Sunday, October 7, 2012

Pranzo on the Beach - Hotel Le Axidie - Vico Equense (Na)

Summers over. Or is it?  In Campania, we've been enjoying an endless summer.  Temperatures around Naples have been hovering in the high 70s.  Perfect Sunday outing weather.  So last week I decided to head out...towards the beach for pranzo, lunch.
My destination was the small beach town of Vico Equense, about a half hour or so south of Napoli. A location packed with some of Campania's top restaurants.  My appointment was at Hotel Le Axidie,  a 4 star resort, where I had an appointment with Chef Giacomo De Simone, Maitre D Gabriele Ferraro and his right hand man, Domenico Volpe.

The weather was perfect beach weather, so I chose a seat right next to the beach at the hotel's outdoor restaurant.  Something in particular from the menu? De Simone asked.  Or would you like me to help you choose?  It took about a half second for me to answer.  I wanted the chef to decide, but with one condition...a menu which embraced the sea.   Mare, mare, mare, I said with a smile.  De Simone returned that smile with one all his own and he was off to the kitchen to prepare my pranzo on the beach...

While waiting, I looked over the wine menu with Volpe.  I wanted a Campania white and there were several that caught my eye.  I chose a Fiano from Paestum, Kratos 2011 by Luigi Maffini. A white with  intense fruity aromas as well as pleasing minerality representing the hillsides of Cilento  from which it is produced. 

Then it was time for lunch.  My parade of piccoli assaggi prepared by De Simone and his kitchen crew.  

frittata di pasta
roasted octopus with lemon flavored mashed potatoes and broccoli

fresh raw shrimp with a side chopped olives, capers , onions, and red  and yellow bell peppers

shrimp lightly fried with a coating of walnuts, 'frarello' broccoli, on a bed of creamy provolone del monaco cheese

sciatelli pasta with clams, mussels, and tomatoes

fettucine with walnuts and colatura di alici

Time to take a break and stretch my legs.  My curiosity led me around the restaurant, over to the tavola calda which serves their own specialties for the no shirt/no shoes crowd, and eventually into the kitchen to visit De Simone who was in full swing with his kitchen staff. 

Chef De Simone

This one kitchen is responsible for up to three restaurants during high season when the lido is packed with up to 1,000 hungry sun worshipers. We talked about the kitchen's philosophy of fresh local products. Very few spices to compliment  the fantastic flavors of the coast.  Extra virgin olive oil from olive groves from the nearby hillsides, lemons from the Sorrento peninsula, pasta from nearby Gragnano, and of course, fresh seafood from the coast. 

I decided to leave the kitchen and go back to my seat by the sea.  After a couple sips of Kratos, Ferraro arrived with another dish.  My  pranzo continued...

pasta stuffed with zucchini, provola cheese, and mint

fried shrimp, squid, and bell peppers

rhombo fillet with porcini mushrooms

bocconotto with a pastry cream and fresh fruit


ricotta cheese and pears

All good things must come to an end.  Including my pranzo, A full lunch complete with the top class hospitality, fresh sea breezes, and a spectacular panorama of the coast.  I savoured  my last bite of macaron, then I said goodbye to the staff, the beach, and the sea hoping to return before the season ends...
for dinner...or
a dip in the pool...
with weather permitting,  will last until November 5th....

Volpe, De Simone and Ferraro

Marina di Equa, Vico Equense
80069 Vico Equense, Italy


  1. Questo alle Axidie è uno staff fantastico. Come il panorama, i manicaretti e tutto il resto!