"Paisà" Restaurant - Corso Reginna-Piazza D'Amato, 2 Maiori Amalfi Coast (SA) Italy. Tel. +39 089877136. www.paisà.com
When you start talking about Maiori, your first thought goes to the wonderful promenade, wide and shadowed by the palm trees and to the touristic port. For many years Maiori was considered the step sister of the more important centers, like Ravello and Positano. What a pity, as the original features and the true way of life of Maiori are hidden in the narrow streets at the back of the large buildings, built after the flood of 1954. Here between these alleys it is still possible to feel the atmosphere of the local traditions and to value the union between the sea and the inlands, which have always been major features of the local lifestyle. The locals are known as "fishermen with a foot in the vegetable garden", and probably it is true.
Strolling up the Corso Reginna, after about 300 meters walk, the road opens on the left into a large square - Piazza Raffaele D'Amato. Here, between a small chapel entitled to San Rocco and a wide staircase that brings you to the Mother Church "Colleggiata di Santa Maria a Mare" (XII century), is situated the restaurant "Paisa". Its name is a homage to the Italian cult movie, masterpiece of the Neorealist film director Roberto Rosellini, who decided in the first years after World War II, to use Maiori and other sites of the Amalfi Coast, as settings for his movies like "Paisa", filmed in 1946.
Recently opened, furnished in a modern style with elegant and refined features, the restaurant "Paisa" proposes two internal levels and, in the Summer months, a cool outside setting. The chef prefers to propose unsophisticated specialities, to exalt the natural flavour and taste of each fresh and local ingredient, with the intent to create a prefect union between products of the sea and of the local vegetable plots.
The hors d'oeuvre is a mix of tastes: the classic squid and potatoes baked in tomato sauce (probably the best of the area), the unfailing octopus cold salad, whitebait au gratin, marinated anchovies and excellent deep fried anchovies filled with mozzarella cheese.
The first course: paccheri (pasta) of Gragnano with shard fish sauce. Simple, fresh, delicate, without strong aromas. A speciality you must not miss. To complete each dish, the suggestion is a glass of Costa d'Amalfi Tramonti Bianco DOC of 2008, di Giuseppe Apicella, a wise mix of Biancolella e Falanghina (o Bianca Zita), with an intense flavour of green apple and millefiori honey. As dessert: a slice of the classic Babà Rhum cake and a slice of the local chocolate cake, with a glass of wine liqueur Santo Spirito 11, a product of the famous Tuscany vineyard Marchesi de' Frescobaldi.
All the dishes and wines (except for the final liqueur) are all masterpieces of the local traditions. It is possible to complete a positive profile of this experience, which feature the quality of the local products, prepared in a very simple way, to exalt the natural flavour and taste of each ingredient of the Neapolitan heritage.