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The Amalfi Coast, Capri, and Naples Restaurants

Don Alfonso 1890

  • Corso Sant'Agata 13 Map It
  • $$$$
  • Fodor's Choice

Updated 12/12/2013

Fodor's Review

The late RW Apple, the New York Times' famous traveling epicure, once declared Don Alfonso the best restaurant in Italy, and it remains a gastronomic giant. The restaurant, a sort of southern Italian Chez Panisse—pioneer in upscale farm-to-table cuisine—grows all its own produce on a small farm nearby. The operation is a family affair, with mama (Livia) in the dining room and papa (former chef Alfonso Iaccarrino) these days tending to the organic plot. And now

their sons have moved into the business—one as head chef, the other maitre'd. The menu reflects this generational shift, with classic dishes listed beside more edgy inventions. Delicate cheese ravioli topped with a ragu of house-grown tomatoes, might give way to more contemporary fare like fried lobster nuggets or sea urchin ice cream with rose fettuccine.

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Restaurant Information

Address:

Corso Sant'Agata 13, Sorrento, 80064, Italy

Map It

Phone:

081-8780026

Restaurant Details:

  • Closed Nov.–Mar, and Mon. No lunch Tues. June–Sept.; Apr., May, and Oct. closed Tues.

Updated 12/12/2013

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Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating
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Jul 3, 2011

Don Alfonso 1890 Review

Can't wait to return here again!! Was here with my family for 50th Anniversary celebration. Please read my trip report under the blog section. The food, hotel, and people were so amazing it was like a dream! The decor thru out the entire hotel is so charming, I wish I could buy the antiques and recreate it here in the US. Was able to purchase some of the vietri ceramics made exclusively for Don Alfonso their local olive oil, honey and jam from

the store. The visit to the farm was a highlight to see the vision behind all the incredible meals. The Iaccarino family and staff at Don Alfonso will make you feel like family. It's a MUST if you are planning a trip to the Amalfi Coast.

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By Beth

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Apr 5, 2006

One of the Best in Italy

I have travelled all over the world in my job and enjoy eating both in casual local cafes and trying highly rated restaurants. I think your person from Ohio is over reacting on Don Alfonso. He could have spoken up and asked if the champagne was complimentary before drinking it. And it seems on that basis he condemned everything about that restaurant. From the food quality to the setting, it is one of the best in Italy. As befitting any top restaurant,

the prices are according to where one dines. As for the statement that cab drivers laughed about that being such a good restaurant, I would hardly say a cab driver is the best fine dining critic. I am writing this because I feel he unfairly portrayed this wonderful place.I advise all my friends and clients when going to the Amalfi or Sorrento area, that for a really wonderful evening out,to make Don Alfonso a must on their trip. C

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By Gary

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Sep 29, 2005

Rip Off Joint-Watch Out!

My wife and I ate at Don Alfonso 1890 on Sept. 17, 2005. When we arrived we were offered a glass of champagne. Much to our surprise when the bill came Don Alfonso charged us a whooping 50 euros (about $63 U.S.) for the two glasses. Normally when a restaurant offers you champagne upon arrival and doesn't tell you the variety or price one would assume that it is gratus. After telphoning Mario he did refund the 50 euros, apologized and even sent gifts

to our hotel room but I still feel that this was a blatant attempt to rip me off and others should be duly warned. Fodor's, I relied on your rave review to go to this restaurant. The hotel people in Italy that I spoke, as well as taxi drivers laugh when I told them this--they all say that they would never advise going to Don Alfonso. Apparently you haven't yet caught on.

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By Jeffrey

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May 23, 2005

Quite Simply "Superb"

The purest ingedients superbly prepared with the true eye of a pure artist all elegantly assembled in a magnificent setting.

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May 18, 2003

Top Quality & Service

I have to agree the decor is not to everyone's taste (a little frou-frou), but it is very clean & impeccable, as was our meal & service at lunch. We enjoyed the tour down into the depths of the very deep wine cellar (ancient tomb) to the cheese "Sanctuary" (pretty fantastical). Everything we tasted was made with the freshest ingredients with extreme care and perfectly presented. Service & timing was right on. You could tell that all the employees

were proud of their place and rightly so! Always ther without being intrusive.

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By n

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May 12, 2003

Believe the hype

Have to say that I am really surprised at the negative comments below so feel I must jump to Don Alfonso's defence. Yes, the decor is not to everyone's taste (pastel pinks etc)but the food and service are second to none, which is surely more important than whether you like the table-cloths or not. I have travelled and eaten extensively in Italy and this is without a doubt one of the top three restaurants in the country. The food is sublime - one pumpkin

souffle I had rates as possibly the best dish I have ever eaten. The service was suitably attentive for a 3 star restaurant but thankfully relaxed unlike your average Michelin starred French restaurant. And one must remember that service is invariably slower in Italy than the States or elsewhere as Italians, quite rightly, take their time over their food and the eating of it. The sommelier in particular is a gem - where so many are arrogant and invariably point you to some of the more pricey bottles on the list, Don Alfornso's is hugely knowledgeable and is charm personified. The wine list here is one of the best Italian lists in the world and can be quite intimidating so put yourself in the sommelier's hands and you will not be disappointed. The last time I went there were two Hollywood couples eating there separately and they got no more or no less attention than the rest of the diners. And as far as being busy, excellent restaurants are (e.g. El Bulli; French Laundry; Petrus, Daniel etc etc) and Don Alfonso is no exception to that rule. In my opinion its worth a trip to the Amalfi Coast just to eat here.

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Apr 22, 2002

Save your money for a "real Italian restaurant"!

Just came back from trip to Amalfi coast. Opted to go for the positive responses to this restaurant, but wish we had heeded the negative. Started with a martini in an old-fashioned glass. That should have been a hint. Restaurant looks like a beauty salon with Frank Sinatra music playing. Felt like we were in California, not Italy. Livia runs around greeting guests then totally mixes up your order. Yes, she's the owner. Watched a "rich and famous"

couple get lots of attention and heard the man's boisterous comments to the waiters he knew well. Spent $300. which included cab fair to this out of the way spot which was so warm inside, my husband had to sweat through the entire meal. Don't waste your time, folks, if you are visiting Italy and looking for a truly romantic dining experience with candlelight and Italian music. Try L'Antica Trattoria in Sorrento which has this place beaten by a mile. Having dined at some fine European restaurants, this was truly a disappointment and a costly one.

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By William

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May 18, 2001

Incomparable -- almost as good as gourmet sex

I've travelled more than one time from the far corners of the world to dine on the incredible meals here. One of the best restaurants in the world for quality and presentation of food with an incomparable wine cellar. Don Alfonso and his wife are wonderful and gracious hosts as well.

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