By day, ‘’’Capri is all about the sea’’’. Sleek speedboats cut through its cobalt waves and Gucci-clad sunbathers bask in its beach clubs, while everyone from Hollywood stars to Silicon Valley moguls frolics in the crystalline waters. As the sun dips below the horizon, however, the party moves inland. Food (and drink) become the focus as the island’s ‘’’cocktail bars and Michelin-starred restaurants’’’ buzz with dining and imbibing glitterati late into the night.
Capri offers some of ‘’’the most exclusive drinking and dining in the Mediterranean’’’, with its top-tier bars and award-winning restaurants. Raise your fork—and your glass—with the world’s most discerning diners at these epicurean institutions.
The Piazzetta is Always a Good Idea
Capri’s pocket-sized main square, affectionately called ‘’’La Piazzetta’’’ by those in the know, has been the island’s buzziest spot since a sunglassed-and-scarved Jackie O’ held court at its café tables in the 1960s. The scene here is always a who’s who of A-listers, from the first frothy cappuccino in the morning through the hour of the bracing post-prandial caffé.
When the bagni begin to empty and tenders start shuttling yacht passengers to shore, the Piazzetta reaches peak chic. The leisurely aperitivo is an Italian institution, and ‘’’there is no better place to experience the essence of “il dolce far niente” (the pleasure of doing nothing) than during over a cocktail in La Piazzetta’’’. Ensconce yourself at a café table and nurse your Spritz or Negroni shoulder-to-shoulder with the international it crowd. Happy hour on the island stretches from the late afternoon until well into the dinner hour, or you can stop here for an al fresco nightcap after your meal.
Capri’s Happiest Hour
Though an aperitivo in La Piazzetta is a must at least once during your time on Capri, the island’s de facto salon isn’t the only option for a ‘’’swish pre-dinner drink’’’. Many of the island’s most iconic hotels are home to ‘’’fabulous cocktail bars that pair old-school glam with 21st-century mixology’’’, turning out signature concoctions that could rival those in the world’s most cosmopolitan cities against the backdrop of Instagram-ready views. The ‘’’spectacular terrace perch at the Caesar Augustus’’’, for example, intoxicates as much with the sunset views as with the top-shelf Champagne, and the live piano and gourmet nibbles (think Mediterranean sushi and oysters) will tempt you to stay through dinner. For a table with a view in Capri town, ‘’’Grand Hotel Quisisana is by far the star attraction’’’. Oscar Wilde and Ingrid Bergman once graced the terrace overlooking exclusive Via Camerelle and its selection wines and bubblies, cocktails, spirits, whisky, and rum is among the finest on the island.
It may be tempting to stretch your aperitivo through dinner (and many do), but don’t deny yourself the singular pleasure of Capri’s fine-dining scene. Informal beach-club dining reigns supreme by day, but Capri cognoscenti book a table at one of the island’s ‘’’elegantly relaxed ristoranti’’’ to enjoy equally stellar gourmet cuisine the island has to offer by night. Most evenings, their exclusive dining rooms and panoramic terraces fill with celebrities feasting on ‘’’the island’s best fish and seafood, handcrafted fresh pasta, and theatrical desserts’’’. The enchanting ‘’’Da Paolino is one of the hottest tables in town’’’, with its fairytale-like dining patio set beneath fruit-laden lemon trees and wandering musicians who serenade guests with a traditional mandolin. ‘’’Aurora is another Capri institution’’’, the oldest restaurant on the island and a favorite of celebs from Bono and Leonardo di Caprio to Giorgio Armani and Naomi Campbell.
For stars upon stars, the island’s rarified ‘’’Michelin picks are a glam gourmand paradise’’’, combining the pleasure of the palate with the thrill of celebrity spotting. If you can tear your eyes away from your plate (and surrounding diners), ‘’’Mammà offers one of the most panoramic terraces in Capri town’’’, a breathtaking backdrop for chef Raffaele Amitrano equally dazzling dishes. Set on the panoramic Punta Tragara overlooking the Faraglioni, ‘’’Le Monzù also offers unforgettable Michelin-starred dishes with a side order of Mediterranean vista’’’. Chef Luigi Lionetti is a native of the island and captures the essence of traditional recipes that wow with contemporary interpretations and presentations.
Capri is home to ‘’’six Michelin-starred restaurants’’’, meccas for connoisseurs of gourmet dining and white-glove service where once-in-a-lifetime meals are the order of the day. Mammà and Monzù are two of the most famous starred dining rooms on the island, but if your concierge can’t snag you a table at either of these, don’t fret. Head to Marina Piccola for ‘’’a seafront table at Gennaro Amitrano’’’, where the owner-chef delights nightly with imaginative dishes right at the water’s edge. Or abandon the scene in Capri town with a trek to the inland ‘’’Da Tonino, with its casual ambiance and airy terrace’’’ that provides welcome refuge from the summer heat. If you’re more about the food than the view, ‘’’D’Amore and Rendez Vous both offer stylish indoor and outdoor fine dining in Capri’s town center’’’.
A Nightcap Under the Stars
You’ve lifted your glass with the luminaries and dined with the elite, but your evening doesn’t end yet. With its long aperitivo and late dinner schedule, island evenings stretch into the wee hours and not until a final nightcap has been downed. If you can manage to make it by 10 p.m., ‘’’Capri Rooftop is the most dramatic spot for your final drink of the night’’’. Overlooking the moonlit Faraglioni, this open-air cocktail lounge is set atop Hotel Luna next to the Gardens of Augustus, so a delightful after-dinner stroll from most Capri restaurants. ‘’’For those who want to dance the night away, there’s only one place to go: Anema e Core’’’. No A-lister has landed on Capri without stepping through the doors of this island hotspot, a traditional “taverna” with live music every night. Don’t be surprised if J.Lo hops on top of a table to perform or you find yourself dancing next to Matthew McConaughey…it’s all par for the course at this star-studded club.