At Ristorante Scirocco, high above Positano, waiter Eddie is talking about the food on offer.
His hands fly during his descriptive effort; his eyes and smile are those of someone proud of what he and his restaurant offer and who is eager for you to share in the experience.
When he brings the massive T-bone steak to the table – sizzling on a heavy metal hotplate – he works with the speed and skill of a surgeon to slice it up for us.
And, with a flourish, he presents in it a way that asks: so, have you ever had better beef?
That’s a tricky thing to put to a South African carnivore with vast experience of meat.
But this steak is special: around the table we all pick out pieces and cook them how we want them before pulling them off. The meat is perfectly tender and flavoursome.
That’s a bit of a surprise, because in this place, the Amalfi coast, fish is the speciality.
At the Il Fornillo restaurant in Positano the night before, I had possibly the best piece of tuna (grilled to perfection) I’ve ever eaten.
Then there were the marinated anchovies and pieces of salmon. And the desserts are something to experience. Il Fornillo’s la torta ricotta e pere (ricotta and pear tart) is bliss, as is the Caprese (chocolate cake) I had at a number of places, and the tiramisu is as it should be done.
At La Brace restaurant in Praiano, they produce a brilliant fish baked in encrusted salt that is unlike anything I’ve ever had and well worth trying.
The problem with eating on this coast – apart from obviously piling on a few kilograms – is that you probably won’t be able to go near a local Italian restaurant again with being disappointed.
If You Go...
If you’re going to the Amalfi coast, don’t organise the trip through internet research and booking alone. It’s a place where you need local knowledge.
For South Africans who want to go there, Dawn Klatzo’s Positano Vacations provides some insight – she has visited the properties and dealt with the tour operators she recommends. And she can brief you on how to get around – what buses to catch, where to get tickets, restaurants to try and places to visit.
She understands what South Africans want out of a tour.
Best of all, she lives in Praiano and says she will be available to sort out any problem. - Saturday Star