Too many to list. The restaurants and chefs that thrill me the most express a sense of place and season. I just came back from a trip to Campania, where Gennaro Esposito of Torre del Saracino in Marina di Seiano, the Fischetti family at L'Oasis in Vallesaccarda, Berardino Lombardo at La Caveja in Pietravairano, and the Iaccarino family at Don Alfonso in Sant'Agata all express the greatest Italian traditions. I ate super-fresh fish and seafood, tiny suckling pig chops with sun-dried sweet peppers, a series of vegetable appetizers--vegetables straight from the farm, a "Vesuvius" of baked pasta, Annurca apples. Worth the voyage.
as a Napoletano (now abroad) I must admit it makes me quite proud to hear such positive opinions on some of the best places in Campania. Having tried a few of these I couldn't agree more on your judgment: I had a fantastic dinner at Gennarino Esposito's place lately and I can only hope more young Italian cooks will follow his cooking style balanced between great local ingredients and traditions and a subtle creativity. The South was in the past often seen as the culinary backwaters of Italy, doyou have the feeling that it is undergoing a gastronomic renaissance in the past few years?
I'm slightly confused at seeing Don Alfonso in the list above, especially considering your previous comment on creative chefs in Italy
. My experience at Don Alfonso goes back to 5 or 6 years ago, but at the time the style of the plates was to my eyes very much on the creative side, with many unusual ingredient combinations. The ingredients were clearly local, but so to my eyes are many of those Vissani uses, at least judging from his recipe book. Has the cooking style of Don Alfonso changed in these few years?