Puglia – Taranto – Eating at Al Gatto Rosso

Please see my other posts on Eating & Drinking in Taranto.

Occasionally I write dedicated posts for places I really like, as is the case with…

Al Gatto Rosso (High Intermediate A), 2 Via Cavour, www.ristorantegattorosso.com

This is the best place to eat in Taranto. Don’t just take my word for it, Michelin and Gambero Rosso agree. This visit in April 2017 was my second after a seven year gap and I’m happy to say the food was still excellent, no doubt just as it was when they first opened in 1952.

I received a friendly welcome from Agostino Bartoli the chef whose grandparents opened the restaurant back in the day. He’s very personable and his English is very good, unlike the waiters who kept trying to speak to me in German!

Whilst I was waiting I was given a drizzle of excellent olive oil (A) to mop up with their good quality bread (B+). Coincidentally the olive oil producer was passing by so he came to say hello as well (I think they’d already guessed I was a blogger due to me taking photographs).

The Taralli were great as well (B+), which as I’ve said before is a good test as to a Puglian restaurant’s quality.

First, a series of appetisers beginning with Bruschetta with Pizzaiola Codfish (no photo) followed by Octopus cooked in local Negroamaro wine with mashed beans.

Some deepfried whitebait.

Shrimp with Rocket and Strawberry.

Fried Squid and Eggplant.

Then a Seafood Risotto.

And finally Orichiette with Mussels.

I asked Agostino to recommend a Puglian white wine but instead he proposed a slightly effervescent 2016 rosé, a Rosato del Salento, which was really enjoyable (B+).

It was made by 2 e Mezzo whose Primitivo I’d had at Via Vai two nights before (see my Eating in Taranto post). I enjoyed it so much I later ordered some for my personal cellar.

The table next to me where also enjoying some fizz, a white called Ca’dil Bosco which I could remember enjoying on another occasion at Don Alfonso near Sorrento.

The total cost with water and cover was €44, which was great value. The bill didn’t even mention the espresso and the Amaro di Salento (B), that I got as well.

Hopefully I won’t have to wait another seven years till my next visit. Many thanks Agostino!

From 2009:

I had to have a big bowlful of the famous mussels, with razor clams, cooked in a white wine sauce, generally one of my favourite dishes and in this case perhaps the best I have ever tasted (€7, A+).

To follow I had melt-in-your-mouth Pacchieri ai Frutta di Mare with prawns, baby vongole verace and squid in a tomato and fish sauce (€10, A) and washed it all down with a local white recommended by the owner, ‘Alta’ Bambino ’08 (A) for €9 from Cantina Teanum, which was quite similar to a Falanghina or a Fiano.

To finish, a lemon tart (B+), some complimentary squares of dark chocolate with almonds (A) and a local grappa (B). Even the bread was good (A) which is unusual in Italy. All this for only €36!

Ideally you should eat here before, or preferrably after, the Archaeology museum (see next post) which is virtually next door…

2 thoughts on “Puglia – Taranto – Eating at Al Gatto Rosso”

  1. Just to add a restaurant update to Taranto. Unfortunately, the trattoria Sotto L’Orologio next to the clock tower on Piazza Fontana has now closed down. Maybe it was too cheap? The headteacher at the school told me Al Gatto Rosso had gone downhill. I did venture in there and was ushered to a table, but when the menu still hadn’t arrived after 15 minutes, having twice asked for it, I walked out. To be fair there was only one waiter, so maybe someone hadn’t turned up. The aforementioned headteacher, said Il Basile was the best, so I went there – it was very busy, reasonably priced, decent food but nothing special. The restaurants in the fish market area of Citta’ Vecchia seemed better, certainly for fish. The Trattoria del Pescatore Muriani on Piazza Fontana was good and not at all expensive, and a little place simply called L’Osteria on Via Garibaldi 148, nearby was an excellent little choice. It is a pity the Hotel Delfino is such a long walk to everywhere. If you can’t be bothered to walk far turn right out the hotel and Pizza da Pazzi does good pizzas.

    1. Sorry to hear about the misses Bernard but good to hear you had some hits 🙂

      I’ve not been to Trattoria Sotto L’Orologio but I have been to Trattoria L’Orologio, which I believe is still open and very reasonable. Confusingly it’s nowhere near the clock but on the mainland, near the station.

      If I were to go back I’d definitely check out Ristò Fratelli Pesce at Via Porto, http://www.fratellipesceristo.it as it features in Osteria d’Italia 2019.

      I’d also check out the little place you mention which I think maybe is called Osteria Di Floriana Boccuni at 148 Via Garibaldi, on the corner with Vico Medici.

      You’ve got me wanting to go back now! 😀

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