** Superior! Superb! Superlative! 5-Star! **
La Sponda is located in the acclaimed Le Sirenuse Hotel in the heart of the village of Positano on the famed Amalfi coast. Perched above the spectacular bay of Positano, it commands a breathtaking, panoramic view as far as the eye can see.To describe Le Sirenuse as a luxury hotel experience is an understatement. From the moment you are greeted at the door by Giulio and Alfonso and enter the lobby, you are immediately transported into an elegant and enchanting sanctuary. (I don’t think I’m going to want to leave!)
Included on the elite roster of Leading Hotels of the World, Le Sirenuse definitely lives up to its reputation–and then some! Ever since Marchese and Marchesa Sersale turned their summer house into a charming hotel in 1951, it has established and maintained its understated elegance and an exceptional standard of excellence that is faithfully upheld and honored by family members to this day.
“We went to Le Sirenuse, an old family house converted into a first class hotel, spotless and cool, with grape arbors over its outside dining rooms. Every room has its little balcony and looks out over the blue sea to the islands of sirens from which those ladies sang so sweetly.”
– John Steinbeck, “Positano”, 1953
Despite the classic and elegant decor, the atmosphere is warm and welcoming. Intimate sitting areas and irresistible balconies invite you to linger, relax, and simply enjoy your surroundings.
Along with my fellow travelers and friends (as well as avid bloggers/writers), Margie and Susan, today we have the pleasure and privilege of being guests for lunch at the renowned La Sponda. Greeted by Vincenzo, head maitre d’ and a veteran of La Sponda for 33 years, we are escorted to our table. It’s a perfect day in Positano and we have a perfect view overlooking the rooftops of Positano and the glistening waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. We are already totally enchanted!
We are offered Prosecco to begin our experience and for me, Prosecco is always a perfect start! Under Vincenzo’s watchful eye, the exceptionally professional and accommodating wait staff proceeds to totally spoil us… Saverio, our attentive head waiter, patiently addresses our questions about the menu.
He is assisted by Bartolo who, along with our sommelier Salvatore, helps us to choose our wine. A local vino bianco from the Amalfi mountains, Tramonti Bianco per Eva (a blend of Falanghina, Pepella and Ginesra varietals), turns out to be the perfect accompaniment to our meal.
Our leisurely multi-course culinary experience is unhurried and extraordinary. We, of course, insist on taking photos of everyone and everything and they are more than happy to oblige.
Since we are in an area famous for it’s seafood, you be sure that my choices will reflect my love for seafood. Pairing each dish with unique and charming ceramic dinnerware from Vietri, the presentation is even more appealing and enticing. Shall we begin?
For starters we our presented with a delicate asparagus creme with buffala ricotta cheese accompanied by a selection of mixed local breads and Tuscan olive oil. Then for our antipasti: I choose carpaccio di pesce con insalata finocchio, pinoli and olive nere (a salad of seafood carpaccio with a fennel, pine nuts and black olives) and we share acciughe bianchi (white anchovies) marinated in lemon and olive oil, a torta caprese di Le Sirenuse and arugula and tomato salad. (Yes, that’s just for starters!)
For our main entree, I order an exceptional special medley of perfectly prepared local seafood and my friends order the special ravioli with pesto and tomato sauce (resembling the Italian flag!) and another seafood pasta dish.
Every dish is meticulously prepared and presented. Sharing tastes and practically swooning with pleasure, we savor every bite of this sheer perfection.
Did we save room for dolci? Some caffé perhaps? Si, grazie! Rafaelle quickly appears with our espresso and biscotti. But there’s more!
Can we manage a few more bites? Surely we must try their signature dessert, torta caprese di ciocciolato! Oh, did someone say chocolate?
OMG! We are practically speechless! Ciocciolato paradise! And the absolute finishing touch? Limoncello, of course! Gianluca, the youngest staff member who is in training, carefully pours their house made liqueur and both earn our enthusiastic approval.Although we do not meet Executive Chef Matteo Temperini who joined Le Sirenuse in 2008 and earned his first Michelin star in 2012, we can certainly attest to his talents!
His cuisine is described as being from the South: “…fresh fish, ripe tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, a lot of vegetables, Mediterranean herbs, lemons from the Amalfi Coast and fresh cheeses. The result is a very genuine and fresh cuisine, full of the rich flavors of our region and made using very fresh ingredients, preferably local and carefully selected.”
I couldn’t have described it better myself! Everything was absolutely divine. We thoroughly enjoyed every delightful morsel, being sure to only allow empty plates to be returned to the kitchen.
After a profuse exchange of grazies, hugs and business cards, we meet and offer our gratitude to Giovanni Ciccone, Director of Operations. He is gracious as we gush over our extraordinary experience.
Reluctant to leave this dream, we explore this stunning haven a little more and it is absolutely picture perfect… There’s nothing left to do but to savor and bask in this unforgettable experience…
“The small curving bay of unbelievably blue and green water laps gently on a beach of small pebbles.”
John Steinbeck, “Positano” 1953
Unbelievable and unforgettable indeed! Is this a memory or a dream? It’s a cherished memory and I have the pictures to prove it!