Local Taste

The keepers of Cetara’s culinary tradition

Five restaurants have enhanced the culture of food and the products of the territory in recipes and tasting menus which tell through their taste the excellence of the small village.

By Anna Volpicelli, cover photo by Vito Fusco 

Famous for its colatura di Alici (anchovies sauce), which in 2020 obtained DOP certification, Cetara has always been a fishing village. It is a vocation that probably also derives from its name, Cetaria, which means “tonnara”. The small town has distinguished itself over the years for its composure and food culture. Chefs and restaurateurs carry on the local gastronomic tradition and the Amalfi Coast with innovation and creativity. We searched for the cornerstones of the restaurant, custodians of a heritage known throughout the world. 

Ristorante Pizzeria Al Covento

Pasquale Torrente, chef and owner of Ristorante Pizzeria Al Convento has come a long way. A tradition of catering and hospitality that is inscribed in the family DNA. Ever since his grandparents, Gilda and Gaetano, opened a gaming room in the 1960s, it has taken on different guises. First as an ice cream bar, then as a trattoria and pizzeria, to then become, under the aegis of Torrente and his son Gaetano, a whole food empire, praised by chef Massimo Bottura, who also won a Michelin star. A simple but refined cuisine that offers an a la carte menu that enhances the ingredients of the territory: from appetizers, including anchovy tapas, to spicy ziti with tuna Genovese sauce, tuna tataki, zucchini chips in scapece and bottarga mayonnaise, to desserts. 

Happy Hour at Armatore – La Dispensa, courtesy of Armatore

La Cianciola 

Vincenzo Giorgio and his wife Alfonsina have been interpreting the cuisine of the Amalfi Coast with creativity and innovation since 1958. One of the founders of the Associazione Colatura di Alici di Cetara DOP, founded in 2015, the dishes prepared by Vincenzo in his kitchen tell the story of a territory rich in quality aromas and flavors. Such as the Cetarese antipasto, a tuna Panzanella with pickles and tuna in oil, marinated anchovies, seared tuna dressed in white wine vinegar vinaigrette and mint, bread crouton with sun-dried tomatoes, burrata cheese from Monti Lattari and salted anchovies, or the Vincenzo and Alfonsina tububettoni with fresh tomatoes, fresh anchovies, capers, and pine nuts.

Armatore – La Dispensa

Sustainability is at home here. Luigi Della Monica, the entrepreneur of the sea, carries on the family tradition by sailing in the waters of the Mediterranean with the tuna boats authorized to fish bluefin tuna. An adventure began many years ago by his grandfather with Astore, the first boat suitable for this type of fishing. Not only tuna but also anchovies processed within a few hours of fishing. All this is used for the commercial activities that Monica’s family has developed over the years and for the restaurant La Dispensa di Armatore, located under the stone arches of the ancient village. Here, chef Giuseppe Della Porta, who will lead the kitchen this year, uses the 2017 colatura di Alici (anchovies) riserva, bluefin tuna roe, bluefin tuna ventresca, and other products signed by Armatore to prepare his recipes. In addition to the tasting menu, he serves an a la carte offering, including the first course In fondo al mare, a marjoram risotto with squid ragout, bluefin tuna roe, dehydrated seaweed, and squid ink powder.

Ristorante San Pietro

Tradition and experimentation at San Pietro restaurant located a few steps from the fishermen’s square. An environment that stands out for its hospitality where Franco Tammaro and Bruno Milano try to make every meal of their guests unique and special. The menu is mainly based on fish, but there are also meat dishes. Among the proposals to be tried is the mixed fish soup with rockfish, which varies according to the harvest of the day, and the risotto with homemade tuna roe.

Salty anchovies at Acquapazza, courtesy of Acquapazza Gourmet


The two cousins, Gennaro Castiello (martyr and sommelier) and Gennaro Marciante (chef), opened the restaurant thirty years ago to enhance the local products, namely anchovies and colatura. “We would like to point out that our fish comes exclusively from the Gulf of Salerno because the territory we live in gives us everything, and we just have to know how to seize it, enhance it, and use it.” Before opening their Acquapazza Gourmet workshop, where they dedicated themselves to the production of colatura and other local specialties, they experimented with the technique in a warehouse used as a laboratory under the guidance of Uncle Vittorio. “I’d like to see the workshops brought back here to Cetara.” Among the dishes prepared by Gennaro Marciante, one should try spaghetti with colatura di alici (anchovies sauce). 


Ristorante Pizzeria Al Convento, Piazza San Francesco 16, Cetara (SA), info@alconvento.net, alconvento.net

La Cianciola, Piazza Cantone 13, Cetara (SA), info@lacianciola.it, lacianciola.it

Armatore- La Dispensa, Via Cantone 1, Cetara (SA), info@armatorecetara.it, armatorecetara.it

Ristorante San Pietro, Piazza San Francesco 6, Cetara (SA), sanpietroristorante.it

Acquapazza, Corso Garibaldi 36, Cetara (SA), acquapazza.it

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