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Francis Bown, Bown's Best

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See below for the latest Mid-August 2016 Reviews

Grand Hotel La Favorita, Sorrento, Italy | Bown's Best


Spacious, immaculately maintained and wonderfully practical, the Grand Hotel La Favorita is a hostelry I like very much indeed. Notice my deliberate use of the word ‘practical’. Practicality is a characteristic too many hotels neglect nowadays, and the result of such neglect is a plague of hostelries which look wonderful in glossy magazines but are hard put to offer their guests a comfortable chair or a useable bath tub. There is none of this nonsense at La Favorita – thank goodness. But do not think it lacks aesthetic appeal, for within this palace of sparkling white, located in the historical heart of beautiful Sorrento, you will find an abundance of pretty things.

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JK Place Capri, Capri, Italy | Bown's Best


Long experience has taught me that the very best establishments, be they hotels or restaurants, always share one important characteristic: they welcome constructive suggestions. When I met the delightful General Manager of the J K Place on Capri – a young man who is as charming as he is efficient, and he is very efficient – I saw at once that he was without a tie. (As readers of Bown’s Bespoke will know, the wearing of a collar and tie is one of my sartorial Ten Commandments.) Immediately, I expressed my alarm – to general amusement. The following day, the bearded Mr Martino Acampora – for it was he – appeared dressed properly (and very smartly). My picture shows him thus attired, alongside myself and the chefs from the restaurant. This modest tale of the triumph of Virtue takes us to the heart of why the J K Place is such a good hotel: nothing is too much trouble if it will please the guests.

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Ristorante Il Buco, Sorrento, Italy | Bown's Best


Il Buco is widely acknowledged to be the best restaurant in the beautiful city of Sorrento. It has the important star from the Michelin inspectors, and – just as important – it has provided me with a number of delicious dinners over the years. It is down a sloping alley off the bustling piazza San Antonio. Its outside tables are on the right and its front door is on the left. On my recent visit all those dining al fresco were so taken aback by my sartorial efforts – why do so few other chaps take any care with their clothes nowadays when they visit restaurants? – that they stared in admiration (at least, I hope it was admiration) as I made my careful progress to the entrance. Inside, I soon found myself in the presence of the Chef and Patron, Giuseppe Aversa (pictured, with your correspondent). He certainly takes care – with the selection and preparation of the finest ingredients to be found in this part of Italy.

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See also Dining in France & American Farm to Table

Francis Bown 2003
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