On the airport bus into Bari several passengers remarked on this place. It was the first inviting-looking restaurant we'd seen in the new town - lively, busy and colourful. And conveniently only a minute or two from our hotel (the Boston) we ended up eating there on the first night.
The menu is 50-50 pizzas and pasta dishes, with all the usual pizzas and an unusually extensive pasta list for a pizzeria, covering all the classics and a few more besides. The restaurant does in fact also claim to be a spaghetteria.
One unusual touch is that you will be asked if you want your pizza base thick or thin, something I haven't been asked anywhere else in Italy. This, apparently, is the inspiration behind the Bari Napoli name. I imagine thin is Naples? The restaurant also does some antipasti I haven't come across before - vegetable carpaccios amongst them. The mushroom carpaccio (finely sliced raw mushrooms under oil and parmesan shavings) was odd but very satisfying.
We found the pizzas to be better than the pasta both in terms of taste and portion size. The food is good and solid and the imaginative twists and buzzy atmosphere made this a fun place to eat. Open until 2am, it's very popular with groups and gets busy, although we were served promptly. Large windows opening onto the street and bright colours inside give it a summery feel. I would recommend it for a sociable pizza out in Bari.
§ I've decided to write a short guide to some of those who are,in my opinion naturally,the best restaurants and pizzerie of Bari,and that I would advice to a friend.It's difficult because in Bari there are a lot of pizzerie and restaurants (many of which good) and I've not tried them all,but however I want to write some indications about.This is only my point of view. §
This tip is about the Old Town area.It's the heart of the Bari's nightlife,so it is always full of people...and full of places where to eat,so I don't know them all.
- Ristorante Terrazza Venezia (situated on the old wall,with beautiful view of
the old port...but maybe it's closed on monday morning as some other restaurants
- Ristorante Alberosole (in Corso Vittorio Emanuele II near Piazza
Ferrarese;it's very good,but its cousine is a little bit sophisticated and
modern,not so simple and typical)
- Ristorante Al Pescatore (in front of the Castle and near the Cathedral,very fresh and good fish,but one of the most expensive restaurants in Bari!)
- Osteria al Gambero (just opposite the port,very fresh and good fish,in a rustic place)
- Locanda di Federico (situated in Piazza Mercantile,typical cousine)
- Ristorante/Pizzeria Lo Sprofondo (in Corso Vittorio Emanuele II 111,near Piazza
- Osteria della travi (in Largo Chiurlia 12,near the Cathedral and Corso Vittorio
Emanuele II,typical and abundant cousine)
- Antica Osteria Vini e Cucina (strada Vallisa,a small alley from Piazza
Ferrarese;it's the cheaper one and it's very rustic)
- Pizzeria Biancofarina (Corso Vittorio Emanuele II,good pizza and antipasti)
Favorite Dish: These are the internet sites (if available) of these restaurants,in order:
Don't take my word for it - Terranima features in several good food guides, was recommended by local friends and also has links to the Slow Food movement.
The restaurant is guided by a couple of key concepts. The first is the food itself - local or locally-inspired ingredients and dishes. The second is the rotating menus: Terranima has 26 different menus, with a new menu appropriate to the season replacing the old every 15 days. Finally, the dining room itself, which looks like an elegant mish mash of antique knick knacks and old signs. In fact, the idea is that the dining space is a courtyard looking onto traditional shops. The barber, the coffee house, the town hall and so on.
So what about the food? My main memory of eating here was the feeling of utter happiness each time I tried something else. The food here literally made me smile, it was so enjoyable. Each time we tried something new we were surprised again at how well-made and flavoursome it was.
We chose a platter of antipasti to start off with and this turned out to be the highlight of the night. Three different local cheeses, bruschette, a type of deep-fried frittata, ham, rice salad... The buffalo mozzarella plaits in particular were amazing. Then, when we inquired whether the fritatta pieces were the 'fritteline', the owner dashed back to the kitchen to get us a plate that he'd forgotten - fried potato puffs with cheese. It was all fantastic and very nearly too filling for the main course.
There are several choices of primi and a similar number of secondi, with a much better than average number of primi suitable for vegetarians. In fact, the vegetables were all excellent, fresh and cooked imaginatively. As the ingredients are all fresh, not everything was available but frankly this made it much easier to choose. In any case, a number of dishes were created that didn't feature on the menu. We tried homemade fusilli with mussels and courgette and a plate of fried seafood. Both very, very, very good.
Dessert was more standard - the usual panacotta-type puddings and fruit, but nicer than average.
There are plenty of Puglian choices on the wine menu. The Bollina (white) was worth trying.
Prices are more than reasonable for food of this standard. Our platter was EUR 8, while primi are around the same price. Meat and fish secondi start at EUR 10.50. You wouldn't spend much less for the equivalent dishes at a pizzeria. Wine is also very fairly priced.
This is a special restaurant and I urge anyone in Bari for a meal to give it a go. The dishes are wonderful and the experience memorable. And when you see the bill you will wonder how you ate so well for so little.
I wouldn't normally write a tip for an ice cream place but this cafe was a bit special. I'm not much of an ice cream person but I ended up coming back a couple of times. I also tried a few other ice creams in Bari - in vain, as none compared the ones here!
All the flavours I tried, and there is a good range, were excellent, but a special mention must go to the chocolate orange which is fantastically rich and laced with pieces of orange peel. They also do some good sorbets and granitas for serious refreshment on a hot day. Ice creams are served in glasses rather than plastic cups if you're eating in or at the tables outside.
Closed on Sunday until late afternoon, but was open during usual hours except for that. Conveniently located for shopping too.
Caffe' Borghese is a great spot for lunch or light snack as the menu is a little more extensive than many Italian bars and cafes and you'll get a couple of free snacks - we got some very good olive bread - with your drinks.
Indeed, the food is well above average for this type of place. The bruschetta stood out, with really good bread and thick, chunky toppings that were fresh rather than out of a tin as in many cafes. Panini were also good. I would certainly recommend Caffe Borghese to vegetarians as there was a choice of vegetable snakcs, something you can't take for granted in Italian bars and cafes.
The caffe' has long opening hours but was closed at Sunday lunch time when we passed through Bari again. You can sit in or out at this elegant place. Either way, the service and food are both great.
it's an unpretencious but historical taproom. The food is excellent and the price is about 13-15 euros for a complete meal (hors-d'oeuvre, first course, second course, side dish, fruit, dessert, water and wine. The place is clean and the people so nice.
It's possible to have a lunch (12.30 pm - 02.00 pm) or to have a dinner (08.00 pm - 02.00 am).
Favorite Dish: "potatoes, rice and massels" is a baked local starter.
"broad beans and chicories" is another local starter.
"spaghetti with musssels" is another starter.
"fish fry" is a second course
It's possible to eat fish or meat courses.
According to me,this is the best place in Bari where to eat a pizza...but not the high Neapolitan pizza,but the Barese fine pizza.The antipasto and the dessert are very very good and abounding.
The only problem is that it's not situated in the city center,in the cimitery area,so if you don't have a car,you have to take the taxi.It's always full of people,every day of the week,so there is always to wait for a table.
Favorite Dish: My favourite dish is surely the pizza with buffalo mozzarella and Norcia's sausage:fantastic!
We were told that this was a good restaurant serving regional food.
I have little idea on what to expect, and a group of us went and we decided to a mixture of food. it was also our first evening out in Puglia region - Bari the capital of this region.
This restaurant is a smart restaurant not the typical tratoria type - so expect to dress up a bit, and great service is also there. They served a delicious appretif once seated and the awesome bread as well.
the restaurant has typical regional stone wall with high church like ceiling - but very very odd it has real plants staged upp!!!
Favorite Dish: Typical to the region is wheat produce - bread and pasta. Especially orecchette which is ear shaped pasta. In this restaurant they had chick pea puree and bacon chips cooked with it. It was exceptionally delicious and from that day onwards i only wanted this orechette pasta during my 4 days in Bari.
Other food we enjoyed was the lamb chops, stewed octopus in red wine reduction, but we did not like the aubergine stack.
With a whole day in Bari before catching the ferry for the overnight journey to Patras I decided to treat myself to a proper Italian lunch and a particular restaurant on the Piazza Mercantile had caught my eye the evening before. Firstly, the restaurant was busy (but then so were all the others), secondly the menu was written up on a blackboard entirely in Italian, and thirdly, unlike all the surrounding restaurants, there was no “Antipasto, Pizza, Fruitta for 10 Euros” special board - sounded good to me.
Arriving for lunch about 12.30 I secured a prime position overlooking the drinking water fountain and between the waiter’s English and my own culinary Italian we managed to decipher the menu with its antipasto to start, a choice of 4 primeri and 4 secondi.
Choices made: a half carafe of excellent, fruity, local white wine arrives with a basket of bread including the local speciality whose name temporarily escapes me (salata?) which are salty, biscuity, pretzel-type things. The sun is directly overhead, giving the square a stark bleached look, but the restaurant itself is well shaded and seems to catch whatever slight breeze there is giving it an amber airiness as the sun filters through the canopies.
The water fountain is a constant hive of activity: black-robed priests, orange-overalled workmen, some colorful pretty girls, the swarthy young boy with the family’s jerry can all contribute to this vignette of local life.
Favorite Dish: My lunch starts to arrive, but instead of the expected prosciutto, salami etc antipasto I seem to have been “fast-tracked” straight on to my choice of primeri which is a mussels and clams cooked with barley(?) in a tasty olive oil, garlic and herb broth. This is good but I am vaguely disappointed that the antipasto has been missed. As the waiter clears my plate I mention the antipasto which he genuinely seems aghast at having missed and offers to have one made up now. I decline and decide to proceed to my second course, the day's fish special, which neither of us could translate either way, but turns out to be an excellent pair of John Dory fillets gratinated with thinly-sliced potato, parmesan and herbs. The fish itself is delicious but the accompanying salad of arugula, raddichio and romaine is obviously left over from the weekend and the accompanying bowl of crudities has the same lack of freshness. Which is a pity because the fish really is tasty.
For dessert I opt for cheese which is an selection of hard cheeses and a blue cheese with a couple of honeyed dips served on a wooden platter. This is good, then coffee and grappa round off my lunch.
This was a pleasant way to spend lunch here in Bari but a little more attention to detail would have made for a superb lunch. The bill for my 3-courses including the wine, water, coffee and grappa was less than 30 Euros, which for a relaxing 2 hour lunch is pretty good value. Next time I’ll try towards the end of the week when the vegetables are fresh!
At the borders of the Borgo Murattiano,in a little old store without any signboard,there is the best homemade ice-cream parlour in Bari," 'Colin"(short for Nicola,in barese dialect).Every day it's possible to choose among 6 or 7 different ice-cream flavours,but,according to me,the great speciality is the whipped cream,simply fantastic!
Favorite Dish: During the summer,the coffee crushed-ice drink with whipped cream is a "must"!
Terranima - Via Putignani 213 BARI - tel 080 5219725. Around 18 Euro, all cards.
They call themselves a 'leisure place in Puglia': they have local food from Puglia (the region of Bari), cultural meetings, music in the night in a soft pleasantly informal style, with wooden chairs and tables. Cheap price, right in the city centre, not far from the Petruzzelli theatre.
In Trani (30 km North of Bari along the coast), a city a with a wonderful cathedral and a very nice fishing port, you should visit: Osteria ai Platani - Via Elena Comneno 16, tel. 0883 482421, all cards.
In Palese, very close to the airport, a few km Nortrh of Bari, it's worth visiting Tommaso, alomg the sea at Lungomare Massaro in Marina di Palese, tel. 080 5300038.
Favorite Dish: Anywhere in Puglia, you will find a lot of raw shellfish. This is very typical and cannot be avoided: it's a strange kind of delicacy, with soft tones which must be experienced and peacefully tasted: mussels, 'datteri', various difefrent kinds of clams, sea-urchins, sea-lemons and even shrimps are fresly caught, washed and served with a lemon slice.
Apart from raw sea products, Puglia's cuisine offers a lot of vegetables, horse meat, and several kinds of pasta (strascinati, orecchiette.....).
There are some restaurants near the train station where you can have good and quite cheap pissa with beer. And there are some cafes on Emanuelle Street where you can eat cornettes and drink capuchino, tea or anything.
Favorite Dish: Cornette and capuchino in the morning...
Pissa and beer in the evening...
Shall I start by warning you away from the worst restaurant in Italy? You will inevitably pass by a place called 'da Rafaelle' and you might think it looks cozy and be attracted by their 'specialty: Seafood' signs, but inside you will find the most venomously hostile proprietor imaginable. He slams the dishes at you, doesn't listen when you order, demands to know what you want without even telling you what there is, ignores efforts to get his attention, and actually serves pretty lousy food. In addition, the minute we walked in, he switched on the enormous TV, turned the volume all the way up, and accompanied our dinner with live reports from a campground landslide in Calabria, where bodies were being pulled from the mud and people were screaming in anguish.Real nice.......If you speak Italian, I HIGHLY recommend a place called simply 'Hosteria', which is located just off the big square that closes off the Eastern edge of the Medieval city. You go down into a sort of brick cave where you are ordered where to sit, and the slightly confused staff come and bark at you. It's not hostility, they're just wildly busy. Be warned, there are no menus and they talk fast so be ready to answer them when they say 'Da bere?' or start spieling the evenings offerings.
This is a neighborhood joint in one of the neighborhoodiest places I've ever seen. It's good basic Cucina Povera served with no pretense and no concessions to tourists.
Favorite Dish: Fave e Cicorie, Southern Italian soul food. Warm fava bean puree,cooked chicory, and a splash of olive oil and salt. Done.
Ristorante 'Grotta Palazzese' in Polignano a Mare.
The restaurant is situated in the famous grotto facing the sea. Superb views.