There are some places that truly capture your heart the minute you see them and for me that was Villa Cimbrone in Ravello, Italy. We were staying in Positano and wanted to book somewhere special for dinner and our research led us to Il Flauto di Pan. After a 50 minute drive, and a fair walk from the centre, we were greeted with this fairy tale entrance. It was love at first sight.
We had booked dinner at their Michelin starred restaurant Il Flauto di Pan for 8:30 pm and arrived at around 7:45 so that we could walk around their beautiful gardens and enjoy a drink before dinner. The villa, which is now a hotel, dates back to the 11th century and their gardens are open every day to the public for a €7 entrance fee. They are truly spectacular and also a gateway into history.
It’s no surprise that Villa Cimbrone plays hosts to many weddings and this is one of the places you can choose to have your ceremony in. Just, wow!
If you’re visiting Ravello, then leave seeing the garden until an hour or two before sunset so you can enjoy the amazing view at this magical time of the day. Walk through the gardens until you come to the end where you’ll find the panoramic terrace, which was built in the 16th century. It was breathtaking.
After we’d taken in this exquisite view, we made our way back through the gardens to the restaurant to enjoy a drink before our meal.
Of course it was an Aperol Spritz! Our aperitivo drink of choice. I was also delighted to see that they are using paper straws – help save our planet and say no to single-use plastic!
The garden area overlooks the pool, the restaurant and the hotel and is secluded from the public parts of the Villa.
After our drink, it was time to eat! But not before another drink… this time Franciacorta. I loved the spiral dish they served the canapès in, which were absolutely delicious.
The bread basket consisted of three different types of bread roll with French butter served three ways: plain, with sea salt and with celery salt.
The thing I love about Michelin starred restaurants are all the small touches. The butter, for example, came wheeled out on a trolley and resembled a giant lemon (in my opinion) and was then served up with the different salts. Another really lovely touch was a wooden box, which was placed on the table to encourage us to put our phones into it so we really immersed ourselves in the moment and each other.
One highlight for me was my starter, which was a sort of crescentina filled with burrata and topped with red prawn tartar and caviar. It was deliciously luxurious and indulgent!
Another highlight was my risotto that was made with pasta and not rice. It was slightly bitter with sausage and cheese. Very unusual and tasty. The colour was so vibrant too.
We decided to skip dessert because we really wanted some gelato and – weirdly – Positano just didn’t have many places that looked like they had good gelato. We’d passed a few in Ravello that looked like they’d hit the spot.
However, even though we didn’t order dessert, the restaurant served us a pre-dessert which was a take on a Caprese salad. It was so delicious! I was so intrigued by it, I ate it all before taking a photo. Oops.
We were also served some petits fours when we asked for the bill, which was a lovely way to end a fantastic meal.
We had such a magical evening at Villa Cimbrone and a fabulous meal at Il Flauto di Pan and we cannot wait to return. If you find yourself in the Almafi Coast, do pay them a visit – you won’t be disappointed.