Capri is one of my favorite places in Italy. We try to go there every year when we’re in the country. It’s an easy day trip when you’re on a cruise ship or staying in Rome. Of course you can spend your whole vacation relaxing on this wonderful island off the coast of Naples as well!
But whether you’re there for the day of for a week you still have to eat! Believe me Capri does not lack for restaurants, many of them with a view, and if you can’t find a place there that catches your fancy you can head up to Anacapri or down to the Marina Grande where you’ll find more restaurants.
We’ve dined at many different restaurants on this island, but my all time favorite and the one we keep returning to is Da Virginiello. We discovered this restaurants several years ago when we spent the day in Capri with my friends from Naples, Gemma and Rita. Once we got on the island they pretty much polled the taxi drivers which were the best local restaurants. Da Virginiello won hands down, it seems to be a local favorite, and really the best places to eat are the restaurants the locals frequent!
My Napolitan friends gave the place the thumbs up when we walked in and saw a clean kitchen. According to my friends you should never trust an Italian restaurant when their kitchens are hidden from public view. Well the pizza oven and kitchen are the first things you’ll see when you walk into to this restaurant.
Unlike many of the touristy restaurants on the harbor or fancy looking ones along the town’s main streets Da Virginiello is not tourity nor is it very fancy. You won’t find many tourists here, although over the years it seems to be gaining popularity with the tourist crowd. What you will find are lots of locals, specially taxi drivers, somewhat friendly waiters (they get friendlier with time, by now they know us and greet like old friends every time we return), a clean and tidy dining room with a view (if available they will happily seat you by the windows), and most importantly delicious freshly made food that tastes like home cooking at very reasonable prices. This is why we love this place!
Many of the other restaurants that cater mainly to tourists have great views, but the waitstaff can at times be indifferent (I suppose you can say some of them are jaded by having to wait on tourist everyday), the food mediocre at best, and the prices outrageous. In Italy as in most other popular tourist destinations I’m always wary of places where they try hard to get you in the door by waving menus that feature tourist menus with special prices. It’s a sure sign that the place is a tourist trap that serves microwaved meals (yes my son actually watched the waiters at a Sorrento restaurant microwave their lunch!).
Well, there’s none of that at Da Virginiello! You can watch the pizza maker make your pizza if you want, no microwaving done there!
As I’ve said we’ve dined at this place many times, we’ve taken friends and family there too and they all loved it. The place isn’t that easy to find. It’s not in the main tourist area of town, it’s actually in the opposite directions. To get there from the funicular station take walk away from the town’s main square which will be on your left, so you walk to your right. Pass the bus station, and continue walking. Stay on the right side of the street and look out for the small tile sign that’s on a low wall. You won’t see many tourists walking around this area there aren’t many tourists shops along the road once you pass the bus station. [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
Go down the alley where the arrow is pointing to. Be careful, the alley has steps going down. I know it’s not a very pretty alley, but it’s worth the sort walk I promise![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
The first place you will see on your left is Da Virginiello. You can’t miss the entrance, there’s an arched gate that leads into a courtyard. Just walk in the pizza oven will be on your left, the bathrooms are located in the hallway behind the pizza making area.
Just walk in, the dining room is split into 2 large areas, ask for a table in the lower section surrounded by large windows, you’ll have a great ocean view.
Once seated you can take as long as you want browsing the menu, there are English translations so it’s easy to order. The menu is divided by course, antipasti, primi (mostly pasta dishes), secondi (main course), contorni (sides), and dolce (dessert). They also have a drink menu. We usually order a bottle or two of house wine, they’re quite good and very reasonably priced, but if you prefer they have a selection of regional wines and beer too. Everything is ala carte meaning don’t expect a plated meal with a starch and veggies along with your main course.
In Italy you can start with the antipasto, this can be a selection of cold meats and cheese, hot appetizers, or even soup or salad. Then you move on to the primi which are a choice of pasta dishes, my grandsons love their gnocchi! My husband always has their spaghetti, he likes it almost dry with just tomatoes and basil. It’s delish![spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
Then you move on to secondi, the meat, chicken, or seafood course. This you can have with a starch such as potatoes and grilled veggies if you like, but you’ll have to order them separately.
My husband likes the grilled steak with fresh tomatoes. I love the Misto which is a mix of fried seafood including shrimp, calamari, and fish. We seriously skip the sides because we need to save room for dessert, our favorite part.[spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
But in my book there’s always room for pizza, so I always order a cheese pizza. I can’t resist it! Their fresh pizza is a bargain at about 9 Euro.
By the way it’s ok to share, many times my husband and I will share the primi and the pizza. It’s a great way to sample several dishes without getting too full. [spacer height=”20px” id=”2″]
But our favorite is their lemon cake. It’s to die for! This cake is very popular in this part of Italy. You’ll find it on the menus of many restaurants, they all look the same, but they don’t always taste the same. It’s a light lemon cake with sweet lemon icing that melts in your mouth. We’ve had it at the tourist restaurants in Marina Grande where it’s ok, but not as good as the ones we’ve had at Da Virginiello. The only other place I’ve found a cake that can rival theirs is in a small bakery in Positano which is a town across the bay in the Amalfi coast. By the way their tiramisu is yummy too!
After a meal at Da Virginiello I’m ready for a pisolino (nap)!
The last time we took friends to this restaurant our bill came out to 90 Euro for a party of 4. We had starters, primi, secondi, a pizza, a couple of bottles of wine (red & white) bottled waters, beers, and desserts, and that price included the tip! This is a bargain! When in Italy expect to pay about the same for 2 people in other restaurants in the major tourist areas.
So if you’re planning on a trip to Capri check out my favorite restaurant! It’s address is Via Lo Palazzo No. 25. You’ll be glad you did!