Seafood in San Vito

Living so close to the coast means there’s an abundance of seafood available all year round and one of the most popular places to eat it, is the town of San Vito Chietino. This small town has everything from inexpensive outdoor eateries, to top class restaurants where you need to check your bank balance before you book a table. There’s even two trabocchi that serve dinner; but to be honest I think they’re more suited to the tourists who don’t mind paying over the odds for the same quality fare they can get up the road for just €5.00.

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My favourite place to eat there is the small roadside restaurant called La Locanda Del Mare. Each course is cooked to order; unlike some places where it’s sat waiting for the customer under heat lamps and a course costs just €5.00.

Over the last few weeks I’ve frequented the town more often as I had friends Becky and Matt come to stay and my cousin Alfie dropped by for a week too. I believe it’s always a good day when you can enjoy a leisurely lunch with friends with some delicious fare from the sea and a cool glass of wine.

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Alfie like myself loves nothing better than picking mussels and clams from their shells and devouring them with chittara pasta and tomato sauce. No one minds that you end up with a few splashes of red on your T-shirt and that your fingernails are stained with sauce, as long as there’s a plate filled with empty shells at the end of the course.

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Becky is a different type of diner altogether, she’s more cautious, but at our first lunch she threw her caution to the wind and ordered what Matt and I had. So the primo was a risotto with clams, mussels, monkfish liver and octopus and despite not wanting to try the octopus tentacles she ate the lot. The secondo was probably the most popular Friday fish dish, frittura mista, deep fried anchovies, small white fish, calamari and prawns. Another good secondo is baccala and potatoes. Baccala is salt dried cod that’s rehydrated and served with potatoes and black olives in an olive oil based sauce and there’s nothing more satisfying than the empty plate afterwards.

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My only criticism of these food outlets; like many over Italy is the use of plastic plates and cutlery. I shudder to think how much plastic waste the Italian food industry generates. Sadly it’s not only catering establishments that add to this, the population are bombarded with plastic dinner ware. Stores and supermarkets sell vast quantities of it, everything from plastic espresso cups to wine glasses and dinner plates to soup bowls. So much so that a large amount of this plastic dinnerware is used for large family gatherings.

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Following lunch and just before the stroll down to the beach there’s the matter of dolce to contend with. San Vito Chietino has two main pasticceria (cake shop) on the main street both of which sell ice-cream, however the gelateria that always gets my Euro is Pasticceria Iezzi Rossana, the reason being the staff are always polite and friendly and more welcoming than the other store.

So after all this activity, all that’s left is to dip ones’ toes in the Adriatic before taking a nap on the sandy beach.

Fish Food

I have never been a big fish eater, in fact back in the UK, I probably only ate fish three or four times per year, and I have never had, and have no desire to sample a fish finger sandwich. However we live just eighteen minutes from the coast and the plethora of fish restaurants that line the Adriatic. So, a few weeks ago our friends, Mark and Graham introduced us to a fish restaurant in San Vito Chietino on Strada Statale 84, 66038 Marina di San Vito CH, Italy and called, Gastropescheria Blu Mare.

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Since we’ve lived in Italy, I have been more adventurous regarding my consumption of all things fishy. I’ve tried octopus, discovered I like fried calamari, and even given prawns another go. I’ve been lucky enough at our favourite local restaurant to have superb baccalà (dried, salted cod) and I’ve always liked mussels, which they serve up with clams in a sauce and fresh pasta.

But despite this new approach to fish I still arrived at San Vito with trepidation: What if I don’t like anything on offer? I guess they’ll have mussels, I like those, so I can go for the easy option,  Parking the car I decided to man up and try something different, at least one new fish dish,

Everything in the restaurant is just €5 and there’s two service areas, outside you buy a mixed fried platter of calamari, prawns etc and inside is a veritable feast for the eyes, with everything from the sea laid out. Seafood salads rub fins with thin slivers of carpaccio, there’s fillets of every kind of fish local to the area and seafood pasta galore.

We opt for a plate of stuffed mussels, a portion of battered cod, some prawns with fried coins of courgette and swordfish carpaccio. The swordfish is cooked by the lemon juice and tastes divine, as does the rest of our selection. We sit in the sunshine and with great gusto tuck into our fishy feast. The afternoon is warm and after lunch what else is there to do in San Vito but go to the beach.

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The following day, we are telling friends about the fish restaurant and they ask if we can take them. We don’t need an excuse to visit again so a few days later we are back, this time I have a starter of anchovies marinated in vinegar and white wine, the swordfish carpaccio and some mussels. Viv has a large butterflied portion of salmon, Margaret has the anchovies and some prawns and Seppe tries the seafood pasta and a large portion of crab. We all enjoy the dinner, before sloping off for a gelato and pass the afternoon away strolling along the marina. The day ends with a beer at a seafront bar, who said life in Italy has hard?

A couple of days later, I’m on my way to Ikea and this gives me the excuse to have lunch out, and surprise, surprise, Gastropescheria Blu Mare isn’t too far away. We park the car and grab a table100_7472 as the lunchtime crowd are arriving and the restaurant is shrouded by workmen in overalls and office workers in suits. The queue stretches out of the door and along the road, it must be at least thirty-five people deep, and the girls behind the counter are serving fish like dervishes. My turn for service comes and the girl smiles, recognising me. Today we have a whole monkfish tail with a  breadcrumb topping and a portion of mixed fried fish, all washed down with a beer and all for the princely sum of just €12 per person.

If you ever find yourself passing by, I’d recommend you drop in and sample the fare.