The island of Capri is renowned across Italy and the world as a luxury travel destination with stunning natural beauty, an iconic Mediterranean ambiance, and world-class cuisine. One restaurant that exemplifies Capri’s flavors, scenery, and elegant yet relaxed charm is Il Riccio, a Michelin-starred fine dining destination perched dramatically on the cliffs in Anacapri.
With breathtaking views over the Gulf of Naples, an exquisite seafood-focused menu courtesy of Chef Vincenzo Tedeschi, and a seaside setting just steps from the iconic Blue Grotto, Il Riccio offers guests an unforgettable gourmet experience infused with the essence of Capri and the region’s culinary traditions. The restaurant’s name, “the sea urchin,” reflects its fresh, seasonal Mediterranean cuisine, with local fish, seafood, and produce as the stars of the show.
While Il Riccio and Capri’s upscale dining scene may be the main attractions, the island’s long and multifaceted history has also shaped its culture, architecture, and local flavors. Capri has been inhabited since the Neolithic era, and was later colonized by the Greeks before becoming part of Ancient Rome’s empire. The discovery of the Blue Grotto by Emperor Augustus put Capri on the map. Capri’s rugged landscape and position off Italy’s Amalfi Coast have influenced the construction, defensive fortifications of towns like Anacapri, and the island’s culinary specialties focusing on seafood and locally-grown produce. Under the guidance of Chef Vincenzo Tedeschi, Il Riccio blends tradition and innovation through these local ingredients prepared with sophisticated technique and a passion for regional dishes like sea urchin spaghetti. Immersing guests into Capri’s culture and landscapes both inside the dining room and out on Il Riccio’s sea-facing terrace, a meal at the restaurant offers so much more than exquisite food and wine.
The Exquisite Cuisine of Il Riccio Capri
Il Riccio showcases the elevated simplicity and freshness of regional Campania cuisine through seasonal tasting menus focusing on just-caught Mediterranean seafood and local produce. Situated just meters from the glittering Blue Grotto sea cave and perched right on the water’s edge, Il Riccio provides guests with a quintessential fine dining experience where the recipes, views, and setting all capture the essence of Capri.
The dining room extends out onto a panoramic cliffside terrace overlooking the sea, bringing diners as close as possible to Capri’s dramatic coastline. Inside, the chic yet informal atmosphere blends whitewashed Mediterranean architecture with contemporary elegance. The menu changes with the seasons, led by the daily catch from local fishermen that morning – sea bream, orange roughy, amberjack, and bass often make an appearance. Signature dishes include the Plateau Royal, showcasing Langoustines, red prawns, lobster, oysters and clams for a decadent taste of the sea. Tedeschi also prepares localized versions of Italian classics like sea urchin spaghetti, the namesake dish at the “sea urchin” restaurant.
While Il Riccio’s refined preparations celebrate Capri’s fresh seafood and produce, the rich culture and architecture of towns like Anacapri have also shaped the island’s culinary identity. Anacapri’s strategic position high on Capri meant fortified settlements were vital. Traces of Ancient Greek, Roman, and medieval history can be seen Anacapri’s architecture, and ingredients like tomatoes, olive oil and mozzarella arrived with Mediterranean traders and invaders over the centuries. On the Il Riccio terrace, gazing out at the waters that brought so many influences to the island while tasting Capri’s indigenous gifts from the sea, dinners experience the interwoven history that makes the island and its cuisine unique.
Captivating Views and Ambiance at Il Riccio Capri
Beyond exquisite food, Il Riccio also promises an atmosphere of relaxed luxury, thanks to its seaside setting, casually elegant dining room, and breathtaking vistas over the waters that have made Capri famous. The restaurant is situated directly on the island’s dramatic coastline, just steps from the Faraglioni rock formations in the glittering blue Mediterranean Sea that surrounds Capri.
Inside the dining room, whitewashed stone architecture blends seamlessly with contemporary comforts, white tablecloths, elegant place settings and accents of maritime blue and gold that recall the glistening sea and sun outside. Soaring windows and an open-air terrace ensure diners enjoy the sensational panoramas from every table, making an evening at Il Riccio feel like dining on top of the world. The chic atmosphere means stylish resort-wear is fitting attire, complementing the restaurant’s contemporary vibe. Guests can expect warm, personalized service, and an experience balancing luxury touches with a relaxing, convivial Italian spirit.
Beyond views overlooking the famed Faraglioni rocks and Blue Grotto, inside Il Riccio’s dining room design details also connect to Capri’s identity from the majolica tiled walls to nodding to the island’s famous limoncello digestif. House-made versions of beloved local pastries also make an appearance, especially in Il Riccio’s not-to-be-missed dessert room. Shining majolica tile walls and displays of sweets like zesty lemon profiteroles known as delizie al limone, ricotta-filled sfogliatelle pastries and rum-soaked babà reflect the Neapolitan confectionary tradition. The dining room itself is an homage to Capri, from vistas dining on the water’s edge recall Anacapri’s eyrie-like position to details honoring the customs that shape the island. An evening at Il Riccio brings all of Capri’s beauty, flavors and charm to the table.
Exploring Capri’s Culinary Scene: Other Fine Dining Options and Local Delicacies
While its sea-facing perch, refined Mediterranean cuisine and romantic charm have earned Il Riccio fame across Italy and beyond, the entire island of Capri is a gourmet paradise. In addition to Il Riccio, Capri offers an array of dining options from beach clubs serving sunset aperitivo on Marina Piccola (pictured below) to charming trattorias tucked into Anacapri’s side streets.
For another elevated twist on regional cuisine, L’Olivo offers two Michelin stars and garden ambiance at Capri Palace hotel, with Executive Chef Andrea Migliaccio’s innovative Italian menus even including a “zero-mile” section focused entirely on Capri-grown ingredients. Casual trattorias like Le Arcate in Anacapri also promise delicious dishes using beloved island ingredients like juicy Caprese tomatoes, fresh mozzarella di bufala from nearby Campania on mainland Italy, and Capri’s famous local lemons, celebrated in the island’s iconic lemon-infused digestifs.
Even beach-going by day or evening passeggiata strolls give a taste of Capri’s culinary identity through iconic snacks. The island’s beloved tarallucci crackers seasoned with local olive oil make a perfect beachside snack. Lemons also star as bright, tart granita sorbets or in chilled limoncello digestifs, ideal while appreciating a Capri sunset. For food lovers, everywhere from fine dining at Il Riccio to grabbing a cone of tart lemon gelato while exploring Capri’s winding cobblestone lanes promises a delicious bite of island life infused with the flavors that have defined Capri through the centuries.
Capri’s History as an Isle of Good Food and the High Life
Capri’s status as a gourmet destination today has roots hundreds of years old, intertwined with the culture of leisure and glamor that has marked the island as a luxurious retreat. During Ancient Roman times, Emperor Augustus was pivotal in elevating Capri as a getaway for the empire’s elite with his personal villa complex. Later Capri grew famous as the vacation spot for Europeans aristocrats in the 17th and 18th centuries, especially with French and Scottish visitor documenting its rugged beauty and Mediterranean charm.
By the early 1900s Capri became central to the era’s artistic avant garde, hedonistic culture drawing writers like D.H. Lawrence and a community of American and English expats. Italian playboy Count Jacques Fersen von Avezan even built a Moorish-inspired pleasure palace complete with lush gardens and a grotto dining room to entertain Capri’s fashionable visitors. Traces of the island’s history as a haven for luxuriating in nature’s beauty while indulging in la dolce vita can still be found today – especially in venues like Il Riccio that blend stunning scenery with pampering dining experiences.
Key Highlights of Il Riccio Capri
Il Riccio Capri offers guests a world-class fine dining experience defined by:
- Exquisite Mediterranean and seafood cuisine courtesy of Executive Chef Vincenzo Tedeschi
- Spectacular cliffside setting just steps from the Blue Grotto and Capri’s iconic Faraglioni rock formations
- Elegant yet relaxed dining room with soaring sea views from an open-air terrace
- Celebration of local flavors and ingredients like sea urchins, fresh seafood, tomatoes, olive oil and limoncello
- Location in Anacapri, the island’s highest town with panoramas overlooking Capri town and the Bay of Naples
- House-made takes on regional dessert specialties like rum-soaked babà in Il Riccio’s famous on-site pastry room
Summary: An Iconic Destination for Capri’s Coastal Cuisine and Charm
Il Riccio exemplifies the blend of breathtaking scenery, relaxed luxury, and mouthwatering regional cuisine that makes Capri a world-famous island escape. Perched dramatically on Capri’s cliffs with sweeping views of the Faraglioni sea stacks and glittering grottoes, the Michelin-starred restaurant overlooks the same Mediterranean waters that have brought the best of Capri’s beloved ingredients to its shores through the centuries.
The seafood-focused Mediterranean tasting menus change with the daily catch, celebrating local bounty through sophisticated preparation highlighting bright, clean flavors. Beyond exquisite dishes artfully plated, Il Riccio offers an experience steeped in Capri’s essence, from azure and seafoam accents echoing the island’s iconic coastlines to house-made desserts prepared with famous local lemons. A meal on Il Riccio’s open-air cliff terrace or in the elegantly informal dining room brings diners close to the sights, colors, tastes and even legends that have made Capri famous worldwide. Exploring Il Riccio is truly an immersive chance to discover what makes the island such an iconic and luxurious destination.