Baresi cuisine focuses on vegetables, hearty pasta, and roasted meats and it is often served family-style. To get the full effect, my girlfriend and I ate lunch at Vini e Cucina, a restaurant that is popular among locals and known for serving traditional food. The restaurant does not offer menus but simply lists the dishes of the day when you sit down. If your Italian-language skills aren’t all that strong, don’t let that stop you. The staff at the restaurant love to tell you what you want, and, luckily, they are usually right. Just sit down, let the restaurant serve you the specials of the day, and enjoy the experience.
We arrived at the beginning of lunch service, when the restaurant was still quiet. I recommend showing up early because there was a line out the door by the time we left. The restaurant is open Monday-Saturday, noon-3pm, and 7pm-midnight. The restaurant has recently gotten recognition from Let’s Go travel guide.
A board on the wall lists the prices of each course: Antipasti, 4 euro; Primi, 5 euro; Secondi, 6 euro; Dessert, 1 euro; Fruit, 1 euro; Drinks, .50 euro. My girlfriend and I did not want the Secondo course but the waiter wouldn’t have it. He explained that the plates were small portions (which we already understood) and he strongly recommended that we order the course. We had a feeling that we still didn’t want it, but we ordered it per his recommendation.
The antipasti included a selection of marinated local mushrooms, fried polenta, mozzarella, prosciutto, and frisee, which is a crunchy piece of bread topped with tomato, olive oil, and arugula. Excellent. Next, the Primi was a traditional orecchiette pasta with tomato sauce and aged ricotta cheese, known as carcio ricotta. Also delicious. The Secondi was exactly what we expected, and stuffed us to near bursting. The involtini–a roll of veal stuffed with Parmesan–was very good and I recommend ordering it. I ordered the fried calamari, which was a bit too fishy for my taste.
Whether or not you order fruit and desert, they will be served to you. The basket of fruit included a selection of apples, bananas, and locally grown clementines. The dessert was a delicious, flaky, apple-filled pastry.
All in all, the meal was very good and very filling. With wine, it came to 20 euro per person, which is a rather high price tag for lunch in the Puglia region. Vini e Cucina provides diners with a traditional dining experience and enough food to promptly put them to sleep afterward, which is itself a very important Italian tradition that is often overlooked by travelers.
Vini e Cucina
via Vallisa, 13
(Piazzale vicino al porto turtistico)
Written by Mattie Bamman for EuropeUpClose.com