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ekscrunchy May 5th, 2010 01:45 PM

HELP WITH WRITTEN ITALIAN----and restaurants in Puglia...
I would be very appreciative if those who have good written Italian skills can help me compose an e-mail. This is what I want to write, more or less:

Dear XXX:

We would like to have the pleasure of dining at XXXXX during our visit to XXXXX (Puglia) in September. Would you be kind enough to let me know your day of closing during that month. Will you be open for both lunch and dinner on Sunday? Will you serve dinner on Monday evening? (Note: I know this is slightly redundant)

Many thanks.


If anyone here has any tips on great places to eat not far from the following locations, please let me know. These will probably be our three overnight bases but we are willing to visit neighboring towns for great food.


Also looking for great lunch stops in Ostuni/Cisternino/Martina Franca/Polignano--anywhere in the Ostuni/Fasano/trulli areas.

I am particularly interested in restaurants/agriturismi that are not included in the mainstream English-language guidebooks and that serve excellent Pugliese food. We prefer to avoid very high-end "fancy" dining.

Any hidden gems? I have the SlowFood guide, and am waiting for Fred Plotkin's updated book. Please let me know of other great resources for the foods/eating places in the region. Prefer English but I can muddle through Italian, too.

Thanks so much!

cynstalker May 5th, 2010 01:52 PM

I have no idea how accurate this is, but I copied your note into google translate (
and this is what came out:

Caro xxx:

Vorremmo avere il piacere di cenare presso XXXXX durante la nostra visita a XXXXX (Puglia) in settembre. Vuoi essere così gentile da farmi sapere la vostra giornata di chiusura nel corso di tale mese. Vuoi essere aperto sia a pranzo che a cena di Domenica? Vi servirà la cena nella serata di Lunedi? (Nota: so che questo è un po 'ridondante)

Molte grazie.

I'll be interested to see what those who are fluent think of this translation. :-)


ellenem May 5th, 2010 02:02 PM


Ameremmo avere il piacere di cena a XXXXX durante la nostra visita a XXXXX (Puglia) in settembre. Farebbe lei è abbastanza gentile a fatemi sapere il suo giorno di chiusura durante quel mese. Lei sarà aperto per sia il pranzo sia la cena domenica? Lei servirà la cena lunedì sera? (Nota: So che questo è un po' sovrabbondante)

Molti ringraziamenti.

Discuss quietly amongst yourselves.

annhig May 5th, 2010 03:45 PM

lol, ek, are you planning to put their replies through the translator too?

great timing - i have the 2nd [written] part of my italian AS level exam coming up in 2 weeks or so [it was the oral yesterday, don't ask], so i hope you don't mind if I use it for practice!

first of all, I don't thing I'd start of with "Cara" - it's a bit informal.

why not something much simpler?

Buon giorno,

visiteremo [we will be visiting] Puglia in settembre and vorremo cenare nel vostro ristorante, se e possibile. [and would like to dine in your restaurant if possible]

potrebbe dirmi quando sara aperto [could you tell me when you will be open] nel questo mese. [in that month], spezialmente se e aperto per il pranzo e la cena la domenica e per la cena lunedi sera. [particularly whether you will be open for lunch and dinner on Monday, and dinner on Sunday night]

molto grazie,

tanti saluti,


keep it simple, and you might just have the chance of understanding their reply, and not disappointing them when you get there and they find that you're not a native Italian speaker!

Waldo May 5th, 2010 05:09 PM

Scusa me:
Ima wanna eat at XXX wenna we go to Puglia ina nexa settembra. Fi you wanna, pleasa letta me know wenna dis place closa in dissa settembra, cause I'm wanna go real bad. Isa you gonna be opena for luncha and suppa on domenica, cause dats wenna I wanna go. Do da people eat dare on lunedi night? (Ima know I say dissa before, but I gotta know, eesa real important)
Ima thanka you veri much Ima lookina forward to go to eat.
That should do it!

kja May 5th, 2010 05:15 PM

Notes from my May 2007 trip:

Trani: Ristorante Il Melograno (Via G. Bovio, 189) — Staff of this restaurant take great pains to accommodate non-Italian-speaking patrons, and the restaurant has a multilingual menu. But order from the Italian menu if you can, because that’s where you’ll find the list of their seasonal specialties. I had a delightfully fresh, perfectly seasoned meal with a lovely wine.

Lecce: Enoteca – Ristorante Plaza (Via Centoquarantesimo Reggimento Fanteria, 10) — Decorated in a pleasing, modern style with splashes of red against white, this restaurant served fresh and delicious local specialties. My server spoke English, and was particularly solicitous in explaining their menu and making sure that I enjoyed my meal.

Polignano a Mare: Grotta Palazzese (Via Narciso, 59) — With outstanding food and impeccable service in a truly stunning physical setting, the restaurant of the Grotta Palazzese is a very special place. On a man-made bridge within a seaside cave, one dines with the sound of waves breaking beneath and around (as well as quiet strains of jazz). Truly memorable! Well worth going to Polignano a Mare just for the experience!


StCirq May 5th, 2010 05:29 PM

Please don't use an internet translation - they are just beyond horrible. Wait for an Italian to show up if you want something to equal the complexity of yours in English. Or use annhig's, which is perfectly clear and, yes, simple.

taconictraveler May 5th, 2010 06:44 PM

annhig: your letter looks really good to me, and I can actually understand it. I'm copying it to carry along on my trip to Italy in June, as I might be able to use your words even on the telephone. Molto grazie!

Pegontheroad May 5th, 2010 07:13 PM

Waldo, you are a very bad person!

panecott May 5th, 2010 07:30 PM

annhig is right. Using "cara" in the greeting is inappropriate for strangers. "Buon giorno" is fine, as is "Gentili Signori" (Kind Sirs).

dina4 May 5th, 2010 07:35 PM

Escrunchy, I think I'm following you around the globe!

I just started a puglia location/hotel thread 5 minutes ago, and now i see you started a puglia restaurant thread. Sorry I can't help with the translation, but am really excited to read about the restaurants!

i'll be following this closely!


Steve_James May 6th, 2010 04:04 AM

Hi Eks -

Ammazza - che orrore!

I agree with St Cirq. Never use an online translation - the recipient will surely choke on their cappuccino ...

Here's what I'd say:

Egregi signori,

Abbiamo in programma una vacanza a (city), Puglia nel mese di settembre - e saremo lieti di cenare da Voi durante la nostra visita.

Pertanto chiedo l'orari di apertura e giorno di riposo settimanale del Vostro ristorante.

In attesa di una vostra risposta, vi porgo i miei più cordiali saluti.

Hope this helps ...


Zerlina May 6th, 2010 04:18 AM

"Egregi signori" is overdoing it a bit, particularly in an email, which is always more casual, even in Italy.

I'd use "Buongiorno" (one or two words; both are accepted).

pougal May 6th, 2010 05:23 AM

As far as eating...........we will be in Puglia in about a week . Staying in Polignanao al Mare and plan to visit Lecce....there is a restaurant there called Cucina Caserrecia that has gotten great reviews from "forumers" and other reviews...its not fancy , but locally it.

Flame123 May 6th, 2010 07:47 AM

ekscrunchy - so your trip is finally approaching!! Enjoy. Here are notes about restaraunts from MY May 2007 trip :

1)We took a walk through the city and down to the port by sunset. We walked all around and after deciding it was time for dinner, we had a most fabulous meal at Rosa dei Venti (Via Rampa la Conca 6, tel -0883-586979; web site right on the water. Being Wednesday night, it seems most of the restaurants were closed so it took time to find one that was open and looked good. While I tend to really shy away from any place that has a "tourist menu" this one looked different, and so indeed it was!! They did not really call it a tourist menu, if I remember correctly, it was something like "Menu of the Day". For 20 Euros each we had the following : Bruschetta with tomatoes, rucola and great Pugliese olive oil, a huge dish for each of us with about 7 local cheeses to try, orchiette pasta with baby tomatoes, rucola and parmeggiano, veal scallopini in wine sauce, fabulous lemon sorbet to finish off the meal, water and great red and white house wine.

2)Fabulous place called Taverna Portanova at Piazza Lambert 7 (phone/fax – 0883-508386, e-mail – [email protected]). Here we enjoyed some excellent homemade taralle (the typical Pugliese rounded dry biscuits) with anise seeds and great bread as well, the white house wine which was again fabulous, homemade large ravioli with ricotta, mushrooms in a tomato sauce, baked sea bass which was out of this world, served with beautifully roasted potatoes, tomatoes and a sauce. Waitress/owner was very friendly, patient and composed. Highly recommended.

3) Trattoria Da Miana at Via Sinagoga 54, Tel: 39-0883-589794 (closed Wednesdays, and apparently also for lunch because we tried there last night and it was closed and tried again for lunch today and it was closed – finally we got there tonight). It is another beautiful restaurant and the food was very tasty. The ravioli we had for starters that was filled with a gorgeous cheese, and had a sauce of arugula, almonds and cream was heavenly. The sea bass we shared and the steak was terrific. House wine and two deserts of chocolate ricotta cake and a sort of sabarina were also divine. But the price was quite expensive considering that we had no worse food at the other restaurants we visited. The price here was 88 Euros total for three people.

4) Back to Rosa dei Venti a second time : later went down to the port and back to Rosa dei Venti where we were greeted so warmly by the owner already down the street, even before we got even near to the restaurant. This time we chose to order less food because we were not that hungry. Since we were second-time customers, the chef started us out with "his speciality" on the house of a freshly made puff pastry with meat and melted cheese. We each then had fabulous bruschetta, like last time. We ordered the scallopini and another assorted cheese plate. We all had salads with it and wine. The meal ended once again with wonderful lemon sorbet and the bill was 15 Euros each. Best deal ever.

Locorotondo :
Locorotondo was next, another small village in the Trulli area. Here we had a great light lunch of pasta with gorgonzola, tomatoes and basil, the speciality of the region, i.e. pureed fava beans with chicory (or spinach in this case) which was really and truly outstanding, and a "chef's plate" of various marinated or fried vegetables, meats and cheeses. A memorable and very very inexpensive meal in a small trattoria which I would happily return to (Trattoria Centro Storico at Via Eroi di Dogali 6; Tel : 080-4315473;

Just outside Lecce in Arnesano :
FAB restaurant for a light lunch on Andrea's recommendation not far from here and I believe we will be frequenting it often. It is called Li Spilusi Pizzeria Trattoria on via Gramsci in Arnesano Phone 0832-323576. There were only three other people at one table there for lunch. The proprietor received us and we ordered. He first brought out some outstanding homemade breads with a very nice cheese, on the house. We had some insalata mista which was more than just a dollop of veggies, it was nice after so long without, 2 pasta dishes, one omelet and water. He rounded off our meal with some freshly cut watermelon, on the house, 3 coffees on the house, and then asked if we would like to taste a special house liquor. It was THE BEST ever. It was made with a special wine from this region (Negroamaro), added cherries and alcohol and was served almost frozen. It was ecstatic!! I want to buy some but he says he has no more left and the old lady who makes it only has so many she can make!!! Strange.

In Lecce :
we asked someone closing his shop where a certain restaurant was, he told us but then said we would be better off at a place right next to it called Osteria degli Spiriti and we decided to go with that Via C. Battisti 4; Tel : 0832-246274; [email protected]) . Boy were we NOT disappointed. It was a very nice place and the food was outstanding and not expensive. We started with a 6 plate antipasti which included some quiche-type veggie offerings, all sorts of marinated and cooked veggies and wonderful special breads and crackers. We each had a very good pasta dish and finished with coffee.

StCirq May 6th, 2010 07:57 AM

Buongiorno is NOT "accepted," at least in the translation world. It's two words, always.

ekscrunchy May 6th, 2010 08:01 AM

Mille grazie for the abundance of help--you are all so supportive! I would never use the internet for translation--I have seen some results that are side-splittingly funny! I will be able to make out the response--I can stumble through Italian since I speak Spanish well, but wanted a well-written letter and now I have one thanks to you guys!

Flame: Yours is one of the "master reports" that I have been consulting; many thanks for highlighting the restaurants. I will be doing more research on these and will post my finds. Food is one of the main reasons we (I, really) like to travel and I have high hopes for Puglia. I wish I had more than a week, but maybe I can scratch the surface and then make a second trip to cover the areas that I will miss the first time....

I will post my general itinerary soon. We will fly in and out of Brindisi, I think. We are planning on the third week in September--I can only hope we have better weather than we had the same week last year!

Flame123 May 6th, 2010 08:16 AM

eksrunchy - making me blush.........

Steve_James May 7th, 2010 01:25 AM

Eks - An Italian friend has corrected a couple of errors in my version above.

Egregi signori,

Abbiamo in programma di venire in vacanza a (city) nelle Puglie durante il mese di Settembre. Saremo lieti di fare uso del vostro ristorante durante la nostra visita.

Pertanto desidero conoscere l'orario di apertura e il giorno di riposo settimanale del vostro ristorante.

In attesa di una vostra risposta, vi porgo i miei più cordiali saluti.

That should do it ;)


ekscrunchy May 7th, 2010 04:26 AM

Thanks, Steve, or should I say, "Mille Grazie?" That should do it, indeed. You are always a terrific help here.

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