We just got back from an incredible 12 day trip to Italy and I’m up at 4:30 with my messed up time change alarm clock, so I thought I would start to share with you the best vegan finds and delicious restaurants we went to while we were there. I already shared the not so amazing food we had in Venice (which I think is just because they’re catering to more tourist crowds), and we weren’t very impressed with that. We took the train from Venice to Naples (pro tip: pack your own food for the train… it was the only sandwich I couldn’t even finish) and we took a car to Positano.
Once in Positano, everything about Italian food was set right again. Pizza, veggies, bread pasta, oh my! They have so many restaurants, so the best thing to do is befriend a local and ask for their favorite places to eat. They have a lot of restaurants down by the beach in the main hub of town and then you can venture further up the hill and find some delicious places. Being vegan, I ate what I could eat from the menu so most of my days consisted of fruit for breakfast (their melon is candy sweet), veggie pizza with no cheese or veggie sandwiches for lunch, and some kind of pasta pomodoro for dinner (oh and a lot of bread and grilled veggies before pretty much every meal.) It was very tasty, but as you can see there wasn’t a ton of variety in dish options so just be prepared. These are the restaurants we went to-
Ristorante Bruno– This place is wonderful! We went there three times four years ago when we visited and were happy to find the same guys are working there. We befriended them and they took care of us all week in the restaurant department. The staff is so friendly, the views from the street are beautiful, and the food is fresh and so delicious. The grilled vegetables and pasta con vendure senza formaggio were my go tos. We love going there (we went twice again this trip) and would highly recommend it.
We went to Buca di Bacco down by the beach and had a great view of the hill from our table on the patio. The food was alright, but not the best we had on the trip. We found that some places had great appetizers and sucked you in at the start, and then the main dishes left you disappointed. I had the minestrone soup to start which was a really nice change and it was good, then I had the pasta pomodoro which was also good. My family wasn’t as impressed with their main meals.
Chez Black- This restaurant is a must go in Positano and celebrities agree. It’s down on the beach with a view, has a friendly staff, and the food is scrumptious. Their pizzas did not disappoint and me and my mom’s even came in the shape of a heart! There are celebrity visitor pictures lining the walls and everything that came out of the kitchen looked great. We went for lunch, but they’re open for lunch and dinner.
Monday night I cooked dinner at our villa and that’s always a good option when you have a kitchen available. There is a tiny grocery store in town called the Delicatessen and they have whatever you need. I made bruschetta to start, Josh made a mixed salad, and I made a veggie pasta with homemade tomato sauce. It was pretty tasty!
La Zagara- This is a small, easy, quick meal restaurant on the way down to the beach that’s great for a fast, light lunch. My mom and I had a slice of pizza here on our shopping day and the whole family ate again here another day. The pizza and sandwiches are already made at the counter so you can do take away or sit in the outdoor seating area in the back and order. From what I saw, the pizza is better than sandwiches, and they give you one big slice for 5 euros so definitely our cheapest meal.
La Tagliata- We went here last time and loved it, but were very disappointed with this visit. A bus picks you up and takes you to the top of the mountain where the restaurant is situated on a look out. The view is beautiful! We went on Tuesday for the live music that we had so much fun with last time, but this time it was a different band and they only came in for about 3 minutes. We had to ask to move our table to the main room, and they started slamming out the first courses right after we sat down. It’s family style and they bring you a few things to share each course. The first course options were the best and had chickpeas, beans, veggies, bread, and peppers that I could eat, but then the pastas came out and I could eat the zucchini and onion one. They even brought my own portion of it, but it was so oily I couldn’t even eat half. The rest was meat and desserts, which weren’t helpful, but my family said they weren’t good as well. Taking this one off the list!
Palazzo Avino– This hotel in Ravello has the best place for a nice lunch with views of the ocean and mountainside. You walk through the glamorous hotel out to a covered patio on the side of a mountain and enjoy lunch. The limoncello spritz and bellini were great, along with the pasta pomodoro. We drove up there for lunch and then stopped in Amalfi on the way back to Positano and made a day of it.
La Cambusa– This was one of our favorite meals of the trip! It’s right on the beach, upstairs from Le Tre Sorelle so the view of the ocean and hillside is perfect. It has the same family owners as Bruno, so they recommended it to us. They have a different but equally spectacular menu and we were very pleased with our meals. We had a great outdoor table on the deck and enjoyed the delicious food and drinks they offered. Prosecco is a must while drinking in Positano!
Al Palazzo- This Michelin star rated restaurant is tucked away in what feels like a secret garden, but in fact it’s located right along the main path down the hill to the beach. We passed it each day and peaked inside because it looked so enchanting. We decided to give it a try and we’re so happy we did! It was a tranquil, classy, beautiful place and you can walk around to view all of the produce that they’re growing there. It’s part of a hotel called Palazzo Murat and it was our fanciest meal. I had a strawberry Moscow mule, which was deliciously different and our waiter Michele (hah) catered so nicely to my vegan needs. They brought everyone out an amuse-bouche, which was a small tuna patty and he brought out a small salad for me. I had the grilled veggies from the garden, and he checked to see if the pesto was dairy free, and let me know it wasn’t so I had the pasta with tomato ragu and everything was perfect. The veggies were perfectly cooked and had a smoky grilled flavor and the ragu had a sweetness that set it apart from all of the other tomato sauces that I’d been having. He even checked and made sure the samples of desserts and brought me my own plate of the chocolate bites that were vegan. The service was impeccable, and it wasn’t only a nice dinner, it was a whole dining experience so they definitely earned that Michelin rating. Highly recommend!
Le Sirenuse Champagne Bar– Le Sirenuse is an upscale restaurant on the hill and was close to our villa so we passed it daily. I’d done my research and had been wanting to try their champagne bar while we were there. Their restaurant, La Sponda, is also Michelin rated, but the staff’s attitude about getting in and the food was a turn off. They said you have to reserve months in advance, and the way they spoke made us not really want to give them our time. We ended up going to the Champagne Bar before going to Al Palazzo and we sipped some delicious champagne while snacking on crisps, olives, and marcona almonds. They have a whole drink menu and have a separate food menu as well. It’s a great view and an upscale drink experience for sure.
When in Positano, you have to go to the beach at least a few times. The main beach is overcrowded, so the best bet is to walk 10 minutes on the path over to Fornillo Beach. It’s a smaller beach in the next cove away from the main town. You can rent chairs for cheaper and it’s not as crowded, and they have a few restaurants as well. We ended up going two days and trying two restaurants there. Pupetto was NOT a good meal, but da Ferninando was much better. The food was great (they made up a veggie sandwich for me) and the drinks were SO much better than Pupetto. I recommend the lemon spritz!
The last thing I want to recommend for vegans, or anyone, while in Postiano is the lemon sorbet or slush. I had been wanting to get the lemon sorbet served inside a whole lemon from Covo dei Saraceni the whole time I was there because I read about it in a blog, so the last day I got it. It was pretty tasty, but not as good as the lemon slushes I’d been getting from small cart on the way down to the beach. It’s a lady with a cart with an umbrella on it near Antica Santoria and she gives you a small plastic cup for two euros and it’s so refreshing on the way to the beach or back up the hill.
We had an amazing trip and ate our way through, which is what you’re supposed to do in Italy, right? Some of my favorite things to do in Positano are going to the beach, hunting for sea glass, shopping, getting sandals made, taking a million pictures, finding amazing restaurants, exploring the town, and just sitting on a patio overlooking the ocean and enjoying life. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world, and if you get a chance to go there I hope my recommendations help you find your way. I was worried about what I would eat before going, but I definitely ate plenty. It was repetitively delicious, the quality of the food is outstanding, and eating vegan can be done.