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 cafés, 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.
- Cafès (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 that 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 beforehand, 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 EUR 46, you can pay EUR 50 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 is one vegetarian/vegan restaurant: "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 that 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.
Our Favorite Restaurants in Sorrento
Sorrento Centre (Piazza Tasso, Corso Italia, and the Old Town)
Just behind the piazza of the same name, this restaurant is a local landmark, with large, airy dining rooms good for groups, excellent cuisine, and a variety of dishes on the menu, including pizza.
Speciality: paccheri di Gragnano pasta tossed with clams in a lemon sauce
Location: Via Correale, 11/d (behind Piazza Tasso)
Telephone: +39 081 8785809
Ristorante Zi' Ntonio
A spacious restaurant set between Piazza Sant'Antonino and Piazza Tasso where it's easy to find seating even if you haven't reserved in advance. Friendly, attentive service; traditional dishes prepared with care.
Specialty: known for their "risotto special" served in a large skillet with mixed seafood and shellfish, lobster, and prawns that is large enough for two or three people.
Location: Via Luigi de Maio, 11
Telephone: +39 081 878 1623
This small eatery on Corso Italia has just opened recently but was immediately a success due to the creative takes on traditional dishes.
Specialty: linguine with burrata cheese and basil or clams and zucchini.
Location: Corso Italia, 38/D
Telephone: +39 081 878 5216
This wine bar/bistrot is just steps from Piazza Tasso and has the added perk of free parking for customers. They offer a vast selection of wines personally selected by the chef, and guided tastings.
Specialty: enormous platters with gourmet delicacies from Sorrento.
Location: Via Atigliana, 6 (a pochi passi da Piazza Tasso)
Telephone: +39 081 1825 4525
If you are looking to relax over a glass of wine and some light snacks, search out this wine bar in the narrow lanes of the historic center.
Specialty: vast wine list and a variety of cheese and charcuterie plates.
Location: Via Fuoro, 51
Telephone: +39 081 878 3691
Ristorante 0’ Parrucchiano
If you would like to sample classic Sorrentine cuisine, this is the place for you. “0' Parrucchiano - La Favorita” has been famous for over 100 years for their cannelloni, invented here in 1870. There is a beautiful internal garden and covered patio for outdoor dining.
Specialty: cannelloni, invented here in 1870.
Location: Corso Italia, 71
Telephone: +39 081 878 1321
La Cantinaccia del Popolo Trattoria
Just outside the crowded area of Sorrento popular with tourists, this trattoria is a favorite among locals for its genuine cuisine, excellent steaks, and quality meat and Sorrento food. Affordable prices.
Specialty: mixed house antipasto and gnocchi alla sorrentina.
Location: Vico Terzo Rota, 3
Telephone: +39 366 101 5497
Ristorante Museo Caruso:
This restaurant is dedicated to the famous tenor, Caruso, who spent his final years in the nearby Hotel Excelsior Vittoria. Walls are covered in memorabilia and the atmosphere is welcoming.
Specialty: try the seasonal dishes that change regularly.
Location: Via Sant'Antonino, 12
Telephone: +39 081 807 3156
Trattoria Da Emilia
This is the oldest restaurant in the tiny fishing village of Marina Grande, and the atmosphere is very traditional. A few scenes from Sophia Loren's film "Scandal in Sorrento" were shot here. The restaurant does not take reservations, so diners simply sit at the first available table. Try the seafood gnocchi. Generous portions for affordable prices.
Specialty: gnocchi tossed with seafood.
Location: Via Marina Grande, 62
Telephone: +39 081 807 2720
Ristorante Bagni Sant’Anna
The beach club restaurant serves lunch and dinner on platforms directly over the water. The menu is a bit creative, and the view over the Sorrentine coast is stunning.
Specialty: the fish and seafood dishes are a must.
Location: Via del Mare
Telephone: +39 081 807 4178/+39 339 620 6647
Ristorante Soul and Fish
The youngest generation of a historic local family of restaurateurs has completely renovated the family restaurant, giving the dining room a modern look while maintaining the traditional quality. Fish and seafood presented with elegance.
Specialty: scialatielli pasta tossed with seafood or tuna in a pistachio crust
Location: Via Marina Grande, 202
Telephone: +39 081 878 2170
Outside of Town
Ristorante Don Alfonso 1890
This gourmet restaurant is one of the best in southern Italy, with two Michelin stars and a name that is famous the world over. Dishes are created using local ingredients, including the family's farm on Punta Campanella. Located in Sant'Agata sui Due Golfi.
Specialty: don't miss the excellent tasting menus.
Location: Corso Sant'Agata, 11 - Sant'Agata Sui Due Golfi
Telephone: +39 081 878 0026
Ristorante Lo Stuzzichino
This modern eatery is also located in Sant’Agata sui Due Golfi. It began as a simple deli but over time has become known for its high-quality ingredients and impeccable preparations of traditional specialties and today is a slow food destination.
Specialty: pasta and potatoes with Provolone del Monaco and stuffed zucchini flowers.
Location: Via Deserto, 1/A - Massa Lubrense
Telephone: +39 081 5330010