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Puglia restaurants

Food alone is an excellent reason to visit Puglia, which is a prime candidate for "best in Italy." More than 80 percent of Italy's pasta and 40 percent of the country's olive oil is produced here—and that's just the beginning. Bread is a religion, with hundreds of different kinds: pane de sedóre ("bread of hardship"), taralli (pretzel-like twists), and any amount of focaccia. In Altamura, the "City of Bread," huge wheel-like loaves are still baked in traditional wood-fired brick ovens. The pasta you'll see everywhere is orecchiette ("little ears"), sauced with chili-spiced turnip tops (cime di rapa) or zucchini and sausage. This is also a great region for cheese, with pear-shaped provolone, tangy ricotta forte, and creamy, melt-in-the-mouth burrata (a semi-liquid mozzarella) vying for position in grocery stores. Antipasti are an art unto themselves: If you nod when the waiter suggests the antipasti della casa, you may find yourself, six or seven appetizers later, thinking about dessert rather than the pasta course, but these Puglian tapas are so delicious it would be a shame to skip them. The local red wine is hearty primitivo, and the white verdeca grape goes into the summery Locorotondo wine, but more variety and quality is emerging year by year from the region's many vineyards.

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Al Fornello Da Ricci, Ceglie Messapica

Young Antonella Ricci shares her Michelin-starred kitchen with her mother, Dora, and her husband, Vinod Sokar. But with its long tables, copper lamps, and...more

Editors' Pick
Cucina Casareccia, Lecce

Known to locals simply as Le Zie ("the aunts"), this family-run trattoria still feels like the private house it once was, and is a perfect place to immerse...more

Editors' Pick
Fornelli

The fornello is a brand of ultra-local osteria that exists only in Puglia. A throwback to a time when poverty—and the fire risk—meant that few people...more

Editors' Pick
Già Sotto l'Arco, Carovigno

It used to be a humble osteria situated under the old arch ("sotto l'arco"), but the third generation of the Buongiorno family, led by chef Teresa, has moved up...more

Editors' Pick
Il Frantoio, Ostuni

A masseria near Ostuni and the sea shelters a sort of Puglian Farm Experience: horses, chickens, vintage carts, the lot. Many areas of this agriturismo (yes,...more

Editors' Pick
La Puritate, Gallipoli

Next to the Baroque church of the same name in Gallipoli's centro storico stands this evergreen seafood restaurant. Attentive, old-fashioned waiters bustle...more

Editors' Pick
Osteria Perricci, Monopoli

A local institution, Osteria Perricci is one of those great Italian trattorias that leave you sated, smiling, and not much poorer. In a narrow lane of the...more

Editors' Pick
Trullo d'Oro, Alberobello

When you're done watching Japanese tourists exhaustively documenting trulli, stop in for sustenance—a lot of it. This is a great place to sample what...more

Editors' Pick
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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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