Saturday 30 July 2011

Scacciapensieri, Martina Franca, Puglia, Italy

Not the place for a refined meal, Scacciapensieri is a no-nonsense pizzeria and trattoria down a side street off Martina Franca's main square. There are two large, well-lit and crudely-decorated rooms, plus a kind of conservatory with a glass roof. The Italian-only menu has a massive list of pizzas, costing between 3 and 7 euros, baked in a wood-fired oven. The quattro formaggi pizza (5.5 euros) is rich, filling and delicious, thanks in part to a generous covering of blue cheese, while the ham pizza is topped with piles of salty meat, which will have you reaching for the water or a large Moretti beer (66cl for just 3 euros). There are plenty of other Italian dishes, but the pizzas, which have light and large bases, are top notch. Still, on a week day evening, Scacciapensieri may only attract a smattering of diners, mostly Italian families, and can lack atmosphere.  The cover charge of 1.5 euros a head pays for a bowl of salty olives, while the service is friendly and efficient. 7/10