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Abruzzo

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Abruzzo lies on the coast East of Lazio on the Adriatic. It’s among the most mountainous regions in Italy and home to some of the most interesting cooking in the country. Due to the mountains themselves, much of Abruzzo grew separated from the influence of international commerce and civilization until the 20th century. Fun fact: at one time, the area was considered more Pagan than Rome, the home of Christianity, to the west.  With this physical exclusion , the region’s cuisine stays unique, a gastronomical heaven. Along the coast, there lie incredible port towns with incredible seafood, served raw, or simply boiled and dressed with oil and lemon.

 

In L’Aquila, home of the best saffron in Italy, there are many good dining choices. A simple trattoria called Elodia is my favorite. It’s a perfect expression of the local flavor and run by a family whose lifeblood is their love for the restaurant. A half hour drive west from L’Aquila will bring you to what many consider the best Roman restaurant in Italy, L’Angolo d’Abruzzo in Carsoli. There, foraging reigns supreme with ovoli and porcini in season, game and lamb almost year round, and a cellar that can hold its own against many fancy city restaurants. Even the desserts are wonderful here… dinner here is worth the trip alone.

Mario's Picks

Villa Vignola

Among my favorite of the restaurants along the coast with incredible seafood served raw, or simply boiled and dressed with oil and lemon.

L’Angolo da Filippo

L’Angolo da Filippo offers an incredible array of hot and cool antipasti di mare. The gnocchi with scampi are like clouds floating over the sea; and the monkfish alla cacciatora is as delicious as it is inexpensive.

Taverna 58

In the modern port city of Pescara, my favorite spot is Taverna 58, where there are a couple of great tasting menus to help you understand and feel a part of la tradizione Abruzzese.

La Lumaca

Serves excellent cucina Abruzzese in an intimate setting.

 

Villa Maiella

About 10 minutes outside the town of Chieti, you’ll find Guardiagrele, home to the classic trattoria Villa Maiella. Meat, grains and produce from the local gardens dominate the menu and prices are almost a steal.

Elodia

The perfect expression of the local flavor, run by a family whose lifeblood is its love for the restaurant.

L’Angolo da Filippo

L’Angolo da Filippo offers an incredible array of hot and cool antipasti di mare. The gnocchi with scampi are like clouds floating over the sea; and the monkfish alla cacciatora is as delicious as it is inexpensive.