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  • My Island Paradise
    Ischia Travel Guide
    Here, you'll find a list of restaurant and hotel recommendations from a native of Ischia

    By Antonio Gerenini, Translated by Francesca Di Meglio

    At the island's restaurants, you'll almost never have a bad meal. I personally prefer family-run restaurants because the chefs there cook for you like you're one of them and not just a client. Therefore, without being repetitive, every restaurant mentioned in this list is a family operation. Each restaurant has its own specialty and uniqueness - who cooks only with fish, who cooks only with meat, etc. My only suggestion is to avoid going out to eat on Saturdays and Sundays unless you like a crowd and possibly a wait. One of the best parts about hanging out in an Ischia eatery are the lovely conversations you're likely to have with your waiter or the owners of various locales - and you're more likely to do this during the week. Brush up on your Italian now if you're interested.

    I've listed my favorite restaurants by town and have mentioned nearby hotels, too. This should help you prepare for an unforgettable stay on the island.

    Alberto is a five-star restaurant that is romantic, mostly because of its position with the beach surrounding it. As if that is not enough already, the food is authentic - the owners are determined to use only ingredients of the highest quality. Those with good taste will not be disappointed. The strictly fish dishes that you'll be sampling are accompanied by the sounds of the ocean.

    There are also many restaurants, pubs, and American-style bars that are more affordable on the Riva Destra part of the Porto. One of the pubs even serves its version of American classics like cheeseburgers and Philly cheese steaks. This zone is full of hang outs, which makes it ideal for a tranquil and fun evening. Among my favorites are La Baia Del Clipper and Emiddio. At both, you can eat everything, even a good, fresh pizza.

    Most of the well-known Ischia hotels are in Ischia Porto. I'll start by telling you about the most luxurious and therefore most expensive of the bunch. The Jolly Hotel and Moresco are hotels that take advantage of their central location right near the hub of the island and major bus stops. Then, there is the Continental, which besides being a great hotel has a remarkable conference room that many companies from around the world use throughout the year for meetings. Another two great hotels are the Punta Molino and Miramare. Younger, less rich visitors, should have no fear. They can sign up for what is called mezza pensione or camera e colazione (or room and breakfast), so they can sample the food at nearby restaurants instead of always eating at the hotel.

    You might not know this, but I work at Hotel Conte on the main street of Ischia Porto, which is full of shops, restaurants, and pubs, including the famous bar Ciro Ristorante. It's small but offers delicious treats that include everything from fish dishes to pizza. Nearby is also Dionisio Pub, a hot spot with young locals, and Friend's Turbo Play, a place for aperitifs, music and access to the Internet. It is frequented by locals and tourists alike.

    On this street, you'll also find the marvelous Dolce Sosta and Bar Vittoria, which sell homemade sweets and gelato that will make you gain weight just by looking at them. Despite this, I advise you to eat and not let the opportunity escape you.

    After this piazza you will arrive at hangouts for the young and middle aged alike. There's Ecstasy Bar, which offers live music every night (and the concert is outdoors during the hot summer). Next door is Valentino Club the most beautiful discothèque in all of Campania. During the winter, you'll find mostly local young people on the dance floor but during the high season of tourism, tourists, and frequently VIPs of international fame, bounce to the beats there. Almost the entire cast of the Talented Mr. Ripley checked out Valentino and other popular posts in Ischia. For listening to music you could also head to 3P and after that L'M9. Nothing will bore you in this town. Even in nearby Ischia Ponte, there are many restaurants and pubs and wine shops, where you can go to a tasting to sample local and non-local wine, all of which is accompanied by cheese, prosciutto and special sweets. Di Vino is a noteworthy stop for wine lovers.

    In Fiaiano, one of the towns in the comune of Barano, there are only a few stand-out restaurants. One is La Vigna di Alberto and another is Bellavista, where you will eat well whether you order meat or fish. But the true strength of these restaurants are their characteristic cozy interiors and the fantastic panorama for anyone seated near a window. U' Campaguolo is another good restaurant that is not expensive and offers tasty pizza and rabbit. Il Focolare might be hard to find - it's in the mountains - but provides a menu of quality fare that makes the most of the local ingredients as well as those throughout the country.

    The most beautiful section of Barano has to be Maronti, the largest and most popular beach on the island with hotels like the four-star Parco Smeraldo Terme and the four-star San Giorgio Terme, which makes full use of its optimum position near the beach and restaurants that run the gamut from expensive to economical. Those that are affordable include Zi Bak and Bel Mar. Entering in these restaurants is like entering your best friend's house. Meanwhile, for an expensive but delicious meal, you can head to the five-star restaurant Da Nicola under the fumarole.

    A specialty of Ischia is rabbit alla cacciatore. Il Bracconiere and La Fonte specialize in this famous dish, but La Fonte also makes a great pizza, even for lunch.

    Forio is a town with lots of hotels and restaurants but the one that impresses me the most is the Royal Palm Terme with a beautiful terrace that faces the fantastic view of the island. This is enough to justify the price of the stay. Situated nearby are the beaches, Spiagge di Cava and Citara, which is famous for its thermal park Poseidon.

    Now, I'd like to talk about a small but beautiful hotel, Miriam Hotel, which is closer to Sant' Angelo. Owned by a family, I guarantee that it will be like going to stay with relatives and it's very affordable.

    For the more demanding (and rich), Il Mezzatorre is a big hotel that is expensive but luxurious and beautiful. It is an oversimplification to call Zi Carmela only a great hotel. It is also a wonderful restaurant and classy discothèque, the only one in Forio. In the surrounding area, you'll find other places to pass the time pleasurably and take in music and cocktails.

    Near the Soccorso church, you'll discover the five-star restaurant Umberto a Mare with an awe-inspiring view from the terrace. Monte Corvo, with its fireplace, is incredibly romantic inside during the winter and equally charming with its outdoor seating during the summer - but it's hard to get to because of its place in the mountains. If you manage to find your way, you'll feel right at home.

    Lacco Ameno has many four-star hotels but I'd rather not list them all. However, you should know about Negombo, which is one of the best thermal parks on the island but also a great restaurant.

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