A taste of Puglia
There is no better place to start than in Carovigno. Many of the chefs who go on to grace the best kitchens in the region originated from this town with ancient origins, the name derives from the Greek “Carpina” meaning “Fruitful”.
Osteria Gia Sotto L'Arco is the perfect place to start - at the very top. Offering Michelin star food at much lower prices than you will pay in Ostuni, and without all the tourists. Family run, this restaurant takes all the best food offered at other local restaurants, and kicks it up a notch. The is just one table on the balcony overlooking the square - if you want it, get in quick and book early.
Art Cafe La Loggia is just a short walk away from Osteria Gia Sotto L'Arco and is a delight. From the 'kitsch' courtyard decorated in fairy lights to the interior seperated into tiny rooms each offering different decor, this restaurant titivates the eye. The food is delicious, whether you choose to just have tasting plates with the delicious wines they have on offer or a full meal, but an added bonus is that they also offer evenings of musical entertainment.
Ristorante Isola Verde not only offers a warm welcome, but delicious food at good prices that will not break the bank. Eat inside or out, the restaurant is always full of local people, a good sign for any eatery.
And now on to Ostuni, the white city. There is so much to choose from as far as restaurants go, that it is difficult to know where to start, so again we will start at the top.
Al Solito Posto is an all-rounder serving everything from pizza, lobster, fish, carpaccio of fish, steak from Tuscany, to the must-order: Antipasto Pugliese. The antipasti served here is by far one of the best. Located by the cinema outside the old town, reservations are recommended throughout the summer months.
Osteria del Tempo Perso is one of our favourite restaurants. Set within a cave at the top of Ostuni old town, past the white washed side streets, this old, classically smart restaurant is a treasure serving classic Puglian feasts. You must book this one, and make sure you tell them you want to be in the main restaurant - there are two restaurants side by side served by the same kitchen, one with whitewashed walls - this is not the cave.
Porta Nova restaurant is the more elegant of the selection and has amazing views of Ostuni’s old town. It’s located on the ramparts of the old town wall and does everything from pasta to fish (no pizzas though!). Perfect for a special occasion, nice for Sunday family lunches or a romantic evening. It also has one of the best wine lists in town.
This is just a small taster of the restaurants in one small area of Puglia...there are wonderful restaurants to be found everywhere, and we will continue to seek them out and enjoy them. But before I go, there is one place that holds a special place in our hearts that I must mention:
Masseria Il Frantoio. We saw it for the first time on a Rick Stein cookery programme, and again on BBC's Saturday Kitchen. Rick was travelling along the Appian Way through Puglia in southern Italy the same year we visited for the first time, and called in at the Masseria Il Frantoio. No chefs here, just women cooking in the manner they have for centuries, using all freshly sourced local produce. Owned by the charming Armando Balestrazzi, it is a peaceful haven created for eating and resting. A recent storm caused a bridge to break, bringing down tons of mud which knocked down walls into and out of the courtyard, left the restaurant area shoulder high in mud, and drowned the oil producing cellar. Thankfully thanks to a lot of hard work from a handful of staff and friends, Armando managed to bring it back to life in around 3 months. The cooks believe that you just need good produce, and that 'excessive manipulation of the food is completely unnecessary'. The result is locally-sourced produce, cooked to create simple, yet delicious, dishes that are vibrant in colour and a joy to savour. Dishes such as pizzelle, light as air puffs of dough deep fried and served with fresh tomato sauce and warm ricotta, orzotto, made with pearl barley, pumpkin and a sprout of butcher’s broom; wild artichokes cooked in wine with tassel hyacinth and orange honey; or laganari, a type of fresh pasta with stuffed tomatoes or maybe lamb with potatoes from the crock pan. Stay in one of their delightful rooms if you can, but if you are just passing through, send an email and ask when they are serving dinner - they don't every night. No menu here - you just email ahead to tell them of any special dietary requirements or foods you dislike. Delicous food is brought to you, course after course (7 or 8 in total), accompanied by water, wine, and topped off with coffee and one of the delicous Rosolio liquors made at the Masseria. The last thing you will receive is a copy of the menu. There is no bill, no extras. You just wander over to the office and pay.
Lovingly restored and extended well equipped holiday home with air conditioning in secluded area on the outskirts of Carovigno, 20 mins Brindisi airport, just over 1 hour Bari airport, bars/shops/restaurants 5 mins drive, 10 minutes to beach; ideal for peaceful getaway.
- Private Pool
- Secluded Location
- Lovingly Restored Holiday Home
- Outskirts of Carovigno
- Perfectly Located For a Quiet Holiday