Sorrento is the ideal base for exploring greater Naples and the Amalfi Coast. With beach clubs, transport links, shopping and a thriving food and nightlife scene, there’s no reason to miss out. Even better, let’s highlight the fact that it’s flat so it’s super accessible compared to the cliffs of Positano and Capri, so take advantage and give your feet a rest after a day exploring the nearby coastal towns and islands.
As we only had one night and two days to spend in Sorrento, I decided to optimize it with a food tour. This gave us the opportunity to explore the town, learn some history and importantly, uncover the best places for local food and drink. Our goal was to consume as many Italian delicacies as we could in a short amount of time.
We joined Tamara on Sorrento Food Tours walking food tour for 3 hours of pure indulgence. We met on the steps of Chiesa di Carmine (Carmine Church) in Piazza Tasso (main square) to begin our tasting experience and I was initially shocked to hear her American accent, slightly disappointed we weren’t being led around by a local. We quickly learned that she’s a lady of the world, an ex-flight attendant originally from San Diego. She’s been running tours across Italy and has called Sorrento her home for many years after meeting her love Michele at Michelin starred Il Buco.
Our first taste was a traditional Neapolitan pastry, Santa Rosa cream custard and wild cherry sfogliatelle from Bar Pasticceria Monica. With a quick sugar rush from the delicate filling and a great start of what’s to come, I was ready to see where the afternoon would lead us.
Join, a casual tapas and wine bar is recommended for aperitivo and live music. Here we met Serena who shared around homemade arancini. We laughed to ourselves at the different country flags stuck into the arancini to show the diversity of our group, but then again, most of us were American. Jamie showed his support for the EU of course!
Pizzeria Da Franco is one of the most popular spots in town, not only because their pizza is out of this world good, cooked in their famous wood-burning oven 8ft deep 500 celsius, but they’re also open from lunch to 1 am which is appealing. We shared saltimbocca, which means jumping around, a traditional Italian dish of veal wrapped with prosciutto and sage. We then had their delicious thin and crisp pizza, the prosciutto di Parma DOP was salty and dry, the thick legs hung from the ceiling as they go through 1-2 legs a day. The mozzarella was moist and delicious and of course, their friendly staff is what gives this place its reputation as it has been around for nearly 70 years. In fact, we couldn’t help popping by later that evening after a few negronis for a late night pizza and a few more beers.
Just around the corner is Fondo L’Arguminato (a citrus garden right in the center of Sorrento). Unfortunately, if the gates are shut you can’t enter, which was the case for us during our tour but we came back for a peek into the beautiful lemon haven the next day. Normally open to the public during the day, when the gates are open you are free to explore the 300-year-old lemon grove which harvests 3 times a year.
Luckily around the corner is the Giardini di Cataldo (limoncello factory) where you can buy an assortment of products grown in the citrus grove. This was a great spot to hear from Luigi about how limoncello is made using only the peel (surprising!), as well as to taste it, some lemon sorbet, boozy baba cake and liquorice liquor. Importantly, if you see limoncello spelt with an ‘e’ (lemoncillo), that’s how you know it’s fake so if you’re looking for authentic gifts this is the spot!
We then stopped at a small delicatessen and food market, il Bocconcino, to try some charcuterie. Salami with cow’s milk cheese, speck which is salt-cured like prosciutto but smoked and provolone del Monaco (semi-hard cheese local to the area produced by monks). If I was staying for a few days I would definitely do my local shopping here, or as Tamara recommends go for a simple panini.
We finally sat down for our main course at Da Gigino Ristorante, another local place Tamara recommends to try for pizza or pasta after the food tour. We had a lovely buffalo mozzarella starter followed by gnocchi Sorrentino. I can say it was tasty, but the free-flowing Calabrian white wine was a nice treat too!
Following, we sampled some chocolates from Nino & Friends, a great place to pick up some treats such as candied lemon and orange rinds and other delectable gifts to bring back home. Jonathan did a great job of sharing coffee beans coated in chocolate, sugared almonds, and stuffed pralines. But we favored the dog Margo who hangs out front a bit too.
And finally, we closed off the tour with gelato from Davide Gelateria and a glimpse at Mt Vesuvius in the distance.
After an afternoon of filling up on delicious food, we were ready for a drink. Tamara recommended the following and even joined us for a few at Sky Bar at Hotel Plaza, which has great cocktails and amazing sunset views over the sea and Mt Vesuvius.
Other bars in Sorrento
- Fauno Bar – perfect for people watching in the heart of Piazza Tasso
- Fuoro 51 – Wine bar
- La Bottega della Birra – Tamara suggests asking for Nuzio in this craft beer hot spot
Still hungry? Here’s where to eat in Sorrento (Thanks Sorrento Food Tours for the recommendations!)
- Il Buco
- Accento Restaurant
- Inn Bufalito
- La Basilica
- Porta Marina Seafood
- Hotel continental “Terrazza Vittoria”
- Bagni Delfino
- Ristorante O’Puledrone
- L’Antica Trattoria
Note: getting to Pompeii or Mt. Vesuvius from Sorrento is easy by Circumvesuviana train in about 30 minutes. This train has many stops and is very busy with tourists but is the most direct route if you don’t have a private car. It is also riddled with pickpockets so be very careful with your belongings. I witnessed someone get their phone taken out of their front pocket without evening feeling it. There are also lockers for a small fee at the Pompeii train station.
Thanks Tamara for a great day exploring Sorrento, we enjoyed all your recommendations and company over too many negronis!