Positano Coast (Finally) Gets its Makeover

Aldo Lamberti is ready to show off his newly updated Italian restaurant in Old City.

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Positano Coast / Photograph by Adriano Martino

Once upon a time, owner Aldo Lamberti and his family had an idea to redesign their enormous, immersive Old City Italian restaurant, Positano Coast. Originally, the space was meant to evoke a vacation tour through the streets of Positano, Italy. Lamberti had an idea of refreshing things by changing the focus: making the experience more like that of a local, looking out their window and seeing all the best things about living day-to-day in Positano. Lamberti brought back his design team from Italy, made some plans, then sent the designers, artists and carpenters back to Italy to start working, assuming the whole thing would take a few months.

That was in 2019. The world, unfortunately, had different plans.

What should’ve been a months-long redesign turned into a two-and-a-half year wait as pandemic-related supply chain issues, shipping delays and lockdowns slowed everything to a crawl. There were art pieces and custom-designed woodwork that took a year and a half to make it from Italy to Old City. Travel restrictions meant the designers and woodworkers couldn’t get to Philly from Italy to do the installation. It was a mess.

Meanwhile, here at home, Lamberti and his family were just trying to stay afloat. They expanded their outdoor space at Caffe Aldo in Cherry Hill and started a small market with takeout and heat-to-serve meals. At Positano Coast, they built street-side dining spaces and used their existing patio space. They brought in plants, heat lamps, new lighting, did take-out and curbside — everything they could think of to keep going. The family even opened a whole new restaurant, Lamberti Pizza and Market, for fast-casual pizza and grab-and-go meals.

But now Aldo Lamberti is ready to show off the new Positano Coast with its warmed-up colors, vintage statues and tilework, exposed wood and travel photos on the walls. The whole place has the vibe of dining in an Italian country villa.

Photograph by Adriano Martino

Positano Coast’s menu has been rounded out to support the new vision in the dining room, adding seafood like chilled lobster with avocado and mango and scallops au gratin balanced against comforts like gnocchi in a zucchini cream and chicken Milanese with arugula and lemon. There’s an entirely new cocktail menu that skews more modern and international (and is seriously interesting, including one drink that comes in a tiki glass and is topped with a plastic dinosaur toy you can keep), a handful of mocktails for the non-drinkers, and the promise of opening Tramonti — the outdoor dining spaces on Walnut and Dock Streets —just as soon as the weather agrees to cooperate. These additional spaces will add 160 seats to the 200-plus available inside.

If you’re down to see what a three-year-long international renovation complicated by plague and politics can look like, make your plans now. You can make your reservations and check out the new menus right here.