617 Laurel Street
San Carlos, CA 94070
Why did we dine here? – Locanda Positano is the sister restaurant to now closed Acqua Pazza in San Mateo and has received some high accolades on Yelp. We were in the area, love Italian food, and decided to give them a try. Locanda means inn, in Italian. Positano is a scenic town hugging the Amalfi coast of Southern Italy. We’ve visited there but did not have a meal. Our last visit was in February 2015, where we found this place extremely loud.
The restaurant was packed at dinner time, so make reservations ahead of time. It has gotten louder over the years too.
Insider Tip – Make reservations on Open Table.
Cuisine – Italian
Location – Downtown San Carlos
Opened – 2011
Service – Locanda Positano had good service with the aloof server checking in every so often. Pacing was good, as was refills and whatnot. In 2015, the service sagged when we had to eat on the Gusto side. The owner is omnipresent and trying to be as warming and inviting as possible.
Verdict – Locanda Positano is a solid bet for Italian food in San Carlos. The pizza and pasta exceeded our expectations. They also own the restaurant next door Gusto, has similar food but more upscale atmosphere. It is slated to switch to a fancier French, New American format under a new chef soon. The food here is also better than nearby restaurants such as Spasso.
Signature Dishes – Pizza, Pasta
Locanda Positano Menu features a small selection of appetizers along with a good selection of pizzas and pastas. Not a lot of vegetarian options.
Locanda Positano Picks:
Malfi Mojito ($10) was a tall and strong drink with lots of fruitiness.
A tasting of traditional Italian cured meats, house-made crostini ($15) was a nice sampling of their cured meats, along with cod, olives, and some bread.
Organic Kale salad ($8) with fuji apples, raisins, goat cheese, strawberry vinaigrette was fairly sweet and would make a kid love kale! Still a decent salad that could use toning down.
Organic Beet Salad ($11) wild arugula, burrata cheese, balsamic reduction looked pretty ordinary. Boy, the did a stellar job on it though. Perfectly dressed, great cheese, an excellent choice.
Hearts of romaine salad ($8) with housemade Caesar dressing and grana padano cheese came chopped up and topped off with anchovies. Decent, good size, but unconventional.
Margherita Pizza ($15) was surprisingly good with excellent Mozzarella cheese and a soft crust. They have a very expensive pizza oven in the back, so the quality shows. Having been to Naples, we find this more Americanized than authentic.
Sofia loren ~ buffalo mozzarella, proscuitto, arugula, eggplant, artichoke, zucchini ($18) was recommended by our server. This interesting pizza has a empty space in the middle that is filled with arugula, proscuitto, and cheese – almost like a salad in the middle.
Italian sausage, wild mushrooms, spicy peperoni ($16) was a decent pizza with good sausage and a crispy crust.
Pizza Clasicco ($17) on our 2015 visit was a soggy in the middle and a bit burnt on the bottom. Sloppy compared to their solid pasta.
Handmade scialatielli pasta, fresh clams, prawns, cherry tomatoes ($17) was clearly freshly made. High quality and some very fresh shellfish makes this dish a must-get.
Handmade Strozzapreti Pasta ($16) Italian sausage, peas, wild mushrooms was excellent. Could have used more of the eggless pasta as there was a ton of meat. Great white sauce that was not too creamy or overwhelming, and nice al dente nuggets of pasta.
Cavatelli Cinghiale ($17) featured gnocchi like pieces of pasta along with some red boar ragu. Very good, but not as good as the Strozzapreti.
Pappardelle pasta, wild boar ragú ($17) was also a fine house-made wide noodle pasta. The boar was very tender and cooked till it fell apart. They know how to make pasta here. No need to trek to flour and water! You need to eat this fast before it settles. The Strozzapreti is a bit better than this.
Fish of the day – Pesce del giorno ($25) was sea bass and high recommended by the server. Lite red sauce, nice potatoes and spinach. Surprisingly good as we were reluctant to order it instead of pasta.
Nutellino ($8.50) oven-baked nutella calzone was a fun dessert with a warm calzone filled with velvetty nutella. Whipped cream was on the side.
OK: (Order if you like this dish)
Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)