A morning spent in the restaurant’s kitchen was rewarded with a cozy dinner for two in the evening. Christian, my new Italian gentleman friend, and a fantastically sarcastic one at that, invited me to a late cena at the scene of my gourmet lezione (Italians eat quite late), We spent a drawn out meal going back and forth between English and Italiano and savoring each others’ beautifully presented dishes on stunning tableware. I regretfully did not photograph Christian’s gnocchi, but I did manage to take a few snapshots of the plates you see here. Above, homemade pasta with mixed seafood. Below, a strawberry foglie and my lean choice of fruit sorbet (positively boring in comparison to Christian’s foglie but prettily presented nevertheless).
The library-esque atmosphere at Ristorante Max comes alive when the sun sets, a vastly different environment than the working ambiance I had experienced that morning. The main room is decorated with a mix of local art, some of it nearly as old as the structure itself, and the dining tables and chairs are a mix of antique furniture reminiscent of an old Italian villa, making this restaurant the coziest, most romantic dining establishment in all of Positano. Patrons feel as if they are visiting Italian friends as they enjoy a glass of prosecco on the deep-seated sofa and antique chairs. Below my chair on the other side of the glass floor, the restaurant’s impressive collection is pristinely maintained in the wine cellar. A glass wall separates this area from the outdoor terrace, perfect for before or after dinner cocktails. Throw in the fashionable Italian diners and the sophisticated visitors and I could not help but feel like Ingrid Bergman in her hey-day. Alas, when I look up, it is Christian scraping his spoon across the dessert plate, not Humphrey Bogart. So maybe I’m not Jennifer Jones on the set of Beat the Devil, but other than my missing movie star, Ristorante Max fulfills my fantasy.