Calabria: the best places to eat – Italian Cuisine

Calabria: the best places to eat

Calabria: between Mediterranean sea cuisine and a strong inland tradition, with flavors that go far beyond the most famous classics. Here's where to go to savor the true soul of this region

Land of Feaci and of wayfarers, who often cross it to go elsewhere, without stopping.

For those who instead choose Calabria as a destination, the surprise will be to be in an extremely varied territory, between a Mediterranean sea cuisine and a strong tradition of the hinterland, with flavors that go far beyond the most famous classics (such as' nduja and Tropea). The result is a region that is still wrong too little known, to the detriment of anyone who is not very good at it, with a kitchen destined to remain imprinted, like the people who keep it alive.

Trattoria Nizio Paleo, Gallicianò

We cannot think of knowing Calabria if we have never gone deeper into its bowels, or among the countries of Aspromonte, like Gallicianò, where ancient Greek is still spoken. Here, at the restaurant of the Nucera family, the cuisine expresses the most intimate essence of this territory, with simple dishes such as the fileja (or maccaruni), a fresh handmade pasta, seasoned only with simple tomato, or other dishes of the house . All in an atmosphere of other times.

Taverna Kerkira, Bagnara Calabra

If they asked me which is my favorite restaurant ever, maybe I would say the Kerkira Tavern. And most likely I wouldn't be the only one, as this place really has some unique features. His cuisine cannot be identified either with the Calabrese one, or with the Greek one, the land of origin of the cook, because he has a very personal mark. And because in this place the whole Mediterranean is enclosed, with its colors, its perfumes, its flavors, in dishes like to Struncatura, a particular type of pasta that in the past was produced by collecting the residues from the milling of various grains from the ground, including rye, seasoned with anchovies, garlic, chilli, and breadcrumbs. And so on, with the sea on the table.

Officina del Gusto, Reggio Calabria

If Fortunato Arico did not exist, it should be invented, because if today Reggio Calabria boasts such an excellent place, it is thanks to him. The cuisine tends to be of sea in summer and meat in winter, with a constant presence of Slow Food Presidia, such as the caciocavallo from Ciminà that he puts in the filling of tortelli. Not least its rediscovery of ancient Calabrian dishes, such as sweets nacatuli from the name of the naca in which small children were kept. Furthermore, the restaurant is furnished with a precious wine cellar of various origins.

Bistrot, Corigliano Calabro

A very small family-run restaurant, with a sincere, abundant and no-frills cuisine. Try the mixed appetizer, with a long series of courses that make this typical trattoria as good as the sign outside. Many dishes are based on seasonal vegetables and never to be missed are the first courses of fresh pasta with legumes. Excellent quality-price relation.

ME, Vibo Valentia

A real revolution that of Giuseppe Romano, who in a short time has made an incredible rise (completely deserved) in the world of catering. Definitely determined and passionate, he renovated an old farmhouse by the sea with his wife (now in the pastry shop) and made it a place to merge their Campania origins with the products of the land that welcomed them. They range from simpler dishes, based on available fish, to more complex elaborations, sometimes risky, but always well done, such as the prawn with parmesan, truffle, red pepper caviar, sprouts and mushrooms.

La Capricciosa, Firmo

We are in the most lively and pulsating heart of the arbëreshë communities, and it is in this restaurant-pizzeria that, in addition to a good pizza, you can find dishes like dromësat and, sometimes, shëtridhlat. The first are arbëreshë pasta crumbs, that is, lumps of flour to be cooked directly in the tomato sauce. The latter are a ball of dough that is prepared by a group of women who come together specifically for this complex, but extremely fascinating, preparation handed down for generations. The dough continues to work by hand until it produces a very thin long thread that will be broken only before being cooked and then seasoned with legumes or vegetables.

Agriturismo Casachella, Corigliano Calabro

It looks like a dream, but it is real: a farmhouse immersed in a plain completely covered with ancient olive trees, which are replaced by clementines towards the sea. It is the Plain of Sybaris, known precisely for the production of these fruits and an oil that does not fear comparisons. Also at the Casacchella agriturismo we eat arbëreshë cuisine, in a warm and very familiar environment, but at the same ideal for large events.

La Locanda di Alia, Castrovillari

There is no need for presentations for Daniela and Gaetano Alia, who with their inn represent a reference point for Calabrian cuisine and culture. For years, specifically since 1952, they have been preparing dishes that are a hymn to the territory and to local products, such as the povelli white bean soup from nearby Mormanno, the Lamb from Pollino or the black Calabria pork in various versions, for a kitchen always of substance and of the highest quality over time.

Il Principe, Scilla

Only for the location is worth a visit: a historic building overlooking the sea, in the fishing village of Chianalea in Scilla, where you can eat in the elegant and sumptuous Salone della Principessa. In this slightly chic and slightly kitsch environment, the cuisine is obviously of fish, with traditional and abundant dishes. Try the house appetizer and spaghetti with clams.

Il Casato, Scilla

A few steps from the Principe, there is another historical address, which has been preparing a solid seafood cuisine for some time, even with a magnificent summer terrace. To the local Calabrian tradition, which excels above all for the fresh pasta with fish such as the fileja with pistachio pesto, clams and zucchini, has combined some Sicilian dishes, such as the swordballs with aeolian «because in the end the Aeolian Islands and Sicily they are here in front of us, they are similar kitchens, even if the administrative boundaries divide us , says the owner.

La Giara di Gallina, Reggio Calabria

It looks like the classic great venue for baptisms and weddings, and in part it is, where quantity wins over quality. But it is not so. This restaurant in the hamlet of Gallina, just outside Reggio Calabria, prepares a fish cuisine of a disarming goodness, with exquisite dishes of the most classic sea tradition, becoming the occasion to discover the surroundings of the city.

De Gustibus, Palmi

It also comes from far away, just to try the cuisine of Maurizio Sciarrone who, in this small inn in the center of the country, proposes refined dishes, always perfectly realized, like his personal version of the Struncatura, or the "Stroncatura de Gustibus", up to the world of the raw and of the catch, which always elaborates with a great skill. Much attention is also given to the selection of wines, with particular emphasis on local production, which gives great satisfaction even with ancient and still little known vines such as Magliocco.

The Vibo Valentia Landing

Do you want fish? The landing place is the right place to moor, as here is an incredible variety of sea, divided into two sections. For the more nostalgic, there is the part of tradition, with more classic dishes that are also the best successful as the soups with seafood. Then there is a section dedicated to innovation, with new creations designed by the chef. But the constant is the fresh fish of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

La Taverna del Conte, Diamante

La Taverna del Conte is a restaurant located in Diamante, a town on the Calabrian coast, known above all for the chili pepper festival which attracts thousands of visitors who are passionate about spicy every year in September. The patron chef is Emilio Laino, who since 2000 continues his passionate search for the right synthesis between local raw materials, innovation of taste and final identity of the dish, as can be seen from dishes like Spaghettoni with seaweed pesto on red prawn carpaccio of Cetraro and confetti of Silano caprino.

Locanda Toscano, Pizzo

A place of the heart, characterized by a winning couple: she in the kitchen and he a room, which together make this place a temple of hospitality. To understand their cuisine you have to try it all in their tasting menus, which tell the flavors of Calabria in one of the best ways.

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