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Nino Di Costanzo's Futuristic Campanian Cuisine: 2 Michelin Stars in Ischia

Fulvio Marcello Zendrini
copertina nino di costanzo

Where Wisdom Meets Fun, and Beauty Meets Goodness: Nino Di Costanzo's Vision of Modern Campanian Cuisine. Discover the Journey at Daní Maison, from Welcome to Sweet Ending.

The restaurant 

"Napule is a thousand cultures 

Napule is a thousand fears 

Napule is the voice of the children 

Whispering softly

And you know it's not just that 

Napule is a bitter sun 

Napule is the scent of the sea..."

Perhaps, when writing this song, Pino Daniele felt as happy, complete, serene, and fulfilled as I feel now, at Nino Di Costanzo's table. A chef deeply connected to his Ischia, yet the heir of great masters like Gualtiero Marchesi, Gaetano Trovato, Juan Marì Arzak.

Nino di Costanzo chef Dani Maison 2
Dani maison giardino esterni 5

Learning from their wisdom, he returns to the island, starting to work at "Il Mosaico," the restaurant of "Terme Manzi Hotel" in 2005, where he earns two Michelin stars: the first in 2008 and the second in 2010. All until 2016, when he leaves "Il Mosaico" and opens "Daní Maison," also awarded with two Michelin stars. Not just a restaurant: This is his home, his garden, his plants, his flowers. 

Dani maison giardino esterni 4
Dani maison giardino esterni 1 2
Dani maison giardino esterni 1

A small dwelling on the hill, above Ischia. An Eden of senses and thoughts, a blossoming presentation of the island's nature, from my very first visit. Coming back was a bath of tenderness, warmth, and amusement, as it rarely happens in restaurants because nothing is left to chance here: instead, you witness a real theatrical performance. The theater starts with cutleries, dishes, glasses, presentations, the mise en scène (it's appropriate to say) of the table, and the choreography of the waiters. It is a gentle theatrical act that unfolds here.

Nino di Costanzo chef Dani Maison 5
chef s table nino di costanzo 3
Nino di Costanzo chef Dani Maison 1

Beauty and goodness merge, and it's hard to say which one prevails. Tradition and future follow one another, the first as the foundation, the latter as a continuous narration of Nino's cuisine. Colors and flavors, one might say, wisdom and amusement take the forefront. And the story began early, from the very first tastings.

Nino di Costanzo chef Dani Maison 7

The dishes

We start with the Gran Cru... based on red shrimp with mandarin, langoustine with green apple, yogurt, and lime, white shrimp with vegetable brunoise and ginger, puttanesca’s langoustine, marinated sea bass with red turnip, sea bass tartare with buffalo milk, bonito in Caesar salad, and orange-flavored cuttlefish. This marks the traditional opening act of Nino Di Costanzo's dinners, with glass blocks that compose a puzzle of tones and flavors, presenting raw fish.

Nino di Costanzo gra crudo

Next is the Lobster Bruschetta. "Misery and Nobility," one could say, paraphrasing Prince de Curtis, alias Totò: a marvelous slice of crispy bread ennobled by one of the most precious shellfish in the kitchen.

Nino di Costanzo aperitivo


The Rabbit with Smoked Potatoes and Controne Beans consists of a rib with smoked potato cream, rabbit stew ravioli, sweet and sour beans and vegetables, plus a rabbit bruschetta. It encapsulates all of Campania in one dish, starting from Ischia.

Nino di Costanzo pane cracker grissini

Next step: Buffalo and Buffala, buffalo carpaccio with buffalo milk ricotta and vegetable brunoise, buffalo milk cream with buffalo tartare inside, fried caciocavallo sphere, and buffalo mozzarella in carrozza. Meat and cheese of the animal in a single course that enhances the product's nuances.

Nino di Costanzo bufalo e bufala

Rice, Mozzarella, Lemon, and Capers: in this case, it's partially cooked white rice in buffalo milk, enriched with mozzarella, Pantelleria capers, and lemon bread, a fruit from the neighboring island of Procida. It's an impactful first course, followed by Farfalle with Salmon... or should we say "Farfalla"? (butterfly)  A single piece of fresh pasta filled with fish, a humorous homage and ironic reinterpretation of a dish from the 1980s.

Nino di Costanzo riso mozzerella limone e capperi
Nino di Costanzo farfalle al salmone

After the excellent Parmigiana-style Gnocchi with Eggplant, smoked provola, and sweet paprika, "Paste e Patate" (Pasta and Potatoes) appears on the table. No, it's not a mistake... it's precisely as it sounds, PASTE. Thirty-six pasta shapes (produced by Pastificio Gerardo Di Nola), four varieties and preparations of potatoes, tomato concassé, and black Casertano pig bacon. The choice of multiple shapes stems from the tradition of emptying the pantry and using all leftovers, combining them to assemble a single dish. The past meets the present in this story.

Nino di Costanzo paste e patate

Among the second courses, the Sea Bass with chanterelles steamed with its mushroom sauce is wonderfully light and flavorful. The lamb, on the other hand, is offered in eggplant Parmigiana and accompanied by an escarole pizza in filo pastry with tomato coulis and a chard leaf. The cooking? A remarkable 72 hours in the oven at 65°C. Impressive indeed.

Nino di Costanzo branzino
Nino di Costanzo agnello in parmigiana di melanzane

At last, "Il Circo" (the Circus) presents a memory of Nino: that of the "Wonderland" that came to Ischia when he was a child but was never experienced then. It ranges from ice cream cones to coffee-flavored gelatines, from the ever-present cotton candy to the hot dog (popcorn ice cream in Roman maritozzo) with raspberry, white chocolate, and lime sauce as ketchup and mayonnaise. Apple doughnuts with cream and cinnamon meet salted and peppered popcorn with caramel and chocolate; and the carousel is stopped by soft French fries (ovis mollis) and homemade orangeade.

Nino di Costanzo il circo

"Art is not a Crime" sets up an entire table, showcasing the love for art and color, transforming masterpieces by Piet Mondrian, Vincent Van Gogh, and Andy Warhol into tasty bites, to name a few.

Nino di Costanzo art is not a crime

And now, we come to "Napu'è: Maradona": a sfogliatella with a "trash bag" (made with agar-agar containing struffoli, a typical Campanian preparation); a plate of spaghetti with tomato (lemon delight) and Parmesan (coconut); a cup of coffee (coffee creme brulè, caramel cream, and sambuca) with an extra "suspended" coffee (chocolate Caprese cake); Totò (a sugar bust and hat made with a babà and external chocolate); cardboard pizza (sweet pizza with mozzarella and strawberries) and strawberry water, representing the melting of San Gennaro's blood. One of Chef Nino Di Costanzo's historical dishes, created in collaboration with pastry chef Antonino Maresca.

Nino di Costanzo napul e

And here, the curtains fall. The lights of Nino's culinary fireworks show are turned off, and we remain dazzled, happy, and amused by the dreamy thought of the one who welcomed us. Thanks not only to Nino but also to Roberto Riccardo Tornabene, who coordinated the service ballet, pouring us Trebbiano di Valentini, Ribolla di Gravner, Fides di Eric Morgat, and Pommard di Nicolas Rossignol in sequence. Thanks, then, to his team in the dining room: Ischia wouldn't be the same without you, know that and be proud of it.


Daní Maison

Via Montetignuso, 4, 80077 Ischia NA

Tel: 081 993190


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