Tonight we dine with friends at the Hotel restaurant Zi Carmela. Nicola, the chef, made us sit at the table on the terrace, from which you will see the sea of Forio with boats moored and the evening walk beneath us.
The philosophy of the restaurant: “The taste of tradition.” And it’s true, because the day was just on tradition: the dawn around the ports with Nicholas, in search of the freshest seafood, supper, with the wise use of tomatoes, zucchini and herbs of the campaign of the chef’s mother, Philomena, to conclude with a passion that colors the entire Mediterranean dishes. Chef Nicola gave me a brochure of the restaurant: a few lines, written by a man who cooks for passion and for friends, and fortunately for the hotel’s guests and the restaurant. The brochure speaks of flavors and fragrances of Ischia, the kitchen of Grandma Carmela, who in 1954 inspired dishes from the restaurant Zi Carmela, delicacies and culinary masterpieces of art, all made with raw materials that only Ischia offer.
So far, the idea of Chef Nicola. But now I want to tell my experience, collecting in notes and emotions scattered, which makes it much better than any tourist guide and a lot less of a dinner at Zi Carmela. Someone said that a chef without quality ingredients is like a night without moon. And raw materials, such as fresh fish, are nothing without skilled hands that make it a dish unique and special. In the kitchen I observe the mastery of Nicola and staff, combined with precious and genuine flavors. Sea and land together, to offer the best taste and heart. Here I realized that the passion, the real one, is contagious: come to taste the restaurant Zi Carmela.
The fisherman and the simplicity
The philosophy of Zi Carmela, the taste of tradition, born in the kitchen and is also reflected on the tables of the outdoor restaurant. Here I found attention to the person, the pleasure of contact, cordiality never forced you to reserve a guest who is welcomed into the home, and which should be reserved for the best care. In fact, the dishes combine the freshness to the selection and the food is like a cuddle.
Imagine a menu made up of the best things that an island in the Tyrrhenian Sea has to offer, such as fish baked in a wood oven and served with a sauce of citrus Ischia, vegetables and herbs from the garden, the homemade desserts. This morning I woke up early and went with Nicola to make the tour of the ports of Ischia, where the fishing boats come back after a long night of fishing. Nicola knows the best places, times of arrival of the boats that go fishing for squid, the fishing boats, the tastiest varieties and choose the fish one by one. Later, in the late morning, Franchino the fisherman came to the restaurant to bring the catch of the day, what had escaped the dawn patrol. Between a coffee, chat and exchange playful jokes, recipe took shape first in the heart, and then moved into the hands of the chef to become the dish of the day. Extra virgin olive oil, simplicity, freshness, a touch of art and the dish is ready. For this, the appetizer of sea changes every day: today, sautéed seafood, octopus salad, marinated mackerel. How can you resist?
Nicholas promised me a special dinner: dinner tonight with my eyes closed, and then give a peek at the menu to know what to expect. They are sitting on the table in the back, toward the sea. All around, the sweet air of the island of Ischia.
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