From intimate kitchens perched on the cliffs of Gargano to contemporary dining in an excavated cave, dining in Puglia will take you by surprise. Besides the avant-garde settings, the region’s chefs are flirting with timeless traditions to create bold interpretations that continue to put Puglia on the map. Read on for the latest line-up of Michelin-starred addresses in Puglia, with two new entries that have joined the club.
Along the stiletto heel, culinary excellence is no big news. You can eat well almost anywhere; from your friend’s grandmother’s modest kitchen to a chic seaside beach club – yet, refined know-how is reserved for those who dare and Puglia is on the edge of a culinary apotheosis. The Michelin Guide recently released the 2022 list of Puglia’s stellar restaurants: among the two new entries is a kitchen on the edge of the cliffs in the town of Peschici, while down in Salento, the baroque capital of Lecce twinkles twice as bright with the second star granted to the 25-year-old talented chef, Solaika Marrocco.
Puglia: Two New Entries in the Michelin Guide
Porta Di Basso
Perched on a cliff one hundred meters above sea level, Porta di Basso is the first Michelin-starred restaurant in the Gargano area. The view of a dining table practically hanging by a string over the Adriatic Sea is second to none. You’ll appreciate the sense of space, privacy, and exclusivity. The chef patron Domenico Cilenti tells his story with two tasting menus: one dedicated to the classics evoking the history of the place and one blindly built day by day with the best seasonal ingredients. Regardless of the choice, refined simplicity is evident in the dishes, allowing the flavor of each raw material to burst at the palate. By the way, you’ll want to stay here overnight at the charming bed and breakfast housed just upstairs.
Via Cristoforo Colombo, 38 – 71010 Peschici / +39 0884 35 51 67 / For more info visit: portadibasso.it / Email: email@example.com / Instagram: ristoranteportadibasso
The talented 25-year-old Chef Solaika Marrocco is quickly attracting nationwide attention with her novel cuisine at Primo, which she’s tenaciously masterminded since 2017. The excellent delivery of the dishes starts from in-depth research on produce that is homegrown at the newly-created garden and farm, PrimOrto. When you taste the chef’s classic dish, frisella Salentina, you experience for yourself her grandfather’s morning ritual as it was lovingly prepared by her grandmother. Chef Marrocco’s dishes, like parmigiana or animelle (sweetbreads), celebrate the flavors and traditions of Salento before diving into her gastronomical creations.
Via 47° Reggimento Fanteria, 7 – 73100 Lecce / +39 0832 243802 / For more info visit: primorestaurant.it
Keeping up with Stardom: Across Puglia
A stone’s throw from the historic town of Manduria, also known as Puglia’s Primitivo wine nest, Casamatta is set in the fairy-like early 20th-century castle turned wine resort, Vinilia, surrounded by a lavish garden with centuries-old olive trees. A bright room with large windows overlooking the terrace, modern-design furnishings, and expertly designed lighting contribute to the charm of the spaces. After significant experiences in Milan and Paris, Chef Pietro Penna returned to his homeland to pay homage to cultural cuisine with a menu that draws on local products, with an assortment of fruit and vegetables sourced from the garden of the castle. Great stop for a stellar lunch while exploring the region.
Contrada Scrasciosa – 74024 Manduria / +39 099 990 80 13 / Visit: viniliaresort.com/it/ristorante-stellato-casamatta-taranto /
Già sotto l’Arco
A long-standing Michelin-starred restaurant in Puglia, Gia Sotto L’Arco invites guests to soak in the history of Carovigno with the main square in view (tip: book a table for two on the terrace) while deep diving into Chef Teresa Galeone’s cuisine. Located on the first floor of a majestic baroque building, the dining lounge is immaculate yet simple, bathed in sunlight to allow the artwork, setting, and dishes to pop out. Chef Galeone’s hands give life to succulent fish and meat creations on the menu. Along with the strong influence of the Apulian territory, her skills demonstrate a knack for creative cuisine that infuses Italian-wide products and interesting combinations. The wine list is notable with particular selections made by the patron.
Corso Vittorio Emanuele, 71 – 72012 Carovigno / +39 0831 996286 / Visit: /
The vision of spritely chef Floriano Pellegrino and talented pastry chef Isabella Potì, Bros’ is an ode to the rugged produce of Salento. The eight-course or thirteen-course tasting menu (selected at the time of booking) changes every season and takes you straight into the soul of an avant-garde Apulian soul. In the universe of Bros’, the culinary experience is all about inventing, deconstructing, and recalibrating almost forgotten textures and recipes to deliver a wholesome plate of whimsical flavors (you won’t find the menu online which means you’ve got to book to get the vibe). Dining here is sheer entertainment from quirky breads and palette cleaners served intermezzo, to Poti’s theatrical Piccola Pasticceria. The signature dessert? Liimoncello soufflé with condensed milk ice cream and thyme.
Via degli Acaya, 2 – 73100 Lecce / +39 0832 092601 / Visit: pellegrinobrothers.it / firstname.lastname@example.org
Set in the Bishop’s Seminary, a building of majestic architecture in the main square of Conversano (worth a visit, too), Pashà’s food concept is firmly anchored in celebrated regional delicacies from vegetables to local game. Chef Antonio Zaccardi showcases all the techniques acquired during his career to focus his attention on mastering a few elements that successfully generate explosions of flavor. His wife Angelica Giannuzzi is his right-hand maître for all things patisserie, with a display of her own character and unique aesthetic vision. The wine list is exceptional with a selection of Apulian, Bordeaux, and Champagne excellences.
Via Morgantini 2 – 70014 Conversano / +39 080 495 1079 / Visit: / email@example.com
Up in the White City of Ostuni, the limestone steps that lead to the historic town will also take you to an ancient mansion right at the top of the town. Housed in a chic hotel, La Sommità, whose building preserves Ostuni’s winning architecture, is what we’d describe as a slide of heaven. At this highest point in Ostuni, guests can enjoy the chef’s creations in the charming vaulted lounge or in the aromatic garden (perfect come spring). Your wines will be served from the winery, located in a space that comprises three ancient cisterns where wine tastings are also held. The menu focuses on Apulian traditions but the chef masters the magic of combining past and future innovation for a surprise at the palate.
Via Scipione Petrarolo 7 – 72017 Ostuni / +39 0831 305925 / Visit: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to the infinite glare of candlelight, Due Camini is probably of the most romantic restaurants along the coast. Located in the resort of Borgo Egnazia, Due Camini is a good choice for those who love elegant Mediterranean nights complete with a gourmet experience. Browse the menu online prior to booking which changes by the season; Chef Domingo Schingaro takes his guests on a nostalgic journey to discover Apulian cuisine, looking to tradition, seeking local crops and creating cutting-edge interpretations. The dining experience is matched with immaculate service, all in a charming setting.
Savelletri di Fasano – 72015 Fasano / +39 080 2255351/ Visit: /
In our eyes, this is exactly what it means to possess a master’s in Fine Arts. Angelo Sabatelli is one of the most renowned Italian chefs. Cooking is ingrained like the lifelines on his hands. He made his way to prestigious kitchens across the globe before returning home to his roots to create sensational cuisine. Tucked amid historic cave-walls of Putignano, Sabatelli is co-managed by the chef and his wife Laura: here, every detail has been chosen with intention. Minimal interiors, sturdy dining chairs and soft lighting offset with bold culinary compositions by the Michelin- starred chef. Taste your way through Puglia with various tasting menus that show off his masterpieces made using the region’s finest raw materials, including Sabatelli’s very own garden. Booking is obligatory.
Via S. Chiara, 1 – 70017 Putignano / +39 080 405 2733 / For more info visit: angelosabatelliristorante.com
There’s something about being near the sea that always inspires an appetite. With its seafront position in the port town of Trani is Casa Sgarra, the brainchild of three brothers who applied their love of food to turn a family dream into reality. Preparing to immerse in culinary storytelling in a tastefully decorated, modern space. The innovative dishes are prepared with the finest locally-sourced ingredients and Chef Felice Sgarra manages to evoke fond memories of old Apulia. The impeccable service of maître Roberto and sommelier Riccardo make this family affair deserving of their multiple awards. Explore the menu here.
Lungomare C. Colombo, 114 – 76125 Trani / +39 0883895968 / Visit: casasgarra.it / email@example.com
A culinary quartet of brothers who teamed up to showcase their passion for Puglia’s rich gastronomic heritage, surprising guests with a bounty of recipes born and bred in southern Italian hospitality. In a minimalist and comfortable setting, guests can enjoy a ride across the sea with a menu that features local oysters, Atlantic codfish, and fresh catches of the day. Their innovative technique relies on the highest quality local produce and is balanced with interesting wine pairings.
Via Nigro, 37 – 76125 Trani / +39 0883 880 948 / quintessenzaristorante.it / firstname.lastname@example.org