LO SCOGLIO DA TOMASSO – ITALY
Piazza Delle Sirene, 15 80061 Massa Lubrense Province of Naples, Italy
By far the best day of our entire European adventure was our full day boat trip around the Amalfi Coast. We spent the greater part of the day exploring caverns and caves along the coast and enjoying the gorgeous salty waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. I was amazed by the clarity of the water which looks very dark because of the smooth black stones that line the sea floor.
We started our day with a visit to Capri. The island is obviously very beautiful and we hiked to higher level of town to a little café overlooking the port. We immediately ordered spritzes to cool off from the sweaty trek and enjoyed the view. The wiser decision may have been to take the trolley up the mountain which we only discovered once we reached the top. Needless to say we immediately bought tickets for the way down.
After our brief visit we made a few stops for swimming while en route to lunch.
I had been anticipating lunch at Lo Scoglio for our entire trip but was absolutely blown away by just how incredible it really was. We pulled up in our boat the dock below which leads directly into the restaurant.
Lo Scoglio is located in the center of Nerano Bay surrounded by black pebble beaches and gorgeous rocky formations jutting out of the sea on ether side. The word “Scoglio” means boulder which is very fitting. It was founded in 1958 and has remained family run to this day. The little structure is very unassuming and completely made of wood with wooden tables and chairs and nothing to dress it up but white tablecloths and napkins.
When you sit down at your table one of the daughters comes to take your order. But there are no menus so she really just asks you how hungry you are and if there is anything that you don’t eat.
Every meal includes the freshest seafood which is caught daily as well as the freshest vegetables which are fresh from the restaurants very own farms and of course fresh pastas.
We started with a feast of appetizers.
A plate of assorted items fritti – zucchini blossoms, mozzarella and ravioli stuffed with ricotta. Deep fried fresh ingredients? Heaven.
We were served a beautiful dish of rich purple octopus which was sliced into coins that were tender and flavorful. The salad was dressed with a simple dressing of exquisite olive oil and fresh lemon juice from the farm’s lemon orchard.
We also had a potato salad that was tossed in a similar dressing with featured fresh raw vegetables from the garden – red tomatoes, onions, peppers, cucumbers and herbs.
Of course no meal would be complete without a caprese salad so along came the hand pulled mozzarella and basil. Along side came fresh tomatoes lightly seasoned with salt, pepper, basil and olive oil.
Another tomato salad was served with cherry tomatoes, red and yellow, on a bed of peppery baby arugula. I have never had any greens that were so spicy before!
The next course was the one I had been most excited about – the raw shellfish platter. Lo Scoglio has its very own fisherman apparently known as the “urchin man” who dives with a spear daily to harvest the shellfish. The colorful platter arrived to our table heaping with several types of clams, mussels and urchins so fresh some of them were still trying to make an escape.
The nest course was the cooked vegetable course. A deep baking dish was placed in the center of the table with cooked green beans, white beans, eggplant, shishito peppers, cabbage, stuffed tomatoes and sweet peppers. The deep vegetable flavors were amplified by the cooking process.
The meal continued to get better as we entered the pasta course. These were hands down the best pastas I have ever eaten in my life. The sauces were all so incredibly simple and yet were so thick that they clung to the fresh noodles and exploded with flavor in your mouth.
The zucchini pasta had a creamy quality to it. I generally prefer a higher sauce to pasta ratio and this one definitely passed the test. Each forkful was filled with both zucchini and pasta.
The tomato pasta also had the creamy quality to it and was surprisingly not watery in any way as one might expect with a tomato-based sauce. But these tomatoes are special. They are yellow cherry tomatoes that were brought over in the form of seeds from Japan generations ago and then nurtured in the fertile Italian soil that make the so unique.
The third pasta we had was a sea urchin pasta. Is is possible that this was even better than the other urchin pastas we had had before? We thought so.
Our final course was presented to us before it was filleted tableside. We had two white fish – a Branzino and another fluffier fish that I unfortunately cannot remember the name of. The Branzino was simply baked and the second fish was served with an olive oil and lemon sauce. Simply put, this was the most tender, flavorful, delicious fish I have ever had.
After such a fine meal we relaxed and digested with some more white wine instead of dessert and tried at the impossible task of determining which part of the meal was the best. We took one final dip before bidding adieu to our friendly boat captain and one of the best days in memory.
Lo Scoglio without a doubt is one of the top meals I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying – incredibly fresh food in a gorgeous setting with a cheerful and relaxed ambiance and is being added to my list of “EPIC Picks”. You cannot miss Lo Scoglio when traveling to the Amalfi Coast.