 2018, before the pandemic, it was impossible to get a table until the following year. In any case, here you just have to book well in advance. We first became aware of this restaurant in 2019 when Eivind Hellstrøm recommended it in his program on TV2. Don Alfonso is a two-star Michelin restaurant, which also gives the city a generally good reputation, which in turn means that the other restaurants make an effort to exploit this effect. Some with very good results, others with less luck!

Il Fienile - "Value for money"

Usually, we always ask local people for good restaurant tips, but this time we used the internet first. We weren't going to Don Alfonso, it wasn't in the budget, but one day I'll go here again and then -!

Santa Agata, Il Fienile restaurant (c) Ingar Naess

Instead, we chose the city's number one, based on its "short-travel kitchen", Il Fienile. We found this restaurant on TripAdvisor and thank you for that. Il Fienile is a pleasure from start to finish. The hotel we stayed at booked a place for us and one of the owners came and picked us up in a small charming old Fiat 500. The driver was the youngest son, Antonio, who was also a waiter. He smiled all the time and was very pleasant, like the rest of the family. He said that they had been running this place for ten years, just these days. The restaurant is located approx. 900m from the hotel, up on a hill with a great view of the Amalfi Coast, see the picture below.

As mentioned, they were famous for their own local vegetables and olive oil, a lovely one at that. We chose a three-course meal and in addition we got a welcome taste. Our choice fell on Marinated beef carpaccio with flakes of Parmigiano and balsamic vinegar, Ravioli stuffed with shrimps, crab, and cheese with seafood, Deep-fried shrimps and squids, with a lovely local wine. Dessert was a cake and coffee. When I also add service and atmosphere to the dining experience, this is a top recommendation, I guarantee that. When we had to pay we were really surprised, here it was a lot for the money, so therefore the recommendation rises far beyond the limits set on TripAdviser. Of course we were driven back to the hotel too, "it was just going to be missing". Recommended! So thank you very much for the food for the whole family.

Maria Rosa mamma, Giacomo store bror og Antonio og Luici pappa, Guarracino`s
Maria Rosa mamma, Giacomo store bror og Antonio og Luici pappa, Guarracino`s Il Fienile (c) Ingar Naess

The next day we went for a trip down to Sorrento for a bit of shopping, a dip in the pool and maybe something cold to drink when we get back. We often let wanderings around the streets, in the places we live, decide which restaurants we should check out more, and as you have probably understood, I often use TripAdvisor, in addition to other recommendations I can find. Tonight we were going to test the "neighbor" of Don Alfonso 1890, Lo Stuzzichino, who had received a statement in the Michelin guide. I have to admit that I learned something here that I had not read up on. A statement from Michelin means nothing when it comes to food and service at the place in question. The reason why I am writing this is to put some focus on what can almost be called abuse of the Michelin logo. Mind you, based on our experience from the visit. Take a look at the images below, which are screenshots from TripAdvisor and you will see how it appears. Don Alfonso 1890 has 2 ** and below you can see the same Michelin logo, but with the mark for statement. This is what it says in the guide, translated by Google, with a small correction:

Lo Stuzzichino the MICHELIN guide

In the center, near the church, you will find a nice restaurant with local products and recipes from Campania, and some of the vegetables come from own cultivation (Orto Ghezi), the restaurant is located in a pleasant environment, in an area with good weather and the rooms are with decorated with local ceramics, also in an open kitchen.

Lo Stuzzichino

First, I want to say that we were really looking forward to it, because many people had actually recommended this place, we hadn't booked, but took the chance. We checked the menu on the outside and saw that these were completely standard prices as in a normal restaurant, and began to wonder a little about what I hadn't got. After all, they had a Michelin logo on the presentation on TripAdvisor. Anyway, we went in and were received with great kindness, given a table and water along with the menu. The atmosphere was very good and everything indicated that this would be good. Guests poured in, and it was clear that this was a popular place and we understood that many were regulars who made their entrance. We couldn't be wrong, this had to be good.

Restaurant Lo Stuzzichino, (c)

We chose our dishes from the menu, the starter was tomato and mozzarella classic Italian, the main courses were veal and lamb. We had been given a drink and the starter arrived within a few minutes. Then the skepticism returned. If you get a positive statement in a Michelin guide, there are probably some elements you can expect. One of them is the way the food is presented and how it is served. We ate our starter which tasted quite bland, but with a little salt and a drop of extra olive oil it improved, but not great. I eat a lot with my eyes, but this was not good. If you click on the pictures below, you will see on the left the one I got and on the right how it looks on the website.

Then came the next surprise, three minutes after they had taken away the plate from the starter, the main courses arrived. Three minutes! It is possible that I am strange and spoiled, but this would have been better on the "Danish boat"! When you order lamb for a main course in Italy, you expect it to both taste good and look good, but this was completely tasteless, but it looked ok roasted. That was also all. The calf (pictured above right) was pale and sad as it lay with its fried potatoes and some lettuce leaves.

Well-behaved as we are, we ate our food and waited for them to come clear so we could order dessert. Now the restaurant was full and everyone was running around like a bunch of chickens. After a while we got our desserts, which were the highlight of the day, they should have that. We enjoyed a good ending, but we couldn't pay for almost 45 minutes. Here there were routines to be followed and the "boss" was to take the payment and thank them for the visit. As I said, it took time, but he was cheerful and nice and that always helps! It was a bit sad, but the overall impression was not much to brag about when expectations were far higher due to their "Michelin marketing". Sorry, but this will not be a recommendation. New day New opportunities.

The longer we stayed in this little town the better we liked it. Sant'Agata has a good and pleasant atmosphere and many different eateries and bars, yes something for every taste. Directly on the other side of Don Alfonso is a bar and restaurant that has been here just as long, i.e. from the end of the 19th century. The unique thing here is the atmosphere, which is completely relaxed and the laughter is loose. The old owner had also taught his cat to smoke and they still used this gimmick in their simple marketing. The pizza here is very good, but if you just want to relax with a glass, you are just as welcome. Verdermi per Credere

As I said, it's not a big city, but if you want to do a bit of shopping, it's possible, but it's quickly done. We will again plan the evening's restaurant and talk to our hotel host.

He recommends Restaurant Mimi to us and here we will eat homemade pasta. As said so done. We go beyond and are lucky and get the last available table.

This is not a Michelin restaurant, but a restaurant full of mood, which suits us well. We get the menu and order. Since it is also so hot in the evening, we drink a lot of water and local wine.

They don't have the biggest selection, but they hit the mark very well. We are recommended Bruschetta with tomato for starters, easy you might think, but! Yes, now the flavors are exploding, wow! This was real Italian food. Those tomatoes can taste so good. Now, I may be a bit more fond of Italian food than most, but I promise this was magical.

For the main course, I order, as recommended, homemade pasta with lobster. Now expectations have risen many notches and we hope that we will not be disappointed. There was no danger, this dish tops everything we have eaten so far on this trip. One thing we've noticed is that they don't cook the pasta soft, but leave a lot of chewing resistance. The fact that they have a cloud/sauce based on seafood and lobster shells makes this meal magical! This is worth the whole trip, you have to travel here and you have to eat here. Don't worry about the price, it's well within everything.

My wife had chosen the homemade lasagna and it was also a winner. Yes, what more could one wish for than pleasant company, a good atmosphere, wine and fantastic Italian food! Well, it must be a good Tiramisu and a good cup of coffee to finish.

Takk for maten til kelneren, Dylan, The Chef him self, Peppe, og hans sønn, Liberat, som assistent.

I promise and guarantee you will not be disappointed. If you want to read the whole article with the travel tips

The journey from Rome to here by car is approx. 4h 50min.

We are now traveling to Pozzuoli, the food mecca of the Neapolitans.

The next stop is only 1h 30min from Sant´Ageta and will be a new pleasure, join Pozzuoli.

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