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Best Restaurants in Puglia

Posted 17 Feb 2022

The ‘heel’ of Italy’s boot, Puglia has one of the most interesting histories in the country. Spanish, Greek and Italian influences have mixed together and created a unique and delicious cuisine that truly defines what it means to experience the Mediterranean. Much of the country’s food is produced in Puglia, meaning any dish you try probably had its origins the next hill over. In particular, the region is the world’s largest producer of farmed muscles, creating an abundance of dishes in the local cuisine such as the delicious spaghetti con le cozze; this is a rich and creamy pasta with fresh mussels garnished with coriander. When on a holiday in Puglia, you’ll find the main ingredients of any dish are most likely: olive oil, artichokes, tomatoes, aubergines, asparagi, and mushrooms. From these, a kaleidoscope of specialities and culinary experiences can be enjoyed.

With so much choice, it can be hard to know what the regional specialities are. Keep an eye out for spaghetti with muscles, fried fish preserved in red wine vinegar, baked lamb with potato, and lampasciono sott’ollio. This last dish is the prepared bulbs of the grape hyacinth preserved in olive oil; truly a unique tasting experience. Our expert local guides have extensive knowledge of the area and will happily tell you all about their favourite restaurants that you absolutely need to try for these food adventures. Here are some of the best restaurants in Puglia that we recommend.

Trattoria Terra Madre

In the Charming Trulli hotel, you’ll find a wonderful restaurant. Whilst staying in Alberobello on the second day of our Highlights of Puglia tour, you’ll get the chance to experience the food here. With Primi like beetroot tortelloni filled with cacioricotta cheese, and whole wheat pasta with turnip tops and anchovies, you can expect the Secondi to be even more amazing. One of the most eye-catching dishes is rabbit with herb marinade, slow cooked and filled with chicory and capcollo. The chef at Trattoria plays with traditional and experimental flavour, with sensory twists such as apple salads, or savoury beetroot sides. Of course, a dinner in Italy is not complete without their most sacred of drinks, wine. The wonderful white wine of the menu comes in all flavours and aromas. If you want to sample the best of local wines, keep an eye out for ‘Gravina’, indicating it was made outside the nearby town of Gravina di Puglia.

The secret to the delicious flavours and the fresh produce is the hotel’s garden. 5 hectares of fields and 10 of forest growing some of the best quality produce in Puglia, the garden is what makes the food at Trattoria Terra Madre so good. The culture of Puglia, and the whole of Italy, is that of the farm-to-table philosophy. Although this may seem like a new trend for us Brits, Italians have always practised this and their food’s high quality shows it. Almost everything from the eggs to the aubergines in their menu will have been grown from their gardens.

View our Puglia cycling holidays here

Trattoria Terra Madre

Ristorante Blu Notte

Found in the historic centre of Lecce you’ll encounter the intimate and welcoming Ristorante Blu Notte. Enjoy the very best of the Salento cuisine found in Puglia. The very tip of Italy’s heel is well known for its gorgeous food with a wide selection of seafood options. Surrounded by the sea, you can imagine how easy it is to find fresh fish in this part of the world. The menu at Ristorante Blu Notte reflects this, acting more like a love letter to the sea. Their house dish is a delightful fresh mint spagnoli with chopped grouper, served with clams and cherry tomatoes. Immediately you can imagine how fresh and sharp these flavours will be, accompanied perfectly with a crisp white wine from a local vineyard. In Puglia, you’ll struggle to find a chef who does not recommend a local wine; the cuisine and vineyards of Italy grow and evolve in tandem, influencing each other and their flavours.

One of the key features of Ristorante Blu Notte is its flexibility depending on your preferences. You can choose from a selection of fresh fish and shellfish caught that very morning. Here, you’re likely to see options you’d never dreamed of having, such as the spiny sea urchin. Hidden behind their pointed armour is a taste experience the chefs at the Blu Notte know all too well. At this restaurant, seafood is the star and your plate is the stage. In their outside dining area, surrounded by Lecce’s stunning Baroque architecture, this is a culinary journey we highly recommend. You’ll get the chance to enjoy Ristorante Blu Notte on day 5 of our Highlights of Puglia tour.

View our Puglia cycling holidays here

Ristorante Blu Notte

Hotel L’Approdo

Is there anything better than a delicious Italian meal by the harbour, bathed in a warm sunset and surrounded by panoramic views? The restaurant at the Hotel l’Approdo doesn’t think so. On Day 7 of our Highlights of Puglia tour, this restaurant is the grand finale. Whilst eating here, you’ll be personally looked after by the owner, Carlo Rossi. With over 30 years of mastering his culinary talents, you’re in for a treat. He prides himself on the preservation of authentic Puglian cuisine and is passionate about the flavours he can create for guests.

One tradition this restaurant fervently upkeeps is its commitment to locally sourced produce. However, when the land and sea around Puglia is bountiful, it becomes hard to find fresher goods anywhere else. Even the delicious pasta served here is from the local Puglia pasta factory. At l’Approdo, we recommend the menu of the day, always offering a surprise. Enjoy a curated menu by Carlo himself, featuring dishes such as creamy clam linguine or delicately garnished fried fish fresh from the harbour. Now imagine this with a local white wine overlooking the harbour and you’re transported to l’Approdo.

View our Puglia cycling holidays here

Hotel L’Approdo

For more recommendations on the best restaurants in Puglia give us a call on 020 7471 7760, or alternatively, view our Puglia tours here

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Best restaurants in Tuscany and Umbria
Wine Regions: Provence

Best Restaurants in South Tyrol

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