Vernazza, Cinque Terre: Bar del Capitano

by gigi on May 21, 2009

I’m sure some of you must have thought I was finally done with my vacation series to Italy and Paris but guess again! I had almost forgotten about this myself in my haste to post about all the restaurants I’ve been visiting lately. :) Our lovely stay in Cinque Terre was about to come to an end so Jenkins and I decided to celebrate our last evening by going to a nice place for dinner right by the harbour. Our guidebook noted that Bar del Capitano offered the best value out of all the restaurants by the harbour so we decided to check it out. Bar del Capitano had limited inside seating and the majority of its seats were outside on the main square so we snagged a table on the edge for optimum people watching opportunities.

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As I probably mentioned before, the tap water in Cinque Terre was not recommended for drinking by our guidebook so we ordered a bottle of mineral water to share. I always choose the “gassy” version because I like the fizz and bubbles. :)

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One of Capitano’s specialties was the antipasto misto, which was an appetizer platter of seasonal, fresh seafood. Although it was for the two of us to share, it was so good that I could have easily called this a main course and have eaten it all by myself! The seafood was very fresh and most of the items were prepared in ways that I had never tried before. My favourite was the buttery stuffed mussels, which were slightly crispy on the outside and stuffed with a saffrony, aromatic mixture that complimented the mussels themselves very well. I also really enjoyed the cold salad of squid with olives and tomatoes.

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Along with our antipasto came two fresh prawns that were half de-shelled but basically presented whole. Jenkins remarked that they looked a bit scary but the prawns were simply divine. They were served cold and were prepared with a bit of lemon juice, which seemed to cook the prawns a bit. This really brought out the sweetness of the prawns and I wish they had given us a few more with our dish.

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The menu at Capitano is seasonal and we noticed that there were quite a few mussel dishes so we figured they must have been in season. I decided to order the steamed mussels with white wine, shallots, and lemon juice. It probably wasn’t the most original dish but the fresh ingredients really highlighted the mussels’ sweetness and how it was complemented by the wine and lemon juice.

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Jenkins decided to order the spaghetti chitarra, which came with mussels, clams, and prawns. It was chock full of seafood and I think there was more seafood than there was pasta. :) The pasta was lightly tossed in a tomato-based sauce with a lot of parsley, which went really well with the seafood.

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Jenkins and I were really glad we could end our stay in Cinque Terre with such a fantastic meal. Even though we ate around 8PM, it was considered early in Italy so the restaurant was quite empty and we had the full attention of our server. Even though we were quite full at this point, I convinced Jenkins to cap off our meal with a dessert of gelato and affogato. I would post pictures but greedy little me gobbled up my affogato and gelato before I remembered to take pictures. :)

Details:
Bar del Capitano, Vernazza (harbourside), Cinque Terre
Wed-Mon 12PM – 3PM & 7PM – 10PM
Closed Tues except in August, closed Dec-Jan

Summary:
Food: [rating:4.5]
Service: [rating:3.5]
Price: $$$

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