Wednesday 20 July 2011

Al Pescatore ristorante, Riviera Colombo, Gallipoli, Puglia

Despite being recommended in the Rough Guide to Italy, Al Pescatore is an unpretentious and uncompromising seafood restaurant that meets the high-standards of Italian diners. What's more, its appealing outside tables, dressed with white table cloths, have sweeping views across Gallipoli's harbour. In July, you probably need to arrive before 8.30pm to be sure of a table, as people end up queuing along the wall opposite the restaurant. When you sit down one of the burly, old-school waiters will bring you a basket of very good olive bread, complete with pips. On the menu is a broad selection of almost-entirely seafood dishes. To start, the seafood platter (just 7 euros) is a great option.  You might get mussels with smoked cheese and capers, octopus, sardines, strips of fennel and carrot, potatos and anchovies, plus some fried fish. It is all good. Among the primi dishes, is a near-perfect risotto pescatore (9 euros), containing lots of mussels, clams and other shellfish mixed with fat juicy grains of rice in a lovely sauce. The seafood spaghetti is awash with mussels and small prawns, or you can prefer spaghetti with fat king prawns. Both are excellent. A good secondi choice is octopus in a spicy tomato sauce, served in an attractive terracotta pot. In almost every case, the ultra-fresh ingredients are expertly cooked, making for startlingly good food. Moreover, you can get a massive jug of the dry and refreshing house white wine for only 6 euros. Al Pescatore is extraordinarily good value. 9/10