Eating along the Neapolitan Riviera can be one the best things about a trip to this area. The freshness and quality of the ingredients ensures that even the simplest meal, such as a plate of pasta with a tomato sauce, can be unforgettable. The combination of good climate and soil fertility means that conditions are perfect for growing olives, tomatoes and lemons. Add the treasures of the sea and you've got the makings of a perfect meal.
That's not to say you'll always get one; along with fabulous trattorie and high-dining establishments, there are plenty of tourist traps selling poor quality food at inflated prices. So…
A few tips; some obvious, others not so:
• Lunch is usually between 1.30pm and 3.30pm and dinner is usually 7.30pm to 11pm (though Italians tend to eat later so some restaurants may seem ghostly quiet if you arrive at 7.30pm but become much buzzier by around 9pm).
* You don't have to order a whole bottle of wine with your meal. If you just want a glass of (usually perfectly palatable) house wine ask for 'un bicchiere di rosso/bianco' (a glass of red/white) or 'un quarto' (a quarter-litre carafe).
• Unsurprisingly the little, out of the way places often try a bit harder than those that are situated on the main drag. In Positano, for instance, prices are far higher than those in the little village of Montepertuso (literally 'hole in the mountain') that lies above the town. Obvious perhaps, but worth remembering when you're looking for fine food. If you're prepared to travel even further (say, a trip to Sant'Agata sui Due Golfi) your reward will be great indeed.
* Another obvious one this, but watch where the Italians go: if the place you're looking at is full of tourists clutching plastic-covered menus showing dozens of pictures of meals that the kitchen can serve, you mustn't be surprised if the food isn't fabulous. If, on the other hand, you're handed a hand-written menu (menu del giorno) with a few dishes that will be prepared from scratch, your chances of having a good meal are much improved.