In the spiritual home of the anchovy, Pasquale Torrente’s restaurant serves simple dishes making the most of Campania’s coastal produce.
16 Piazza S. Francesco
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  • Al Convento
    16 Piazza S. Francesco, Cetara, Italy, Campania, 84010
    +39 089 261039
    Restaurant reservations

    Few restaurants can boat walls featuring frescoes dating back to the Middle Ages, but at Al Convento, a convent-turned restaurant in Cetara on the Amalfi Coast, they are there on full display. It was abandoned until chef Pasquale Torrente’s parents turned it into a simple restaurant in 1969, and now attracts foodies from all over the world who are looking to taste the famous local anchovies.

    The dining room itself is stunning, with tall ceilings and white pillars allowing the historic frescoes to take centre stage. Everything is about simplicity here, with clean, pure design and nods to the heritage of the building everywhere you look. This matches the food perfectly, which has managed to become famous throughout Italy without needing to become complex and intricate.

    The star of the show at Al Convento is undoubtedly the local anchovies, which come in all sorts of guises. One of the starters sees them prepared in seven different ways, and is a fantastic introduction to why people travel to this little fishing village specifically for the seafood. There is an entire menu focusing on anchovies, be they fresh, preserved or turned into colatura, the famous fermented fish sauce local to the area. The restaurant is also very well-known for its ziti pasta with a tuna sauce, and the on-site pizza oven means a variety of pizzas can be ordered as well.

    As well as anchovies, chef Pasquale Torrente has made his name by being an expert in deep-frying food, which you can taste at Al Convento’s Cuopperia. Fish and seafood of all sorts is fried until crisp in a delicate, light batter, served simply with a squeeze of lemon to enjoy while you walk around the village.

    In summer the restaurant gets very busy as it has plenty of seating outside, right next to the ocean under a beautiful pergola. As one of the most beautiful restaurants on the Amalfi Coast, it is a must-visit for anyone in the area – just make sure you’re prepared for an anchovy-filled feast.

    Three things you should know
    From October to May Al Convento is closed on Wednesdays, but during the high season it opens seven days a week.
    The restaurant underwent a complete refurbishment in April 2018, to better showcase the historic frescoes of the building and to make the dining room more relaxed and sociable.
    Al Convento and Pasquale Torrente featured in an episode of No Reservations, where the late Anthony Bourdain discovered the joys of Cetara's anchovies.
    Al Convento
    16 Piazza S. Francesco, Cetara, Italy, Campania, 84010
    +39 089 261039
    Restaurant reservations