Are you planning a trip to Capri and aren't sure what island dishes to sample? Here's a short guide to the traditional cuisine on Capri, with a few of our personal suggestions!
The most famous dish on Capri is ravioli capresi, made with a simple pasta dough using equal parts flour and water, resulting in a particularly light pasta. The filling is made with parmigiano and aged caciotta cheese, and marjoram, and the cooked ravioli are tossed with a fresh tomato and basil sauce. It's a light and flavorful first course, perfect for vegetarians, and served in virtually every restaurant on the island of Capri.
A variation of ravioli capresi: instead of boiling them like pasta, the filled ravioli can be fried and are delicious served as a starter or snack alongside an evening cocktail.
Other of the island's traditional first courses are scialatielli, a fresh ribbon pasta, thicker than tagliatelle, made from a dough of flour, water, parmigiano, chopped fresh basil, and salt, and often served with seafood or sautéed vegetables, and spaghetti alla Nerano, tossed with zucchini and cheese.
After a first course of pasta, try ordering local pezzogna (red seabream) or your second course, a type of fish very often caught along the shores of Capri and prepared all'acqua pazza, or in a sauce made of cherry tomatoes, parsley, garlic, and extra virgin olive oil. Other fish commonly served on Capri are saraghi (banded seabream), dentici (dentex), octopus, and totani (a type of calamari).
Seafood lovers visiting the island wil also find excellent local shrimp caught on the sea floor between Capri and Massa Lubrense, which are served sautéed or eaten raw with just a bit of olive oil. They are also often tossed with pasta or served in a risotto.
One of the most beloved dishes on the island is l'impepata di cozze, which is a mussel dish often served as an appetizer, placed at the center of the table to me eaten by everyone in the party.
All these local specialties are best paired with a light white wine; if you are dining near Migliera at Anacapri, try the local excellent wine, or order a bottle of Falanghina del Sannio or a white wine from Vesuvius, such as Lacrima Christi.
There is no better way to end your meal than with a generous slice of torta caprese, a local chocolate and almond cake, which is traditionally served with a small, icy glass of limoncello.
According to legend, this lemon-based sweet liqueur, served after meals, was invented on the island of Capri (though nearby Sorrento and Amalfi make the same claim!). What we do know for sure is that the brand name "limoncello" was first registered by an islander, grandson of Maria Antonia Farnace, hostess of a small, historic inn in the center of Anacapri, who would offer this digestive made from fruit from the inn's own lemon grove.
What about a snack? On Capri, you have to try a panino caprese! This simple sandwich is made with fresh tomato slices, fior di latte mozzarella cheese from Agerola, basil, and extra virgin olive oil. It is prepared in the morning and eaten at lunch, so the bread has time to absorb the flavors, and is best consumed on the beach or on board a boat...if you get a bit of salty sea spray on it, all the better to enhance the flavor!
If you're looking for a budget meal that won't break the bank, read our suggestions for "Eating for Cheap on Capri".
Also, here is our complete list of restaurants on Capri.