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Eating in Puglia

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Recently returned from a trip to Puglia and wanted to share some very good dining experiences.

Lecce - Excellent, simple meal at Trattoria Casareccia. Had the cicieri e tria (pasta dish where half the pasta is fried crispy and half the pasta is boiled), with olive oil and fresh chickpeas. Followed this with an excellent baked codfish dish with potatoes and onions. Also shared a second dish of veal meatballs in white wine. Dinner for two with house wine and water about 45 Euro.

Lecce - Also had an excellent dinner at Trattoria Nonna Tetti, near the church of San Matteo. I'd recommend the antipasto of the house--a sampling of five plates to be shared--consiting mostly of fresh vegetables (chichpea stew, sweet peppers, potatoes) and fresh ricotta cheese. For a second dish, although most of their menu consists of meat, there is one dish that was highly recommended to me by locals (and recommended that I have it at this place); it is the polpo in pignata--or octopus slow-cooked in a clay pot with tomato and onion. After 9 PM the crowd is mostly locals as well as visitors to Lecce from the surrounding areas on the weekends. Prior to 9 there is a good mix of locals and tourists. Dinner for two with house wine and water about 40 euro in total.

Lecce - Very good mixed antipasto at Alle due Corti (short walk from the church of Santa Croce, at Corte dei Giugni); tasty fried ricotta. Dinner for two with water and house wine about 50 euro in total.

Lecce - For a lighter lunch, we tried Mamma Elvira, just down the road from Church of Santa Croce. This place also sells wine and food products. Fresh mixed antipasto plus two plates of arugula and burrata cheese, and two glasses of wine (excellent selection of local wines by the glass, a real rarity), for 22 Euro.

Ostuni - Surprisingly, we ate much better than expected in the old town of Ostuni. There is a gem of a place called Osteria Monacelle, just off the main Via Cattedrale. It is a small place and the cooking is done to order--there is a small, partly open kitchen just next to a few small tables. Highly recommended is the mixed antipasto of the house (small plates of tripe, stuffed zucchini, grilled eggplant, etc), and the orecchiette with cime di rape as well as the orecchiette with tomato and ricotta forte. There are only about 3 or 4 pasta dishes and 2 or 3 main courses on the menu (which is a good thing), as this place really specializes in a few excellent dishes. Dinner for two with water and house wine around 50 euro in total.

Locorotondo - Good meal at La Taverna del Duca in the historic center. Tasty meats and cheeses, fave e cicorie (fava bean puree, chickory, olive oil, and what tasted like some potato or bread mixed in), and braciola, plus water and house wine, about 50 euro for two.

Otranto - Also pleasantly surprised to have had a delicious lunch in the old town. Le Torri is a great place to eat grilled for lightly fired fish. Lunch for two (shared appetizer of grilled octopus), two main dishes of grilled and fried fish (one each) followed by dessert cost about 60 Euro for two.

Monopoli - Osteria Perricci served a good mized seafood antipasto followed by grilled whole fish and a salad. This was after a series of small plates were placed on our table (fried codfish balls, sundried tomatoes, etc). Dinner for two with house wine about 45 Euro total.


M1

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