On Ischia, Neapolitan brilliance has resulted in multifaceted, original cuisine. In centuries past, there were more Ischian farmers than fishermen since farming was a more secure profession. So it should be no surprise that the typical dish is rabbit, prepared in a terracotta pot with local ingredients such as tomatoes, spices and chilli pepper.

    The rabbits are bred in pits lined with volcanic tuff, and the soil from the pits is used to fertilise vineyards, while the vines provide food for the animals. It's a perfect balance that brings together authentic ingredients, tasty recipes and excellent wines. Fish comes to the kitchen directly from the fishermen's nets, rounding off the local gastronomy and making every meal a delicious treat. Here are 10 spots for discovering Ischian cuisine.

    1

    Ristorante Dortas

    Sophisticated dishes with local products

    • Food

    The nature that makes the island so extraordinary gives each dish a special character, and that idea distinguishes the cuisine at Ristorante Dortas, a restaurant just a few minutes by foot from Ischia’s Spiaggia dei Pescatori beach. Seasonal produce, local supply chain and regional culture guide the selection of the ingredients.

    The resulting flavours are fresh and unique to the island, with Mediterranean fish, rabbit and wild boar, buffalo mozzarella, and local vegetables, from cherry tomatoes to aubergines. There are à la carte starters and mains as well as meat or seafood tasting menus featuring the suggested seasonal house specialities. You can also choose from both local and Italian wines to go with your food.

    Location: Friday–Saturday from 7.30 pm to 11 pm, Sunday from 12.30 pm to 3 pm

    Open: Via Edgardo Cortese, 7, 80077 Ischia, Italy

    Phone: +39 081 1930 3732

    Map
    2

    Il Focolare

    Where you can eat rabbit with your hands

    • Food

    If you go on an excursion inland during your Ischian holiday, you might find tunz’ e paparastiell’ especially if you visit Il Focolare. This isn’t a local comedy duo in but rather wild herbs that are mixed into mezzanelli, a typical Neapolitan pasta shape. This is just one of the specialities at Focolare, a restaurant in the midst of the vegetation on the Cretaio promontory, near the fumaroles, openings the Earth’s crust that emit steam and gases, recalling the existence of an ancient volcano.

    The dishes and flavours are rooted in the local cuisine, and 'slow food' is the key here. Our tip: try the Ischia-style rabbit, and don’t hesitate to eat it with your hands: it’s another original custom of the restaurant.

    Location: Monday from 7.30 pm to 11.45 pm, Tuesday–Wednesday 7.30 pm to midnight, Thursday 12.30 pm to 3 pm and 8 pm to midnight, Friday–Sunday noon to 3 pm and 7.30 pm to midnight

    Open: Via Cretajo, 3, 80070 Fiaiano, Italy

    Phone: +39 081 902944

    Map
    3

    Casa Colonica del Negombo

    In the midst of lush, exotic nature

    • Food

    The cheerful, brightly coloured restaurant with whimsical, original furnishings known as Casa Colonica del Negombo is positioned so you enjoy the surroundings. This location whets your appetite for both the food and taking a selfie in a picturesque spot. It’s inside Negombo, a hydrothermal park on the Bay of San Montano in northern Ischia.

    On the menu, you’ll find tradition and innovation based on local ingredients. Curious about the ‘Sabrina’? It’s a dish dedicated to the Italian actress Sabrina Ferilli, a regular at Casa Colonica. It consists of spaghetti in puttanesca sauce with three kinds of tomatoes, cheese, capers and Caiazzo olives. Other house specialties include impepata di cozze (peppered mussels) and cod sausage. To drink, why not choose one of the craft beers?

    Open: Via S. Montano, 55, 80076 Lacco Ameno, Italy

    Phone: +39 380 322 9331

    Map
    4

    Trattoria Da Peppina di Renato

    A terrace for an evening with your other half

    • Food

    Trattoria Da Peppina di Renato, with its terrace overlooking Citara Bay, is perfect for a candle-lit dinner. Besides the romantic outdoor setting, there’s a rustic, elegant interior furnished with rural details. The speciality starters include white pizza, bruschetta and Ischian salted meat, which you can follow with a pasta dish such as tagliatelle with porcini mushrooms or bucatini in rabbit sauce.

    There are also tasty soups with porcini mushrooms, sausage and even lemon. For a main course, try meat cooked over a wood fire or the coniglio porchettato, rabbit prepared using the same method and aromas as roast pork. Lastly, finish with a Bacio d’Ischia (an ‘Ischian kiss’), a typical local liqueur made with chocolate, hazelnuts and lemons.

    Location: Daily from 7.30 pm to midnight (open for lunch on Sundays from 12.30 pm to 4 pm)

    Open: Via Montecorvo, 42, 80075 Forio, Italy

    Phone: +39 081 998 312

    Map
    5

    Guarracino

    Fresh fish by the sea

    • Food

    If you’re dreaming about dinner in a charming spot reachable by boat, then Guarracino is the right place for you. The menu is based on the catch of the day and the must-try specialities are the house spaghetti, with lobster and clams, or with anchovies, Gaeta olives, Pantelleria capers and toasted almonds. You have to try the pezzogna al sale (salt-crusted blackspot seabream), a delicious fish that lives in the Gulf of Naples.

    The restaurant’s chefs also work wonders with cicale di mare (lesser slipper lobsters), served with spaghetti or in a tartare with pears. Other unmissable seafood dishes include the grilled greater amberjack and grilled fish platter. You can find this restaurant in the Parco Castiglione resort and spa.

    Open: Via Castiglione, 62/C, 80074 Casamicciola Terme, Italy

    Phone: +39 081 982 527

    Map
    6

    Nascondiglio dell’Amore

    Old recipes in a young setting

    • Food

    Ischia-style rabbit, browned in the typical pot and pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven are two specialties at Nascondiglio d’Amore. This spacious restaurant has rustic furnishings and an outdoor terrace. It’s just off Via Campagnano, the road that leads up to the belvedere of the same name.

    The restaurant has a long history, having opened in the 1970s, but the young staff create a cheerful, friendly atmosphere. The menu follows the seasons and uses ingredients from both the local land and sea. The pasta and desserts are made in house. You can also get to Nascondiglio dell’Amore via the bus that departs from the port of Ischia, while there’s a customer car park if you drive.

    Location: Tuesday–Friday from 7 pm to midnight, Saturday–Sunday from noon to midnight, Monday from 7 pm to 11.30 pm

    Open: Via Serbatoio, 34, 80077 Ischia, Italy

    Phone: +39 081 901 546

    Map
    7

    Pizzeria da Gaetano

    Authentic Neapolitan pizza

    • Food

    To find the authentic Neapolitan recipe, head to Pizzeria Da Gaetano, managed by the third generation of a pizza-making family, located a couple of kilometres from the Castello Aragonese castle. So, what makes a real Neapolitan pizza?

    The dough must be made using only water, salt, yeast and flour, left to rise for at least 8 hours, and be stretched only by hand. Only products from the Campania region may be added to the dough base. There is a special method for handling each ingredient, from the hand-crushed tomatoes to the swirl of oil on top. At Da Gaetano, the art of pizza making comes to life.

    Location: Daily from noon to 3 pm and 7 pm to midnight

    Open: Via delle Ginestre, 27/28, 80077 Ischia, Italy

    Phone: +39 081 1895 8442

    Map
    8

    Rosticceria Pizza Self Da Raffaele

    The indulgence of Neapolitan street food

    • Food

    If you're looking for a snack on the go, Rosticceria Pizza Self Da Raffaele is the answer. It’s close to the Spiaggia di San Pietro beach and Port of Ischia and offers an array of tasty Neapolitan street food. Arancini (deep-fried breaded rice balls), mini pizzas and croquettes are the classics, while there's also pasta fritters and montanare, pieces of fried dough topped with tomato and mozzarella.

    One must-try is the zingara, Ischia’s most famous sandwich, made with toasted bread and local produce. You can order from the counter or sit inside. There are also sweet options, including traditional Neapolitan cakes and pastries such as babà, sfogliatelle and codine, as well as tarts, profiteroles and tiramisù.

    Location: Wednesday–Sunday from 12.30 pm to 2.30 pm and 7 pm to 11 pm, Monday from 7.30 pm to 10.30 pm, Tuesday from 7 pm to 11 pm

    Open: Via de Rivaz, 1, 80077 Ischia, Italy

    Phone: +39 081 991 203

    Map
    9

    Cantinando

    Fish and good wine in an old cellar

    • Food

    A dinner at Cantinando is perfect for trying Ischian wine as well as having a memorable evening. Located inland from Casamicciola, not far from the port, its premises were once used as a cellar, with stone walls and wooden ceilings. While the setting is a modern take on an old structure, the cuisine is a modern take on traditional Ischian gastronomy.

    One popular speciality is the fagioli zampognari, red beans native to this area, grown in the restaurant’s garden. The star of the table is fish, however. We suggest the marinated anchovies, followed by linguine with clams and clam-stuffed squid. The exquisite dishes use choice fresh, seasonal ingredients. There’s also an exceptional wine list, with both local and domestic wines.

    Location: Daily from 7.30 pm to 11 pm

    Open: Via Monte della Misericordia, 81, 80074 Casamicciola Terme, Italy

    Phone: +39 081 994 379

    Map
    10

    Giardino Eden

    An amazing dinner on the rocks

    • Food
    • Luxury

    At Giardino Eden, you can dine by candlelight at a table right on the rocks. It’s a breathtaking location dominated by the Castello Aragonese castle. The menu features seafood products that arrive directly from the fishermen. You can reach Giardino Eden by boat as well, using the Taxi Boat service.

    The specialities are grilled mussels and spaghetti with anchovies, breadcrumbs, lemon zest and Pantelleria capers. The fish mixed grill is a great option, but if you’d like to try a real Neapolitan classic, ask for the fritto nel cuoppo, which is fried fish served in a paper cone. There’s also a fantastic raw fish selection, with oysters, sea urchins and sea truffles.

    Open: Via Nuova Cartaromana, 62, 80077 Ischia, Italy

    Phone: +39 081 985 015

    Map

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