“Da Adolfo? Ahhh… bellissimo. Good food!”, the hotel receptionist said with a broad smile as I mentioned that my friend and I were heading there. Da Adolfo is a little beachside restaurant, a short boat ride away from Positano, on the Amalfi Coast. We headed down to the Positano jetty and asked around which boat we should take. We were instructed to wait around, the boat would arrive around 11am, and they told us to look out for the big fish hanging above the boat. A few minutes later, we saw the ‘big fish’ approach. Nope, no way we could’ve missed that one! The cheery boatman helped us into the boat along with a few others. The boat ride to Da Adolfo gave us our first opportunity to see Positano from the sea. The small town, clinging precariously to the steep cliffs, looked absolutely stunning in the morning light.
We arrived at Da Adolfo to find a beach that was nothing more than a narrow stretch of course sand, crammed with deckchairs. The restaurant, with its wooden tables and chairs, overlooked the beach.
After a quick swim, we decided to head up to the restaurant. We ordered a bottle of wine and had a look at the menu that was basically a list of scribble on the boards. I peered into the kitchen and saw the cook, an elderly man. He looked at me with inquisitive eyes, then smiled and nodded. At that moment, I knew we were in for a treat. This man looked liked he’s cooked a thousand meals and treasured each and every one. His eyes gave it away. Definitely not jaded, I thought. He loved to cook and enjoyed seeing the delight in people’s faces when they tasted his food.
The tables at the restaurant filled up quickly. The crowd was mostly Italian, with a handful of tourists. It became clear to us that a trip to Da Adolfo was not so much a day at the beach, but a celebration of life as it should be: some time at the beach, wonderful food, wine and great company. Friends and family sat at long tables and it soon became a noisy, amusing affair. Jokes were told, serious discussions were held and the kids joined in the banter.
I sat back and allowed these charming scenes to sink in. The cold Tramonti wine tasted heavenly: fresh, fruity, yet well-rounded with slight hints of vanilla. Just the way I like my whites.
The food soon arrived. My first course was a seafood platter which was absolutely delicious. Then came the second course, my favourite: spaghetti alio olio peperoncino. It was sublime. I asked out loud: “How can something so simple taste so good?” I mean, it’s just pasta with olive oil, heaps of garlic and some red peppers. The answer, we concluded, was just as simple. This is food that’s prepared with the heart; where loving attention is lavished on every step of the preparation. I felt really blessed.
The main course, grilled swordfish, was equally superb. It was grilled to perfection and covered with a sprinkling of sea-salt, black pepper and chopped basil. I took my time savouring each and every bite. In between, I took small sips of the cool wine and admired the view. The sea sparkled in the afternoon sun like a silky blanket covered by thousands of glittering diamonds. Bliss!
My dreamy state came to an abrupt halt when a kid bumped into my rickety chair. I grabbed the (equally rickety) table to steady myself and by doing so sent the plates flying into the air. Everything came bouncing back down with a deafening clang. We miraculously managed to catch the wine glasses just as they were tipping over. The noisy chatter stopped dead in its tracks and everyone looked our way. Mommy came over and pulled her kid’s arm, while apologising profusely. “Va bene”, I muttered. Pfff…
The people at the surrounding tables laughed and started chatting with us. There was an American couple from San Francisco, and an Italian with his British wife who live in Capri. We were soon joined by another American couple from New York. We gulped down our desserts (a gorgeous home-made tiramisu) and I was soon back in my blissful state. 🙂
If you’re heading to Positano, don’t miss the mesmerising experience of a day at Da Adolfo.
Read other articles on my trip to the Amalfi Coast: