Continuing on with the Ischia talk, I figured I'd highlight one of my favorite parts of a vacation - the food.
If I had to sum up the Ischian cuisine in one dish it'd be: frutta di mare (seafood). Of course, this is understandable since they are surrounded by the sea...but it makes it a bit challenging for me since I don't eat seafood. One of the most talked about restaurants in Ishicia Ponte is Ristorante da Ciccio, known for amazing family service and traditional Ischian fare. The first night on the island we ate here and had a great table outside, wonderful servers, and amazing dessert...and I ordered the only *one* thing on the menu without seafood. It was very flavorful...but I knew that I wasn't eating the specialty. Other evenings through the week we tried some pizzas, pastas, and great salads. They definitely use a lot of rucola (arugula, rocket) which is my favorite green of all time. So I think at least one meal included this each day.
One afternoon as we were just walking alongside the beach road back from Ischia Porto, we decided to grab an afternoon snack at one of the private beach's open-air cafe. We enjoyed "mozzarella in carrrozza" (fancy Italian version of a grilled cheese...mainly with a smokey mozzarella between two slices of bread which have been coated in a milk/egg wash) along with a cold mix of Campari e Prosecco...and a gorgeous view of the Castello Aragonese. Brilliant.
Another evening, we found a place on the main pedestrian strip of Ischia Porto called Bar Diana. We spotted it because of the HUGE lemons on the outdoor tables, which our server told us were a rare type from Calabria. We stayed for an aperitivo and had blood orange and lemon (handsqueezed) sodas - which was a very seasonal choice from the famous citrus of the region.
Overall, the most amazing dining experience on the entire trip (and definitely up on the list for most amazing dining experience ever) was the evening we went to Il Giardino Eden.
We were told about this place by fellow blogger, Tracie who lived in Ischia for a while...and a big grazie mille for the recommendation! One of the greatest parts about it, was that after making our reservation, they sent for a boat to pick us up on the harbor by our hotel and bring us to the restaurant dock entrance.
The sun was setting when we took off in a small boat with just us two and the driver. We passed by the Castello, and under the small walking bridge leading between the castle and the mainland, then to a rocky side of the town where an old crumbling Roman wall lines the sea. We finally arrived at the dock extending from the open-air dining area and our server in a white linen suit met us at the boat and led us to our table.
The food was immaculately prepared, amazingly tasteful and I can't say enough about the super friendly service.
...and I don't know of another place that can beat the view.
After our several courses, they asked if they should call the boat again. Well, yes please. So we were escorted by sea back to the harbor near our hotel and smiled at the experience and our full bellies.
Via Luigi Mazzella, 32
Il Giardino Eden
Via Nuova Cartaromana, 62