Rabbit and smoked buffalo mozzarella ravioli by Nino Di Costanzo, one of the best dishes at Danì Maison, new venue on Ischia island, headed by the chef who left the helm of Mosaico at the Terme Manzi hotel in April 2015. Many new dishes but also many classic dishes, which gained him two Michelin stars
“You need to go back, turn right and after 300 metres take the steep road to your right and you’re there” a kind lady explains. It is not the easiest thing to find the new restaurant that Nino Di Costanzo, two Michelin stars at the now closed Mosaico in the Hotel Terme Manzi, opened a few days ago in his home island of Ischia. We locate the place though, and after a couple of turns that gives us a few more grey hairs, we arrive at Dani Maison.
The greenery of the island enfolds the hill where the chef and his family live, and where he now also runs his business, after a few months traveling around the world cooking for the fashion house Kiton. And Nino himself welcomes us in the stunning garden he created: flowers, Mediterranean scrub and plenty of herbs interspersed by art pieces which echo the sea and the Campania traditions (including a giant red horn which deflects bad luck). “Here in Ischia the civic numbers change constantly…taxi drivers are already quite unhappy with me” - Nino apologises, when we appear a little overwhelmed by the trip up here. In fact, you drive up from number 4 but the business card marks 28.
It doesn’t really matter, as stepping into the gardens feels immediately as being in a peaceful oasis. The sunset lights flicker all over and the Epomeo’s scents provide a striking frame and are alone worth the journey. The atmosphere here is magical, we are surrounded by lemon trees, olive groves, fruit orchards and further down, the Mediterranean sea; basically the larder Nino uses to create his dishes. The terroir, so important for his philosophy, becomes a single unit with the Dani Maison.
Lamb, aubergine parmigiana, chard pie and potato lasagne
Despite being open for a few days only, the place is full. Only 4 tables in the main dining room, is furnished in a contemporary way with traditional touches (a large Pulcinella is painted on a wall) and two more tables for two right under the pass. The kitchen is small but perfectly formed: we can’t see how many cooks are working but they are all in perfect harmony despite the reduced space (we’re certainly not in the Mosaico kitchens). The service is almost flawless, surely there is a little bit of anxiety given the expectations before the opening.
BACK HOME. Nino Di Costanzo in his brand new restaurant (photo ilgolfo24.it)
The perfection in the flavours and presentation is his trademark, no doubt about it. The Neapolitan Risotto with stuffed peppers flavours has the warm tones and yellow and red and the precise aromas of the Neapolitan tradition. The Fumarole (geysers), homage to the local Maronti beach, marries scene and taste: a delicate cod fillet cooked table side by the steam generated over hot stones, while the fragrance of the herbs used envelopes the table.
The restaurant has a magnificent garden, surrounded by the Mediterranean flora
After the meal, Nino thanks us for dropping by. We walk through the garden, now shrouded in the Ischia night, and the ride home doesn’t worry us anymore.
via Montetignuso, 4
Isola di Ischia (Naples)
around 90 euro per person
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A British citizen from Naples, obsessive scuba diver, digital marketing manager Monday to Friday, foodie at any given time