Via Marina Grande 62, 80067 Sorrento, Napoli, Italy
Sorrento – Marina Grande
This is the place I would suggest my non-Italian friends for a real Italian experience. Great seafood, busy and loud, with long evening queues where tourists are not really sure weather to stick to their northern queuing instincts or joining the wrestle for a table with the very southern Italian families.
On the super famous, super photographed, super filmed marina of Sorrento, the place is a little jewel for its food, view and – not sorry to say – stereotypical Italian experience. Portions are for the daring! Let’s put it this slightly discriminatory way: a portion of spaghetti alle vongole for one Neapolitan easily feeds two British!
Frittura di Paranza
We tried all we could, thankfully it was four of us! Gnocchetti all sorrentina are a great simple classic, that you can definitely try if fish is not really your thing. Simply made with tomato sauce and super fresh stretching mozzarella, their strength lies exactly in their little but local and fresh ingredients.
Seafood Pasta (Paccheri allo Scoglio)
Seafood is the heart of the menu though. We had delicious paccheri all scoglio: large pasta with a mix of seafood, to notice the big and juicy mussels; and the never-tiring, ever-loving frittura di paranza (fried calamari, prawns, whitebait and other small fish – specifically fished on the day on a train boat called paranza. Also, in this case, served in the traditional Italian wicker tray called spasella). But the jewel in the kitchen’s crown are spaghetti alle vongole – clams. This can be served white – without tomatoes – or red – with cherry tomatoes. By no means the pasta should drown in tomato sauce! The clams must be tasted and married with the pasta. The dish must not be dry, but smooth and only slightly juicy, for it to allow you to clean it up with a piece of fragrant ‘cafone’ bread (slow rising, traditional Neapolitan bread). I loved Emilia’s version of the dish, abundant with vongole, sparkled with parsley, very faithful to the tradition. In the evenings, when families of ten or twenty come to dine, you might see the biggest quantity of spaghetti all vongole in your life, served in long and heavy oval trays, throning in the middle of long and crowded tables. I can easily say that – after the home-made spaghetti alle vongole by mum, aunt and grandma – these are the best I have ever had.
Aunt Emilia, who runs the kitchen like a queen, is a wonderful Italian woman who keeps her food to the delicious basics of our cuisine. If you have the chance, go inside and congratulate her, she will definitely appreciate it and you might also peek into the bustling kitchen where waterfalls of spaghetti and seafood are prepared for the delight of our happy palates!