Best Lunch Ever: Lo Scoglio, Amalfi Coast
by Pavia Rosati
Fathom founder Pavia Rosati has a favorite place to go, to eat, to relax — and especially to eat. This is it.
MARINA DEL CANTONE, Amalfi Coast – Thanksgiving may be the ultimate feast day in the United States, but the meal I'm always most grateful for is any one I have at Lo Scoglio on the Amalfi Coast.
Maybe you've heard me talk about this place before. Maybe you've been there because I told you about it. Maybe you've even been there with me. I can't shut up about this place.
I was introduced to Lo Scoglio on a rainy November day in 2003 by Ernesto Iaccarino, the chef at Don Alfonso, the grand and glorious Italian restaurant and boutique hotel uphill in Sant' Agata sui due Golfi (another favorite, but that's for another story). I had been staying at Don Alfonso for a few days when my old-fashioned Italian-American father said to me, "If you don't get me a simple bowl of spaghetti soon, we're going to have problems." Ernesto, whose Michelin cuisine is anything but simple, said, "Let's go to my favorite restaurant."
At the time, Lo Scoglio was a restaurant with a dining room deck built atop a boulder that jutted out into the sea. ("Scoglio" means "boulder.") Giuseppe De Simone, the owner, hadn't yet begun the renovation that would convert it from just a restaurant into a restaurant with a dozen hotel rooms upstairs. The place was empty, and we took a table at the edge of the dining room. Waves were crashing up against the sliding doors beside us. We were about 30 feet above sea level: This was a really rainy day. Guiseppe (whom everyone calls "Peppino" except me; I call him "Beppe") and Ernesto are dear friends, so he sat down with us and told us stories about his family, his restaurant, the sea, and his food — all sources of deep pride. Beppe is a character, a fiesty Neapolitan straight out of central casting. He loves to fish and he loves tending the land. I call him the pirate farmer.
One bite into our heaping bowls of spaghetti with zucchini, the house special, my father let out a low moan of joy. He moaned for my mother and me, too. We were too busy eating.
And that was it for me.
Love affairs have been built on less, and mine with Lo Scoglio and the De Simone family has been going strong ever since. I come back at least once a year — by myself, with my dad, with my husband, with Italian relatives, with big and small groups of friends. Everybody loves Lo Scoglio.