Paestum was a major ancient city of the Magna Graecia on the Tyrrhenian coast, which has a great historic meaning to the modern period for its three well-preserved ancient temples in the Doric order dating back from 550 to 450 BC surrounded by the ancient city walls. Capaccio Paestum, the modern town that lies directly to the south of the archaeological site, offers something else that visitors flock to – seaside resorts with long sandy beaches. It’s a town full of spirit that combines its ancient past and forward-looking establishments.
Tre Olivi is a restaurant that ties its concept with the importance of its old roots using the olive tree as its symbol, a plant that the ancient Greeks considered sacred. Its elegant Mediterranean style not only dresses the restaurant but the cuisine has also been designed to evolve around it. It was born as a tribute to Cilento, a place that delivers excellence in culinary for the richness of raw materials that the territory provides. It is interesting to know that the world-renowned physiologist, Ancel Keys who had been central in the study and recognition of the Mediterranean Diet chose to live in Cilento where he studied the eating habits of the people and the secrets of their longevity because of the particularly healthy cuisine of the area.
Having such an important culinary culture, Tre Olivi focuses on the aromas, colors and freshness of the Mediterranean Diet as its principal philosophy. Running the kitchen since July 2020 is Chef Giovanni Solofra, who has had great experiences in the Michelin starred kitchens of Heinz Beck of La Pergola Restaurant in Rome for more than ten years and St. George Restaurant in Taormina, Sicily; Quique Dacosta of Quique Dacosta Restaurant in Alicante, Spain; and Ciccio Sultano of The Duomo Restaurant in Ragusa, Sicily. Alongside him is his life partner Pastry Chef Roberta Merolli, who had also been a part of the team of Heinz Beck, handles the leavened products and dessert sector.
Together with local entrepreneur Giuseppe Pagano, owner of the Savoy Beach Hotel where Tre Olivi is housed, Solofra concocted a cuisine that’s uniquely his, a finely-tuned blend of contemporary style with a strong Mediterranean foundation. Pagano breathes the tradition of Cilentro through his enogastronomic endeavors, from his wine estate San Salvatore 1988 to his mozzarella production farm of more than seven hundred buffaloes producing milk while being serenaded by classical music to a production of preserved local products.
While Sonofra’s cooking has a contemporary approach, nothing extreme but playing on harmony, employing modern techniques, the main artery of the territorial flavors and quality are underlined well. Being from Campania himself, he knows the tradition of the kitchen and the ingredients by heart. The dishes, when presented, are visually striking on various shapes and sizes of white porcelain dishes. It’s an impressive presentation that puts the food as the highlight of the meal.
Tre Olivi is located inside the 5-star Savoy Beach Hotel. The restaurant has an internal part as well as a sprawling open space which are elegantly dominated by olive wood. The open dining area faces a garden that is characterized by a black lava stone pool where the landscape of Cilento with its mountain and fields are reflected on the water.
The menu is seasonal but some iconic dishes remain like the Fontana o Pomodoro? (Fountain or Tomato?) a striking red orange dish covered jelly veil that has to be sliced through with a small piece of slicer made of dried tomato seeds. The whole dish is made of four different types of tomatoes combined with Mediterranean bluefin tuna tartare. And the signature welcome plate of the restaurant, Le Tre Olive (The Three Olives), three forms perfectly resembling three olives in three colors that once popped in the mouth, give sensational liquid explosion of flavors. The Tasting Menu of five courses is at €90. Average price for an à la carte meal is between €70 to €120.