Dani Maison: Our First Experience At A Two Michelin Star Restaurant in Ischia, Italy!

Dan and I dined at our first restaurant with two Michelin stars in May – Daní Maison in Ischia! The entire experience was excellent, and it was not as expensive as expected (although don’t get me wrong, it was expensive). This post details our experience at Daní Maison with their chef’s tasting menu in May 2022.

For a bit of background, Daní Maison is chef Nino di Costanzo’s restaurant. Costanzo’s family is from the Campania region, the region in Southern Italy in which Ischia sits, and his dishes focus on Ischia’s best foods with a modern, artistic flair. The restaurant is located in his family’s former home and is currently filled with works of art by Lello Esposito, who, per his bio, specializes in the relation between contemporary art and tradition by conceiving and re-elaborating the symbols of Neapolitan culture. Very cool!


Daní Maison is located on the outskirts of Ischia Porto (read about our time in Ischia here). Enjoying walking and it being nice weather, Dan and I took the thirty minute walk to Daní Maison from our hotel in central Ischia Porto. The majority of the walk was easy and safe, despite the sidewalk running out once or twice. However, the last several minutes were straight uphill, which made for a sweaty, exhausting arrival at a very nice restaurant. Next time we’ll take a car. When you start getting close, whether by car or foot, signs clearly lead the way to the restaurant. And, despite the tough climb, we walked home after dinner. Here are some pictures of the signage en route.


On arrival at Daní Maison, we were greeted by a well-dressed waiter who took us on a walk around the property. Yes, a whole property! As mentioned, Daní Maison is located inside an Ischian house that was apparently the home of some of Chef Costanzo’s family. The house is surrounded by gorgeous gardens that I can only describe as whimsical. Art is sprinkled throughout the garden and it was quite magical at sunset. After our stroll, we were seated in the garden to peruse the water, wine, and food menu and make our selections.  We went all in and opted for the Chef’s Tasting Menu – basically leaving our dinner up to the chef!  We also ordered pre-dinner Gin and Tonics.


Our first course was brought out to the gardens shortly after we were seated. Called Aperitivo, this course was a grand selection of the chef’s take on common dishes found at Aperitivo in the area, served on what I would call a work of art itself! The serving piece (for lack of a better word) contained several shelves, each with two twin pieces of aperitivi. While I cannot recall everything, our Aperitivo contained pizza fritta (or fried pizza dough with tomato and basil (an ode to Margherita pizza), a cone filled with buffalo mozzarella and beet, an olive with liquid inside on a crisp, a cute vegetable tart, a ball of cheese covered in local pork, and a cute tiny sandwich in the colors of the Italian flag.

While at Aperitivo, we also perused the huge wine menu and selected a 2009 Radici magnum from the wine list, which was totally excellent and lasted our entire dinner. Pro tip – be sure to look at the wine list and order something you are comfortable with; we felt the waiter tried to sell us on the very pricey wines. We were also offered a € 26 bottle of water to share. We declined and went with the more reasonable €8 option (still ridiculous). Don’t be put off however, the €26 water was the craziest thing on the menu in my opinion. Tasting menus also offer a Champagne or Prosecco pairing, but we preferred to go with reed wine.


Finishing our Aperitivo, we moved into the main dining room, which only had one other table when we visited. We were served the wine and brought our first proper table course – Passeggiata Napoletana. Translated as Journey through Naples, this course was eight dishes focusing on some of Naples’ most well-known foods. On offer, among other things, were milk with lime, zucchini with branzino tartare, a savory canolo with anchovy, and the most amazing local salami sandwich! Each of these were excellent.


The waiters next brought out an olive oil cart. Similar to a cheese cart, but stashed with a number of local olive oils. Since we were not familiar with the various oils, we took our waiter’s recommendation. It was great! We were served a selection of interesting breads with our oil. Most were in the long crispy style, but the focaccia was where its at!


The third course came out shortly after the olive oil cart, and it was quite the grand affair. Indeed, eight color matching square plates were placed in front of each me and Dan, each containing one piece of raw seafood. The presentation was A+. I am not a super seafood person, so I cannot remember many of these dishes, but they were all great and nothing tasted super seafoody. Probably because it was so fresh. I do recall having two shrimp dishes, a razor clam dish, tuna, and squid.  Everything was bite sized and easy to eat in one bite.


After the raw seafood course, we moved on to something more my speed – Mr. and Mrs. Buffalo! This dish came out on a large sparkly silver plate that reminded me of an outer space themed restaurant. In the center of the sparkly silver plate where four small bites, all made with buffalo mozzarella. I wish I had wrote down the menu. However, one bite was a taco made of cheese filled with beef, a fried bit of cheese, another fried bit, and meat with daikon. Very interesting and all terribly delicious.


The next course that arrived was maybe my favorite of the night – fusilloni pasta done in a Carbonara style and topped with caviar. Served on a large gold plate, the four pieces of pasta were perfectly cooked in a modern Carbonara style, toped with egg shavings and caviar. While I was a little sad that it was only four pieces, this dish was incredibly decadent


After the Carbonara take, I was kind of stuffed, LOL, but still had room for another round of pasta! Served on a slab of wood, our next course was two bites of gnocchi with potato and eggplant. Quite delicious, but also one of the least memorable courses in my opinion.


Rabbit is a very popular dish in Ischia. Very old school, very local. I had not previously tried it in Ischia, so I was excited to find rabbit on the menu. Our seventh course were three small tortelli pasta filled with rabbit and mozzarella. These were great! I could have finished an entire plate. Once again, the pasta was perfectly cooked.


Our second to last savory course was turbot tightly wrapped in a green wrapping with the most delicious white sauce. I was not expecting to love this dish, but I really did. Surprise, surprise!


Our next course, and final savory course, was a lamb parmesan dish served on a grand seashell shaped plate. Again, quite the presentation! On the seashell to the far right was piece of lamb, paired with a fried piece of zucchini and a tiny pasta stuffed with a green.


Our savory courses were followed by a cute little palate cleanser of a sorbet topped with some sort of cookie crumble. As you can see, it was served in an adorable little bowl.


Dessert at Daní Maison is a special affair. For those doing the tasting menu, each table receives a different dessert from the menu, which are a crazy affair. The table next to us did The Circus, and their table truly looked like a circus. Instead of The Circus, we received Art is Not a Crime, which is a whole table of desserts inspired by some famous works of art. The centerpiece of the dessert are two Jeff Koons dogs eating chocolate, “bones,” and drinking some sweet water. And sadly no, we did not get to take the dogs home. Other featured artists included Warhol, Monet, Matisse, Haring and Mondrain. The presentation was 10/10. Amazing!


Nope, that lavish dessert was not our final course. We ended the meal with a modern artistic display of bite sized desserts called Piccolo Pasticceria, or “small pastry shop.”. True to its name, it looked like a fancy candy store display! I don’t have close-up photographs of everything, the treats were adorable! Most were a small version of a popular treat in the area, including a canolo, una brioche with a cream filling, almond milk, a sweet melon drink, and a tiramisu dessert in what looked like a Nespresso pod. We couldn’t finish them all, so the staff packed the remaining up for us. My favorite thing about this course – the lovely gold butterfly napkin holders!

In review, our dinner at Daní Maison was just fantastic. The food was excellently prepared and served, there was SO MUCH of it, it was delicious, and the wait staff was 5 stars. I highly recommend Daní Maison for those looking for Michelin starred dining on Ischia.


Daní Maison: Via Montetignuso, 4, 80077 Ischia NA, Italy. Closed Monday. Reservations necessary, but we were able to get one in May only two weeks in advance. Upscale dress.

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