Puglia – Foggia – Where to Eat

As I mentioned in my Foggia – Things to See post, the upside of Foggia is the food.

In fact, I had one of my favourite ever restaurant experiences here…

Ambasciata Orsarese (Intermediate A), 53 Via Iorio Tenente

I came to this Gambero Rosso recommended local restaurant on a Sunday hoping that I would get a seat without having reserved. What I didn’t know though was that it was Republic Day in Italy, which is an excuse for a big feed for most Italians, and the place was packed out with no free tables at all.

Thankfully though, I was invited by another single diner to join him, which is typical of southern Italian hospitality. I had plenty to talk about with Antonio, an off-duty policeman from Naples, as we were both big lovers of food. I’ve been to Naples over a dozen times and know the restaurant scene well, so we had that in common as well.

Food lovers or not, I’m not sure if either of us were prepared for the food onslaught that was to come…

By the time we’d reached double figures on the courses we were both full to bursting and were were still only on the pasta stages. We hadn’t helped ourselves by asking for second helpings of our favourites. I tentatively asked Antonio how many more courses there were but he didn’t know either so we ploughed on faithfully in the hope we were nearly there.

Alessandro the chef is fond of parading the food around the restaurant when it’s just out of the oven. I was a little startled by the meat course which was baby goat.

This probably isn’t the best place for vegetarians.

The meat was served with roast potatoes and each table also got a whole loaf that had been hollowed out and filled with vegetables and sausages.

It was at this point that the whole restaurant rebelled as one and refused to eat any more. So the loaves were all wrapped up for people to take home.

We did manage to squeeze in a few sweets though. The last round of delicious little goblets were straight out of the oven.

Again, many were wrapped up to take home.

Along with some other tid bits

And of course we still had the digestifs and coffees to get through.

And the cost of this extensive banquet? A measly €35. Unbelievable value. I suppose they keep it so cheap by feeding a lot of people the same thing, and certain things like the wine is their own in-house label.

Other colleagues have been and apparently similar blowouts happen on a daily basis, it just coincided with a holiday when I went. My advice is reserve as soon as you can though so you don’t miss out on this amazing experience. And make sure you go with an appetite or you’ll do yourself a culinary injury!

Trattoria Giordano (High Intermediate B), 14 Vico al Piano

This is a pleasant Michelin recommended restaurant selling simple local food. You have to ring the bell to get in.

I began with a plate of mixed cheeses; Grana Padano (B+), Cacio (B), Provolone Fresca, Provolone (B+), served with some red stuff I think the waiter called Marma Miele (B). Marmalade mixed with honey perhaps?

After this a primo of Cime de Rape, the famous ‘turnip tops’ (actually they’re a kind of broccoli) which is a Puglian classic. I’m actually not that keen on it but due to everyone else loving it so much I feel obliged to keep trying it. This one still failed to convince me though (C+).

Next, a local sausage. Simplicity is beauty as they say (B).

With all this, a bottle of Nero di Troia which was decent (B).

With cover and a final grappa the bill came to €45.

So in my desire to try local dishes, I ended up with a rather unexciting meal. This is a good place that I’d definitely go to again, but I’d just choose differently. Ambasciata Orsarese above is the one though.

Sherwood Chiosco Biker’s (Initial B+), 156 Viale Michelangelo

Motivated by my great experience at Antica Chiosco Da U Russ in Bari (see my Barivecchia-Eating Cheaply in the Old Town post), and in need of a bit of a walk after stuffing my face the night before, I decided to try this food kiosk recommended by an Italian food blogger.

The food was good (A/B) but the ingredients weren’t quite as high quality as at Antica Chiosco. These kiosks tend to specialise in meat and here their homemade sausage is the star (A).

However I didn’t feel that the spiedina (kebab of lamb, vegetables, and frankfurter) and the lamb intestines were anything special (B).

These filled ‘pizzas’ looked interesting but I was full to bursting. They have a great selection of beers as well. Two half litres of blonde beer and a double limoncello took the bill to €19.

This is a nice spot where you can sit outside and chat with the friendly locals. It makes a change from sitting in a restaurant anyway.

I stayed at the Hotel White House www.hotelwhitehouse.it, a fading old hotel but with pleasant staff and a basic but okay breakfast (great cornettos and hand made coffees). The bathrooms are small with cramped shower cubicles and the wardrobes in my room were suspended up on the wall so you needed a stick to lift the hangers up and down, which was a new one me. The plug sockets are all the old three pin style as well rather than the much more common two pin.

Around the other side of the block is the also quite faded Hotel Mercure Cicolella. The restaurant (closed Sundays) is Michelin recommended and the seven course tasting menu for €35 looked pretty good when I popped in for a gander. Next time…

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