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Restaurants in Sorrento
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Restaurants in Sorrento

All the information you need to dine out in Sorrento

If there's one thing we know for sure, it's that you won't go hungry in Sorrento. It's hard to walk more than a few steps in this resort town along Italy's coast without passing a restaurant...not to mention the caffés, pubs, wine bars, and gelato shops that line the streets downtown.

Everything you need to know about dining in Sorrento:

  • Lunch is served from 12:30pm to 3:00pm and dinner from 7:30pm to 11pm (or even later in the summer). That said, there are many restaurants which serve meals all day long, so you can have a late lunch or an early dinner.
  • Caffès (called bars in Italy) are different from restaurants. We don't recommend eating at any establishment which calls itself a "bar" (those lining Piazza Tasso, for example), which usually only offer food which is frozen or pre-prepared. Follow the Italians' lead and only order drinks at the bar. Vice versa, it is bad form to occupy a restaurant table if you are only ordering drinks and not a full meal.
  • It's a good idea to reserve a table before hand, especially for dinner...though it is perfectly fine to stop in and request a table spur of the moment without having previously reserved. A day before, or even during the day for the same evening, is usually sufficient to be able to reserve a table in all but the most popular restaurants.
  • Italian cuisine does not generally center around a "main dish", but instead consists of a series of courses from appetizer (antipasto), a first course of pasta or rice (primo), a second course of meat or fish and vegetable side dishes (secondo), and dolce. Italians usually order only two or three courses, between an antipasto, either a primo or a secondo, and dessert...unless it's a special occasion! Side dishes must be ordered separately, as they usually are not automatically included with the second course.
  • Tips are never required, as most restaurants already add a "coperto", a type of service charge. It is customary to simply leave your small change as a small gratuity. For example, if the bill is EUR46, you can pay EUR50 and leave the change.
  • Avoid restaurants which have staff outside attracting customers; these are always very touristy and of dubious quality.
  • There are no ethnic restaurants in Sorrento...the most "international" you can get is a couple of kebab stands!
  • There are no vegetarian restaurants in Sorrento, besides "Mondo Bio" an organic shop which has a small restaurant. That said, you'll find vegetarian options on any restaurant menu, as Italian cuisine has many traditional dishes which are vegetarian.
  • Cappuccino is strictly a breakfast drink. You can order it after dinner, but it would be like ordering a bowl of corn flakes!

Traditional dishes and foods from Sorrento:

  • Gnocchi alla sorrentina: fresh pasta tossed with tomato sauce and melted mozzarella
  • Citrus: Sorrento is famous for its lemons and oranges, grown in local groves covered in traditional shades known as "pagliarelle". Local lemons are used to make "limoncello", a traditional sweet liqueur served after meals.
  • Provolone del Monaco: a local soft cheese aged from 6 to 18 months, slightly sharp.
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Walnuts from Sorrento: used to make "nocino", an after-dinner liqueur.

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