My husband and I spent a couple of days in Abruzzo and ate quite well. We spent the first day in Sulmona and stayed overnight.
Our first meal was a superb lunch (the only meal they serve) at Ristorante da Gino. We started with prosciutto of smoked goose with grilled bread. Both of us had the grilled lamb and shared a generous order of grilled vegetables. A bottle of Cerasuolo rose for 9.50, Cataldi Madonna 2017, was excellent. Tiramisu for dessert and 2 coffees. Total was 67.50. Service was perfect, atmosphere charming. Obviously popular with locals, it is a gem.
We had checked out the menus at Don Ciccio and Clemente, deciding that Don Ciccio was the more interesting one. Unfortunately, when we got there at 8:15 we were told it was fully booked. Who would have thought you would need a reservation on a Tuesday in late September in a town that looked deserted? My guess is we probably would have had a better meal at Don Ciccio, but Clemente was nonetheless quite pleasant. The spaghetti alla chitarra with lamb ragu was delicious. My mixed grill was a huge portion and pretty good but not really special. Stanley's braised beef cheeks, which he liked, I thought were tough. Both came with potatoes, but no vegetables were offered. For dessert we had almond semifreddo with chocolate sauce, and tiramisu. Both were very good, the tiramisu even better than the one we had at lunch today. We again chose a rose for the wine, again a Cerasuolo, Vermiglio 2017 for 12 euros. Total with 2 amaros was 74 euros.
The next day we drove North through Abruzzo on our way to Senigallia, stopping for lunch at La Bandiera, outside of Civitella Casanova, a Michelin starred restaurant in a beautiful setting, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. It is a destination that should not be missed by anyone visiting Abruzzo or Southern Marche.
Of course, the food here was wonderful, with very creative takes on regional dishes. First we were given a generous selection of canapes. We then started with porchetta, and though we intended to share one plate, they very graciously brought out 2 plates without extra charge. This was a spectacular dish, which no description I could give would do justice. Next we shared a pasta, duck tortelloni with an orange and truffle sauce. For the main course, sweetbreads 2 ways, and chicken 2 ways, brought to the table as 2 separate courses. There was a dessert amuse-bouche, then bollamisu (a creative take on tiramisu) and a chocolate waffle topped with chocolate mousse and saffron gelato. With coffees, water and a nice bottle of Montepulciano d'Abruzzo (18 euros), the total came to 120 euros, truly amazing for this level of food, atmosphere and service.
See my blog post for a complete report, with hotel and touring information, and photos:
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