One interesting fact about the restaurants in Maiori: they all seemed to have the TV on throughout the evening. Some patrons watched quite enthusiastically, reminding me a bit of TV dinners.
- Il Baluardo: Alas, this restaurant did not get us off on the right foot with Maiori dining. On the plus side, the cheese platter that we ordered was the best I’ve had in Italy. It included two smoked cheeses, one goat cheese with orange zest, one bufala mozzarella, and another cow cheese. The cheeses were so fresh that I wanted to go to the kitchen and see if they had cows toiling away back there. For his main, B ordered a calzone, which was large enough to have been made as a pizza and then folded in half. It looked fairly oily to me, but he liked the taste a lot. My baked potatoes were unfortunately quite oversalted, as seems to be the custom. I also ordered something called ‘broccoli,’ (in Italian, not in the English translation), but any resemblance between it and the broccoli family was entirely hue-based. It was a bitter form of spinach or chicory, so far as I could tell, and I unfortunately couldn’t eat more than a bite. B points out that this was a steakhouse, so my expectations were misplaced.
- Ristorante L’Ancora: I enjoyed this dinner more, because I stuck to the local fish specialties. I ordered the seafood salad, which – like elsewhere in Italy – is a plate of various marinated shellfish in a bit of oil. We also tried to split an interesting-looking appetizer: a seaweed pancake. It resembled little dough balls with specks of green that didn’t have much of a taste – so, in that way, quite like seaweed. For his main, B ordered a pasta dish: the ‘noodles’ were like super-sized penne. Unfortunately, I don’t recall their name, but I believe they are common locally. He seemed to enjoy it. We returned the next night, actually. I ordered a tomato salad, which was a cut-up tomato, as I expected. My grilled swordfish was sadly swimming in oil, which is quite different from the delicious one we ordered in Milan. B’s pizza with ham, sausage, and hot dogs was pretty good. We even managed to split a dessert made of very whipped cream on a biscuit crust, with a layer of chocolate-peanut cream atop it. The staff was quite nice too. If you go here, I’d suggest ordering pizza.
- Ristorante “Mammato” dal 1890: I finally succeeded at ordering a cup of tea here. (When I asked for it – or even for hot water! – at other restaurants in this area, they looked at me as if I had ordered their dog on a platter.) In an attempt to warm up further, I also had their seafood risotto; as expected, this was not what we think of as risotto, but rather boiled rice. B had a mushroom omelet and the ‘pasta’ soup, which somewhat resembled vegetable-less minestrone with pasta that looked like rice. The service was good, and the prices were surprisingly not awful, given the restaurant’s prime real estate.
- Pasticceria Napoli: I love this bakery for the very nice people. They also serve a very good baba, which is the local pastry of choice. It is a mushroom-shaped sponge cake, sometimes filled with chocolate or vanilla cream, and permeated by rum syrup/liquid. They also have a vast hot chocolate collection and a good tea variety.