Trattoria Positano

Positano signReview #47

We have strayed off the 101!  Due to the fact that there are no restaurants on the east side of Hwy 101 from The Kraken to Swami’s Cafe, we are taking a little detour over to San Elijo Rd. to catch the establishments that fill in this gap.  There are a few clusters of them, not all exactly on San Elijo, but since we are taking liberties, we are doing them all.

It’s hot.  Coastal San Diego isn’t supposed to get into the hundreds yet here we are, and it ain’t what I signed up for.  Rental # 10 doesn’t come with air conditioning, and I will admit that the heat has made me a teeny tiny bit cranky. I consider myself to be a pretty tough cookie most of the time.  I kill myself in the gym. I fall off horses like a champ.   But when it comes to being hot, at this stage in my life, I admit it,  I’m a total wimp!  I am so stinking hot and uncomfortable in this oven of a house, and for some reason it is definitely Hubby’s fault!  I know it probably doesn’t sound rational, but the hotter I get, the more certain I am that he is responsible.  I wouldn’t say I totally take my misery out on him, but I might be ever so slightly impatient. Possibly a smidge less pleasant to be around than usual.

We were both very ready to go out for dinner tonight.  Me, because I couldn’t stand being in this rental inferno for one more second, and him because he needed to diffuse his hot wife (not “hot” in the good way) with other people.  In fact, he wouldn’t even drive there with me and made up some lame excuse about having an errand to run first.  And when I showed up and he wasn’t there,  I didn’t know if he would ever show up.  I wasn’t even sure if I was married any more.

I envisioned a long, slow meal eaten in the deliciousness of an air conditioned Italian restaurant.  We would savor each bite.  We would have long, meaningful conversations.  I would be back to my normal self, so cooled down by the luxurious forced air that maybe I would need a sweater for my shoulders.  I would be cheery, witty and light-hearted.  We would be in no rush to leave and would close the place down.  I looked at the fresco of this mermaid, so refreshed, just sliding out of the cooled ocean for a bit. Grazing her hand through the cold waves.  Ahhh, yes, I thought.  This is the place.

Positano mermaidBut to my absolute horror, Trattoria Positano has no air conditioning!!!  I realize they are right across the street from the beach, and there is probably only a few days in the year where the heat is this bad, but tonight was one of those nights.  No air conditioning?  Hubby, how could you?!?  I glared at him.  He took the seat farthest from me at the table.

Trattoria Positano  is quaint, inviting and filled with cuteness.  An Italian opera version of The Beatles song, “Yesterday” was playing. Odd.

We ordered drinks and a Quattro Staggioni flatbread for the table.

Positano flat bread

The vegetables were good, but the pesto wasn’t very flavorful.  I didn’t care for the airy, cracker-style dough they use for this flatbread.  I prefer a real pizza dough that is chewy, not crunchy.

Both Joyce and Debbie ordered the same dish: Penne Del Campo:  pasta with zucchini, mushroom, carrots, green beans, leeks and fennel sautéed in olive oil, garlic and basil.

Joyce’s dish came with a garden of greens on top.  Pretty, but kind of hard to deal with.  And for a vegetable pasta dish, there really aren’t that many vegetables.  It tasted good, but nothing special.

Positano veg

The waitress asked Debbie if she wanted to add shrimp, and Debbie said, “sure”.  Debbie got a tree of basil rather than the useless garden of greens that topped Joyce’s, and there were three shrimp in there.

Positano shrimp

Geoff ordered the ravioli and loved it.  He asked how they make their sauce and they told him just tomatoes, garlic and orange juice.

Positano ravioli

Mary and Kelly ordered winning dishes of Caterinelli.  The thick tubes of homemade rolled pasta were heavenly and the kobe beef sauce was hearty and very flavorful.  But there are those strange greens on top again!  Why?

Positano meat

Hubby and I shared the Linguine Mediterranean and the Gnocchi alla Boscaiola.  The Gnocchi was homemade and really great, but the sauce was only mediocre.  Very few porcini mushrooms were harmed in the making here.

Positano gnocci

The Linguine Mediterranean was far from the best we ever had.  Hubby and I often order this dish and it is usually packed with seafood.  Not the case here.  I tried one mussel and one clam, and refused to eat any more of the shellfish.  They did NOT taste good.  But what lacked in freshness was made up for in monstrous basil leaves.  And at least those were fresh.

Positano seafood

All of us had one of these on their bread plates during dinner.  Side salad?  Nope- garnish.  Ridiculously huge pieces of herbs which would better have been served as more flavor cooked in their sauce.

Positano garnish

Dessert time came and right when we were about to say, “No thanks” this tray of home made goodies were placed at our table to tempt us.  That’s just mean. And a smart business move for sure!

Positano desserts

I’m not a fan of Tiramisu but everyone else agreed that this one was fantastic.

Positano tierrmisu

Their Pavlova was as delicious as it was beautiful.  But the huge branch of mint, really?

Positano pavlova

The check came and Debbie’s eyes bugged out when she saw that she was charged an extra $9 for her three measly shrimp. That’s just wrong Trattoria Positano!

When it was time to leave, Debbie said, “Um, guys?  Problem here”.  Debbie was wearing a cute little dress.  But when she went to stand up, the chair had stuck to her sweaty legs and was attached to her.  She looked ridiculous walking around with this chair.  We had to borrow a giant spatula from the kitchen to disconnect her.  It was way too hot in here tonight.  Nice job Hubby, I hope you’re proud.

After dinner, we walked outside to admire the incredible creation our dear friends made out of The Cardiff Kook (for you out-of-towners, click on the link…decorating the Kook is a local tradition, but never done this well before.)   Amazing job you guys! Bravo CM, LM and crew!

Positano kook

On our way to our cars,  Hubby surprised me with news that he got us out of our rental contract early.  We are moving immediately to rental house #11.  It is much further from his work.  It is an old place, and not close to our gym, the grocery store or friends.  But it has air.  Glorious air.  And our marriage needs for me to have air.

Bottom Line:

I really wanted to love Trattoria Positano more than I did.  The dishes were hit and miss.  The ones with home made pasta were better than the others, but many of the dishes lacked flavor.  Everything was over priced for the size of the portions served.  If you do come, the Ravioli and Caterinelli pastas were well received.  And you can’t go wrong with their desserts.  But personally, I won’t be back.  There are too many better places to go.

Next Sunday is a BIG double-header blogging day!  Join us on July 15th at 8:30am for breakfast at

VG Donut and Bakery

and then later that same night, next door for dinner at 6:00pm at

Best Pizza and Brew

We will be exercising between events.  Non-stop.


Author: foodkibbitzer

I love to cook, especially soup, and bake challah. I ride horses, enjoy sarcastic people and am a food snob. I'm busy being mom to my two boys and I play mahj jong.

3 thoughts on “Trattoria Positano”

  1. Trattoria Positano is one of our favorites, never had a bad meal here. I’m picky about green salads and theirs are nicely dressed and taste homegrown. We love the crab cakes, delicate authentic lasagna, ravioli, fish dishes, and desserts. It’s a family-owned restaurant and everything is fresh and homemade-tasting. I hope people give this lovely family-owned restaurant a try. Maybe it wasn’t the best place to be on the hottest night of the year, but it’s a local gem in our opinion.


    1. Thank you for sharing your comments , I’m glad to hear you’ve had some good experiences there. Unfortunately, I
      usually only go to each place one time and I may have a different experience if I went another. If my opinion is less than great about a place, I won’t leave a Yelp review, only if I can leave a stellar one. I really do want to promote/help the local businesses while still being true to my opinion. Each person is welcome to their own, and I’m glad you’ve shared yours.


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