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Eating out near Casa del Colle
One of the great pleasures of staying in the area is the abundance of good restaurants that serve excellent local food at prices that are very accessible. This is not a touristic part of Italy (and creates much of what I love about the area) and some restaurants will not have a menu - and those that do might not necessarily have a price list. You should budget for around 15- 20 euros or so per head, which will include the local wine. If you have a lot of meat or have something other than the house carafe then expect to pay in the region of 30 euros per head. Most of the restaurants listed here are simpler affairs but I have included a few at the top end where the price will be more. Food in Italy generally, and in rural areas such as this in particular, is local and seasonal. You eat what is plentiful at the time. Restaurants are genuinely flexible. They are happy to do what you want, particularly with children. If your child wants a bowl of pasta with just cheese or a simple tomato sauce then just ask – it will not be considered odd or a problem. Most restaurants will not ask you for a time if you book – for the simple reason that the table is yours for the night. You do not need to tip but you may want to round up the bill to an even number. The locals will usually pay their bills at the counter but you can choose just as easily to pay at the table.
Booking is advisable Friday and Saturday. We are really very happy to book for you – just ring us or e mail us, with a bit of notice if possible (but telephone numbers are below if you are happy to do so yourself). English is not commonly spoken but everyone will be very patient and communication will not be difficult. If you do want to go somewhere with staff who speak English then try La Bilancia, or Cignale (see below).
Italian restaurants tend to serve either meat (inland and in the mountains) or sea food (if they are near the sea). Unless I have indicated otherwise those on the list serve meat, generally cooked simply on the grill. Although the menu (whether written or not) will follow the standard approach of antipasto, primo and secondo, they are happy for you to pick and mix and have only one course or all three. Some will have antipasto that are a meal in themselves (see Font d’Artana). If you like little nibbles to start with ask for the antipasto and leave your selection of anything else until later. They really don’t mind. Italians in such rural areas are slightly puzzled by vegetarians but it is easy with antipasto and pasta to eat well – but if you do search for a vegetarian inspired menu then you may find that you are either disappointed or end up eating more grilled cheese than you would really want. Instead be creative with the wide and excellent variety of non-meat ingredients.
Lastly, Italians do tend to eat late. Restaurants will be open (probably) from 7.30 but they will not fill up until much later. It is not unusual to have customers arrive at 10.00 or later. Many restaurants are closed on Mondays with the exceptions of Font d'Artana (fine dining) and Ex Officina (surrounding area).
Pizzeria Stefano (900 metres, 15 minutes by foot)
Contrada Conaprato, 32B, 65017 Penne PE, Italy
Tel: 085 8270046
At the bottom of the hill. Within walking distance (but uphill on your return!). Cheap, great value and really good pizzas (and they will do take away) but the menu is limited. Can get pretty busy at weekends when it is a good idea to book but the turnover is fast so if you haven’t booked Stefano will almost certainly fit you in but you may have to wait. Apart from Pizzas, Stefano also does arrosoticini – mutton kebabs that are a speciality of the region. Do try them. For dessert ask for "Tartufo nero affogatto con amaro" – chocolate ice cream smothered in the local digestivo. The combination may seem odd but is excellent.
Bar Centrale (5km, 10 minutes)
Piazza Luca da Penne, 1, 65017 Penne PE, Italy
This has always been our centre of gravity in the town, the place for all meetings. Coffee anytime or go for an early apperitivo.
Tibo (5km, 10 minutes)
Viale S. Francesco, 23, 65017 Penne PE, Italy
A fantastic little bar and bookshop serving excellent craft beers and tapas in a very relaxed setting. Pop across the road to pick up some fresh pasta from Dora - the ravioli is amazing!
Cretarola Cretarola Pizza (5km, 10 minutes)
Largo S. Francesco, 65017 Penne PE, Italy
For a quick pizza in Penne town for either takeaway or eat in.
Gelateria La Regina (5km, 10km)
Viale S. Francesco, 741, 65017 Penne PE, Italy
Not to be missed. Truly outstanding ice cream - a short walk from Tibo bar - that you can either take away or eat in.
Tatobbe (5km, 10 minutes)
Corso Alessandrini, 371, 65017
+39 085 821 3293
Restaurant and pizzeria. Take a right if you were leaving Bar Centrale in the main square. Good atmosphere and wide choice of food. For some reason not my favourite (maybe too much the foodie) but don’t let that stop you. Easy place to eat as a family. Closed Monday and Tuesday
Nonna Ersilia (5km, 10 minutes)
Via Santo Spirito Snc, 65017 Penne PE, Italy
For a cheap, simple, but tasty lunch; anything from a quick snack to fresh home-made pasta to a full meal. Closes about 16:00.
La Bilancia (17km, 25 minutes)
Strada Provinciale 4, 65014 Passo Cordone PE
Tel: +39 085 828 9321
Nice traditional restaurant which has the atmosphere of something from many decades past. A good place to sample one of the local pastas, Mugnaia, a rough hand rolled pasta a bit like pici that you might have had in Tuscany. If you want a feast of meat try the Fiorentina, a beef steak cooked on a hot plate. Booking unlikely to be necessary. Waitors speak English – one lived in Liverpool many years ago.
Osteria Villa Cupoli (7km, 10 minutes)
Bivio Cupoli 20, Farindola
Simple trattoria that does good value local cuisine. They are particularly proud of their arrosticini. If you don't want a pizza and don't want to travel far this is a good choice.
Baby Bar Rosticceria
Contrada Sant'Angelo, 65010 Picciano PE, Italy
Very basic, roadside shack that is very popular with locals who want arrosticini, beer, and local wine. Verg good but very simple.
Ex Officine Pizzeria
contrada san salvatore, SS81, 65017 Penne PE, Italy
Not as close as Stefanos (see above) but better.
La Mugnaia (15km, 20 minutes)
Contrada Piano Di Sacco, 95, 65013 Citta' Sant'Angelo PE
Tel: +39 085 969 0371
Simple trattoria/pizzeria where you can eat for surprisingly little. Good pizzas but if you love your pasta try the "Tris" – three different pastas (gnocchi, mugnaia and ravioli). A carb cravers delight. I have never found the need to book.
Cignale (Agriturismo) (8km, 15 minutes)
Contrada Cignale, 4A, 65017 Penne PE
Tel: +39 085 821 0113
Massimo and Rita run a truly excellent agriturismo – coming back to their roots after 40 years in Milan. If you want to experience passion about food then pay a visit. It will be different, the quality of the food will be exceptional (if sometimes quite simple) and you will be entertained with a story about almost every dish. Massimo speaks good English.
Lu Strego (12km, 20 minutes)
Via del Colle, 65010 Farindola PE, Italy
Tel: +39 085 823104
Famous for their arrosticini – worth the trip. All that is good about simple regional cooking
Un Passo dal Mare
Via Tevere, 44, 65010 Elice PE, Italy
The restaurant looks a bit like something you would find at an antiquated seaside-town, but don't let that put you off! This is a truly excellent fish restaurant.
Via San Rocco, 4, SP72, 65010 Farindola PE, Italy
One of my very favourites. Excellent food with a twist on traditional regional cooking that I find refreshing. Mid range in price.
Ristoro Mucciante (23km, 50 minutes)
Loc. Fonte Vetica, 67023 Castel del Monte AQ
Tel:+39 339 885 5751
A trip to the Campo Imperatore is a must and when you get there this is the place to eat. Try the arrostocini, (lamb kebabs cooked on a special brazier fashioned like a gutter pipe), or the sausages. You buy your meat from the butchers and cook it yourself on a BBQ that is provided by the shop. One part of the butchers sells the meat and the other the local wine, cheeses and bread. A simple meal but one fit for a king.
Below are a few restaurants that are at the higher end of the price scale, ones that are listed in the Italian guide booked such as Gambero Rosso (a copy of which is in the house). Expect to pay more like 40-50 euros a head, possibly more with wine.
Font d'Artana (13km, 20 minutes)
Piazza Duca Abruzzi, 8, 65010 Picciano PE
Tel: +39 085 828 5451
This is one of our favourites. Worth the journey (and sit outside in the summer). Menu changes daily but try the antipasto – and then wait until you have eaten it before you decide what else you want. Unless you are hungry you are probably ready for the desserts (but do go on to eat a pasta course and/or a meat dish if you can manage it).
Carmine (17km, 30 minutes)
Contrada Re Martello 1, 65014 Loreto Aprutino PE
Tel: +39 085 820 8553
Closed Monday lunch and Tuesday
A quality meal here will cost you about 30 euros a head, so it is indeed more expensive than the others listed in the above section but if you want to eat fish then I suggest you head here and Christian, the owner and chef, will look after you very well. You could combine this with a trip to Marchesi di Cordano, a fantastic winery, which is in the same general direction.
Il Ritrovo D'Abruzzo (18km, 30 minutes)
Contrada Bosco, 16, 65010 Civitella Casanova PE
Tel: +39 085 846 0019
Closed Monday lunch and Tuesday
Very pleasant family run restaurant with a twist on the traditional cooking. If you want fine dining at a reasonable price then this is for you. They specialise in Baccala (salt cod) – do try it
La Bandiera (23km, 40 minutes)
Contrada Pastine, 4, 65010 Civitella Casanova PE
Tel:+39 085 845219
Closed Sunday evening and Tuesday
High class eatery with prices to match. Service of a style more in keeping with France as you would expect with its 1 star Michelin rating. A place to impress, but not on a budget
Taverna 58 (36km, 50 minutes)
Corso Gabriele Manthone, 46, 65127 Pescara PE
Tel: +39 085 690724
Closed Saturday lunch and Sunday
In a more bohemian part of the old town of Pescara, one of my favourites. Fish restaurant that is worth the trip if you are in town. Great atmosphere and not nearly as expensive as you might think.
By the sea
Al Vecchio Teatro (60km, 1 hour 10 minutes)
Corso Garibaldi, 35, 66026 Ortona CH, Italy
Tel: 085 9064495
Mara and Pepe
Via Roma 457, 64028, Silvi Marina
If you follow the suggestion to go to Silvi Marina for a day by the sea and are looking for somewhere to eat then this simple trattoria, much loved by locals, might not be in the most salubrious location but it is only a few hundred metres from the sea and is exceptional value at around 15 euros for the set meal at lunch, including wine.
Trabocco Pesche Colombo
SS16 Adriatica Fossacesia(Ch)
Tel: 333 3055300
A bit of a journey but if you fancy a trip down the coast then there is a section of the seaside past Ortona that is known as the Trabocchi Coast – an area lightly scattered, every so often, with a trabocco: what look like wooden insects, jutting right out into the sea. Unique, quaint and interesting. They are in fact ancient fishing machines, built out of logs, many of which have now been converted into restaurants with stunning views; and of course being built out to sea you eat on top of the water. This is one of the best. Not the cheapest restaurant in the area by a long way but for 50 euros a head (inclusive of everything, including wine) you will have a unique experience and eat some great fish. Combine this with a day at the sea, although it will be a late arrival back at the villa! Lastly just to say that the entrance to the parking area is not easy to find. It is signposted so just go slowly!
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