There are few restaurants in Capri that give you as much ambiance as the incredible Da Paolino. Under groves of lemon trees and under the stars, diners are mesmerized by the fantastic seafood, fresh ingredients and excellent service – all while soaking-in Capri’s warm evening air. For over 50 years, the De Martino family have been running the establishment which is tucked away on a quiet street just up the hill from Marina Grande. Diners make their way down a candlelit pathway, overgrown with beautiful vegetation to enter the outside dining room, open only seasonally for enjoyment.
The 100-year-old lemon trees which make-up the “ceiling” of the restaurant have become a part of the family. Large, fist-sized lemons hang overhead while restaurant staff explain to their guests the importance and significance of the trees that have helped make the establishment so famous. The international “jet set” and locals alike come here to enjoy a night of fantastic food and friendly energy.
On a recent night, I arrived to the restaurant to find my beautiful little table set perfectly near the kitchen. I was in the perfect location, near the antipasti room and dessert room, which are filled to the brim with Martha Stewart Living-worthy food for diners to explore. I took a seat at my table when a lovely waiter came by to offer me a glass of Italian red wine – I chose chianti.
One of the restaurant’s owners, Michela De Martino, came over to greet me. She has been working in the restaurant nearly her entire life and ensures that each guest is happy. I poured over the menu – full of every option under the sun, especially fresh seafood caught in the local waters. I ordered my main course, a beautiful sea bass which was served with roasted vegetables.
Before my main course, I was led to the antipasti room which offered beautiful plates of seafood to explore. There was octopus, salmon, mussels, clams, branzino and more. I filled my plate with a few pieces from each selection and enjoyed them at my table. I was recommended the grilled mozzarella, which is sandwiched between large lemon leaves that impart a citrusy taste on the cheese. Delicious.
After my antipasti, appetizer and main course I was led to the dessert room, or, as I found it to be, Mecca. Here were counters filled with everything from seasonal strawberries and raspberries, to Caprese tortes, homemade gelato, pies, biscotti, tarts and local cakes. I could have spent a half a day in this room moving from one offering to the next.
Da Paolino is special to say the least. The night I was there, the dining room was packed with people all enjoying themselves. One of the restaurant’s managers, an elderly gentleman who has been a part of the restaurant family for years, serenaded guests while playing the mandolin. It was a moment to remember. Da Paolino is a “must” in Capri – to miss it would be like closing your eyes to the beautiful Mediterranean views that surround you.