Capri Palace Hotel and Spa restaurant review

Capri Palace Hotel and Spa restaurant review

by Tom Riby 29 May 2015

While visiting the enchanting isle of Capri, Great Italian Chefs producer Tom Riby samples the culinary delights of Capri Palace Hotel and Spa.

Tom worked as the producer for Great Italian Chefs.

Tom worked as the producer for Great Italian Chefs.

Before I left to visit the Island of Capri for our next meetings with Chefs Andrea Migliaccio and Salvatore Elefante I was told, “don’t go! You’ll never come back” my friend who knows Italy very well likes to offer advice when it comes to discovering new places and in addition warned me about the incredible tastes of the lemons which, are like nothing you’ve ever experienced before.

The island of Capri is more famous for its list of ‘A’ list visitors than its natural beauty and variety of ingredients on offer, it has always been a playground and movie set for screen goddesses Brigitte Bardot and Sophia Loren; a magnet for artists and writers such as Graham Greene and W. Somerset Maugham and even the great Roman and Greek emperors of the time would vacation here.

Once you leave the port of Naples on the ferry to Capri it takes a good 30 minutes until you begin to see the island appearing on the horizon as a stark mass of limestone rising out of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Villas perched precariously on hillsides and fishing boats bobbing on the waves. You can even see the island's iconic towering rocks, called faraglioni, which inspired Chef Francesco Sposito’s dish.

Once I arrived and took the taxi up high on the zig zag roads into Anacapri I was captivated by the colours and smells of the island. It is believed that citrus fruits arrived in Capri in the tenth century, and have lent their famous colours and perfume to the island ever since. It is not surprising that lemons and herbs have characterised the island, it is the habit of every housewife to cram her windowsills with terracotta pots filled with herbs. The typical herbs of Capri are basil, with medium sized green leaves, marjoram and oregano, with small dark green leaves, parsley, and thyme. They all have an extremely intense perfume that can be enjoyed across the land.

During my visit to Capri I stayed at the Capri Palace Hotel and Spa, a luxury hotel that is a gem of personal taste looked after personally by its owner Tonino Cacace, who has a distinctly modern aesthetic, and the sleek interiors feature pieces from his personal art collection. When I met Tonino he talked to me about his hotels and restaurants with a great emphasis on showcasing a true, sophisticated and elegant Capri that paints a picture of 1960s Italy as seen in the movies. Here is a man who is so passionate about his island and with two of the best restaurants with top chefs he has a lot to be proud of.

The Capri Palace Hotel and Spa
The Capri Palace Hotel and Spa
Andrea Migliaccio's Red prawn with foie gras, green apple and gin
Andrea's signature Red prawn with foie gras, green apple and gin

Capri Palace Hotel and Spa has a selection of three restaurants but the two I wanted to visit were L’Olivio by Chef Andrea Migliaccio and Il Riccio by Chef Salvatore Elefante, both of whom have very different styles of cooking and therefore two very distinctive types of restaurants both of which you can read more about on the website.

Here I tried some of the most particular dishes of Capri including Ravioli Caprese, a traditional dish made of Ricotta and Tomatoes from the island. You can taste the most beautiful San Marzano tomatoes that grow on the island adding to the rich intensity of aromas lifting from the dish.

Traditional seafood all locally caught and prepared by Chef Salvatore Elefante is simply made. Highlighting the bright colours and rich flavours of Capri is a dish I particularly enjoyed. The lobster was plated with rocket and dressed with lemon and olive oil. So simple yet so tasty.

L’Olivio shows a pleasing variation to Il Riccio’s simplicity. Here you can find Chef Andrea Migliaccio creating more complex dishes that have earned him 2 Michelin Stars.

One of the most memorable dishes from a tasting menu of 8 courses was Andrea Migliaccio’s signature dish; gambero rosso (Red Prawn) with foie gras, green apple and gin. This dish Andrea mentioned to me is his favourite and something he'd like to be remembered for. The prawn is carefully selected from the local fisherman’s treasures from the morning and lightly seasoned with lemon, oil and salt. The foie gras is small but rich in flavour with a helping of apple sauce to combine the flavours delicately. This dish is followed by a small gin and tonic that for me was more of a nostalgic moment that took me away on those long summer holidays.

Capri was an incredible experience and one that I was able to see from another point of view. Being a part of the Capri Palace Hotel and Spa team for the week allowed me to access the true working lives of these restaurants and livelihoods that are inspired by the island’s natural larder of ingredients and culture. Here is an island that begs you to look deeper than the normal tourist spots but to find the true elegance of this stunning location that makes it one of the most beautiful destinations in the world.