Italian Food – Abruzzo Style !
We’re an Italian foodie paradise ! If you stayed here a month and ate out somewhere different every night, you’d have hardly scratched the surface of the huge variety of Abruzzo restaurants on offer.
In our area, there are no ‘tourist restaurants’ serving indifferent food at high prices. Instead, you’ll rub shoulders with the locals, enjoying Abruzzo food and wine at terrific value for money.
Our Favourite Abruzzo Restaurants – A Real Taste of Italy !
A personal selection to whet your appetites…
Our Favourite Local Place
That’s easy. Lu Piccione in Sant’Eusanio del Sangro – about 10 minutes away – is where we regularly go for especially good home-made pasta and house red wine. Family-run, with owner Paolo a warm and welcoming host and his wife Adda and son Matteo in the kitchen. Most of our guests have eaten here – many of them more than once !
We should also mention our favourite local bar La Rosa dei Sapori. A cross between a winebar and a pub, La Rosa’s the best place for a glass of wine, a beer and the on-the-house nibbles that accompany them. From Thursday-Saturday nights you can have dinner here too and there’s often live music.
Our Favourite Place for a Bargain Meal
Again, no contest. Just head down the hill to La Bucaniere. They do an amazingly good-value 2-course lunch or dinner with a choice of pasta and main courses; plus wine, water and coffee for €10 a head. The quality’s excellent; portions are generous; and locals – and our guests – all love it.
Our Favourite Pizzeria
Or rather our two favourite pizzerie – because it’s hard to choose between Dal Ghiottone in Piane d’Archi and Parco della Majella just outside Guardiagrele’s old town. Both capture what an Italian pizzeria really should be like, with a friendly welcome, bustling atmosphere; wood-fired ovens – and of course epic pizzas. At Dal Ghiottone, they make them very slightly thicker; at Parco della Majella, they’re thinner and crispier. How do you like yours ?
Our Favourite Gelateria
Only one contender here. The amazing Copa de Dora in San Vito Marina, the only place we know in our area that still makes their own ice-cream. In addition to the usual 20 or so regular varieties, each summer they bring out a special range of different flavours. The bitter chocolate and orange – and pink grapefruit – of recent summers were outstanding. Great value too – and worth the summer queues !
Our Favourite Agriturismo
An Agriturismo can best be described a ‘a farm restaurant’. Everything you eat and drink will be home-produced; there are rarely any menus; quantities are lavish; and the value is unbeatable. Our best local choice is the delightfully-named Amore Mio in San Biase, which only opened in the summer of 2012, but is already a firm favourite. And for a full-on taste of the real Italy, La Vecchia Collina, near Lu Piccione in Sant’Eusanio, makes no allowances for non-Abruzzese tastes, but is definitely worth a visit if you’re adventurous !
Our Favourite Seafood Restaurant
A couple of great choices: La Sirenella at Fossacesia Marina (our nearest beach around 30 minutes away) has an enviable position at the very edge of the sea, with a big, umbrella-shaded terrace that’s the perfect place for a summer lunch. Or a little further down the coast at San Vito Marina is La Kantina. No views here as it’s tucked away in a little side street near the beach, but the food is especially good.
Our Favourites – Further Afield
Where to start ? Top trattoria Da Paolino in the lovely village of Pescocostanzo. The quirky Cantina Trippio in Guardiagrele, where there’s never a menu and you’ll get what the owner’s Mamma feels like cooking. Taverna 58 and La Lumaca in the last remaining fragment of Pescara’s old town. Traditional Abruzzo cooking in the first; Abruzzo cooking with a more modern twist in the second.
But our own special favourite, (especially in summer when you can eat outside), would have to be La Bottega dei Miracoli in the lovely old town of Sulmona. The food’s excellent and the drive there along a quiet road through the Majella is spectacular.
Our Favourite Special Occasion Restaurants
The Villa Maiella in Guardiagrele is the place for birthdays, anniversaries and celebrations. Smart, stylish and with Michelin-starred cooking, featuring local produce and updated traditional Abruzzese favourites. This is a particularly good choice for lunch in summer, when you can sit outside on their terrace with its sweeping views over the Majella National Park. Further afield, La Corniola restaurant – in Pescocostanzo’s 5-star Relais Ducale Hotel – also offers a gourmet option.
Our Favourite Abruzzo Restaurant
We’ve been eating at Ai Vecchi Sapori in Lanciano since we first arrived in Abruzzo in 2007 and we still love it. Tucked away in Lanciano’s old town, the setting’s perfect, with part of the kitchen presided over by chef-patron Davide, actually in the restaurant. Here you’ll find ‘slow food’ – an Italian answer to the ‘fast food’ culture – with main-course braised meat the luscious speciality. The antipasti and pasta, (you can have two or three little tasting portions if you like), are terrific; the ambience friendly and relaxed; and we always leave with a smile. Can’t ask for much more really.
The Abruzzo Restaurant Dress Code
There isn’t one. Wear whatever feels comfortable. Only possible exception in places we’ve eaten is the Villa Maiella, where the style is smart/casual.