Vesuvio, Trattoria-Bar-Pizzeria – Chef Pèpe

History, style, culture and cuisine

Mt. Vesuvio is the symbol of power and strength of Southern Italy. It is the volcano which overlooks the bay of Naples and erupted in 79AD burying Pompeii. Napoli was the ancient port for Rome during the Roman Empire, and this region was the playground for the rich, famous and powerful of that era.

All Pèpe’s grandparents are originally from this region, known as Campania. Vesuvio is a modern-day testament to the history, style, culture and cuisine of Napoli and Campania.

Growing up in New Jersey but traveling back to visit his relatives in Campania often, Pèpe always noticed the differences between the cooking styles of his cousins on both sides of the Atlantic. While Little Napoli focuses on his Italian-American heritage, Vesuvio features recipes from his cousins and great-aunts in Southern Italy.

It is thought that the diet among Mediterranean countries is healthier than the Northern European and American diet because, in addition to olive oil, more grains, fruits, vegetables, beans, and fresh fish are consumed. The ingredients used at Vesuvio are often be imported from Italy, sourced locally or made in house, and always of top quality. Pèpe calls his cooking style at Vesuvio the “Italian Lifestyle Diet”.

Pèpe’s elegant take on traditional Italian cuisine takes a creative twist, with dishes such as his Italian-Fusion Sushi, edgy polenta lamb tamale, spicy chicken “Tinga” tacos and brandy-braised spareribs.

Both of Pepe’s sons, Christian and Gian Antonio, were an integral part of the creation of Vesuvio and both are “certified pizzaioli”, having graduated from the Vera Pizza Napoletana School in Napoli. Vesuvio features an authentic Italian wood-burning oven and its pizza is considered the most authentic in Monterey County.

The carefully chosen wines at Vesuvio are comprised of wines from Southern Italy and selected California regions. Wineries such as Mastroberardino from Campania, Tormaresca from Puglia and Planeta from Sicily are featured.

Mixologists Christian Pèpe and Jason Wallace have created the best bar scene in town with their specialty cocktail creations, using propriety Doc Pepe’s Lab Barrel-Aged Cocktails, their Shrub Doctor Mixers, house-made bitters, specialty crafted cocktails and the best beer selection in Carmel. Vesuvio features two full bars, one adjacent to the main dining room, and one the rooftop terrace.