I usually make lots of dinner reservations for vacations but this trip I decided that we would play most of it by ear and be spontaneous with a few exceptions. The main exception being our lunch in Positano on our second day there, which just happened to be my birthday. Given that I plan all of our vacations, it’s an odd coincidence that so many of them happen to occur during my birthday week. Not. So, knowing that we would be in Positano on my birthday, I planned lunch at the Michelin starred La Sponda restaurant which is located in the Hotel Sirenuse.
La Sponda is known for its fresh Mediterrean cuisine and it’s terrace that overlooks Positano and the ocean. I debated whether we should do lunch or dinner but I decided that I wanted to see Positano during daylight hours for better photos but I can imagine dinner by candlelight with the twinkling lights of the village would be incredible as well.
So, after my tumble the night before, I woke with a sore wrist and for the first time on the trip, a bit of a hangover. However, I took it easy and went downstairs for some sustenance and a cappucino. The hotel (Eden Roc) offered a well stocked buffet style continental breakfast with lots of pastries, meats, cheeses, pancakes, yogurt, fresh fruit, juices and cereals so I got lots of fresh fruits and some carbs to fill my tummy. Afterwards, we had a slow morning and relaxed on our terrace, read the news, checked emails and I sat in the hot tub and let the warm jets loosen up my sore wrist. By the time we went to our lunch at 1pm, I was feeling 110% better and was ready for my lunch.
I’ll spare you the suspense – La Sponda was my favorite meal of the entire trip. We walked into La Sireunse Hotel which is at the halfway point down the hill to the beach and we were just wowed by the view. They sat us on the terrace, right next to the railing. Unfortunately, we were also sitting in direct sunlight and the only way to fix that would be to have the umbrella pulled down, effectively blocking the view. So, we asked to be moved one row back which put us in the shade under their awning but we still had a direct view of the town and ocean. Their service was wonderful and very kind throughout the meal and they made a spot-on wine recommendation. Check out that view!
We rarely order set menus because we like to have all options available and this was no exception but La Sponda does offer a set 3 course lunch which is a very affordable option. I started with an appetizer of fresh local mozzarella, tomatoes and basil with olive oil and balsamic while Steve had a fresh asparagus soup with creme fraiche and crab meat. I enjoyed my salad because the ingredients were so fresh and the olive oil was fruity, with almost a citrus component. However, Steve’s aspargus soup knocked it out of the park. It was a brilliant kelly green, was served cold and tasted like the perfect essence of asparagus. It was well complemented by the richness of the creme fraiche and the lightness of the crab meat. I was stealing spoonfuls of it when I could.
After that he went for a heavier meat option of veal stuffed with escarole and I went with a lighter option of grilled sea bream in a saffron broth with roasted vegetables, olives and potatoes. I have to add that I was feeling so well by this time that I even partook of the wine. We ended up trying a bottle of Italian chardonnay and I normally don’t care for chardonnay but this wine was light, well balanced and with a slight hint of buttered popcorn, but without that overly oaky taste that many chardonnays can be manipulated to have. We took a long time savoring our meal and wine while taking in the view, the ocean breeze and the smell of lemons from the multiple lemon trees on the patio.
We finally reached dessert and I knew we were going to have some of that. We usually skip dessert in favor of savory appetizers because we are both more “savory” than “sweet” people but I needed a treat for my birthday. The Amalfi region is famous for its lemons. There are lemons everywhere and the region is covered with lemon trees that have branches hanging heavy with huge yellow globes of lemons. Shops sell lemon soaps, candles, lotions and linens everywhere are printed with lemons. So, I naturally ordered the lemon sponge cake with lemon icing and filled with a lemon cream since I was in lemon heaven. I loved every bite of it. Steve went with a more traditional tiramisu that was equally amazing albeit very different from my light lemon cake.
We were stuffed after that and walked off lunch so I could do some shopping at some majolica pottery stores before we rolled ourselves back to our hotel to nap (yes, we are old). A very memorable birthday!