Puglia Restaurants – spoilt for choice

Bar Zoki, Torre San Gennaro

Yesterday we enjoyed a leisurely lunch at Bar Zoki, Lido Felix, in one of our local sea-side villages, Torre San Gennaro. Bar Zoki can be found just past the piazza, perched on the edge of the Adriatic. With a covered deck open to the sea on one side and the beach on the other it has long been a favourite, for coffee, pre-lunch beer and evening aperitivi.

La Pergola, Santa Maria al Bagno

Santa Maria al Bagno is another Puglia restaurant to make it onto our list of favourites. La Pergola is located on the town square in Santa Maria al Bagno and has superb views of the town beach and the immediate coastline.

Puglia Beach Bar ¦ Unspoiled Puglia Gem

Senza Stile on the outskirts of Torre San Gennaro is a perfect beach bar where you can get drinks, snacks and light meals. The owners explained their concept to us in a mixture of Italian and English.

There are plenty of choices for eating out in Puglia. Restaurants serve lunch from about 1pm and dinner from about 8pm. Italians generally eat later in the evening and often you will see the whole family dining together. Children are welcome everywhere in Puglia.

In smaller towns, outside the main season (July/August), many restaurants are not open for lunch, It is advisable to check individual opening hours. and during the peak season it is advisable to book in advance. Whatever the season we recommend you always book in advance for Sunday lunch.

Tip: Zoom in on the map to the town or area where you are headed for to see our recommended eating places.

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Al Colosseo Ceglie Messapica Via Roma, Ceglie Messapica Small restaurant (20 - 25 covers), excellent service and very friendly. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Pasta is excellent
Al Fornello Da Ricci Ceglie Messapica Contrada Montevicolo, Ceglie Messapica, Puglia Long established, well-regarded place to eat in Puglia, perhaps a little more expensive than some. Family run since 1967. Lovely garden to dine in. Closed Monday evenings and Tuesday all day.
Cibus Ceglie Messapica Via Chianche di Scaranno 7, Ceglie Messapica, Puglia Restaurant with wine bar and conservatory. Impressive antipasti platter, well worth trying. Dishes firmly rooted in tradition and built on tried and tested culinary approaches. Family business. Closed on Tuesday, otherwise open for lunch and dinner.
Le Tre Grazie Galatina Via del Balzo 34, Galatina, LE, Puglia Wine-bar and restaurant, don't miss it. You will find it in a tiny cobbled street close to the cathedral. Friendly service (with visits more than a year apart Fiorenzo the manager still remembered us). All the menu items are descibed in full on the menu and the side dishes are included. Fiorenzo explained everything to us highlighting local specialities.
L'Incanto Gagliano del Capo Localitá Cioloa, Gagliano del Capo, LE, Puglia Bar / restaurant with terrace overlooking the sea and fabulous views. The restaurant serves only fish dishes which are made following Salento culinary traditions
Arabesque Gallipoli Riveria Armandao Diaz, Gallipoli, LE, Puglia Set on the walls of the old town, overlooking the Ionian sea. Friendly service, good food - mainly seafood and fish. Closed on Mondays, otherwise open for lunch and dinner.
La Puritate Gallipoli Via S. Ella, 18, Cittá Vecchia, Gallipoli, LE, Puglia Taking its name from its location, in the Puritate quarter of the old town, the name also reflects what's on offer - fresh, top quality fish, pure and simple. The fish is bought by the chef selected from the day's catch directly from the local fishermen. English spoken, helpful service. Open every day for lunch and dinner from June to September. Closed for the month of October, and on wednesdays for the rest of the year.
Scoglio delle Sirene Gallipoli Riveria Nazario Sauro, Gallipoli, LE, Puglia Superb setting on the walls of the old town. Excellent seafood, raw and cooked, and fresh fish. Watch out for the service charge for eating on the terrace!
Alle due Corte Lecce Corte dei Guigni 1, Lecce, Puglia Well known, internationally renowned, family run restaurant, specialising in the old Salentinian gastronomy, Closed on Sundays, at Easter and for 10 days in August.
Boccon Divino Lecce Via Libertini, 17, Lecce, Puglia Trattoria/Pizzeria with great anti-pasti, it's all too easy to fill up before you get to the next course!
Blu Notte Lecce Via Brancaccio,2, Lecce, Puglia Small restaurant with lovely vaulted ceilings, elegantly set out. Visitors to Villa Rosa had this to say: 'Elegant, superb fish and seafood, e.g tuna tartare, great service, excellent regional wine.' Closed on Mondays.
Corte dei Pandolfi Lecce Corte dei Pandolfi,3, Piazzetta Orsino, Lecce, Puglia Restaurant and enoteca, so you can eat and try the extensive wine list. Traditional cooking right in the historic centre of Lecce
Cucina Casareccia San Carlino Lecce Via Libertini, 22, Lecce, Puglia Trattoria serving traditional 'home-cooked' dishes. Speciality is Octopus with chopped arugula (rocket). Closed on Wednesdays and for the month of October.
Cucina Casareccia Le Zie Lecce Via Col. Costadira,19, Lecce, Puglia Experience eating as you would in a Leccese home in this homely trattoria serving traditional Leccese food. Closed Sunday evening and Mondays, otherwise open for lunch and dinner. Closed for holidays last week in August/first week in September. Reservations recommended.
Il Giardino Lecce Via Cesare Battisti, 10, Lecce, Puglia A lovely orange grove creates simple but elegant surroundings for this restaurant, perfect for a leisurely lunch or dinner by candlelight. Closed Sunday evenings and Monday.
Locanda del Bastione di San Giacomo Lecce Via de Simone, 28, Lecce, Puglia A stones throw from Castello Carlo V, an ideal place for lunch when visiting Lecce. Salentine and national gastronomic and traditional food is served. Excellent Italian and local Salentino wines are offered.
Locanda Rivoli Lecce Via Augusto Imperatore, 13, Lecce, Puglia Situated in the historical centre of Lecce. Lots of choices on the menu. Open for lunch and dinner.
Osteria San Martino Lecce Via Marco Aurelio, 10, Lecce, Puglia There is no menu but you will be offered a wide variety of local specialities at really reasonable prices. No-one speaks English so it's a great place to practice your Italian. It may not be the most glamorous restaurant in Lecce, but it is a great family owned place and the food never disappoints.
Volo Lecce Vico della Saponeo, 15, Lecce, Puglia In the heart of the historic centre of Lecce, not far from San Croce, this elegant restaurant is open every day for lunch and dinner. Traditional local dishes and fresh fish/seafood are on the menu. Excellent service.
Masseria Melcarne Lecce Prov.le Surbo - Torre Rinalda, Lecce, Puglia Situated in the heart of beautiful countryside just a few kilometres from Casalabate, the building dates back to the late 1500s or early 1600s. It is now a comfortable, quiet place dedicated to serving wholesome food, using products grown organically on the farm. We have had some really great meals here.
Bar Benny Lendinuso Via dell'Ostrica, Lendinuso, BR, Puglia Great fun on a Saturday evening (and sometimes on other evenings during the high season) with live music and dancing. Hit and miss on the food, basic menu, pizzas and a few other choices, but the dancing is great funt to watch even if you don't dance yourself. The locals take the dancing very seriously.
Il Botteghino Lendinuso Via dell'Ostrica, Lendinuso, BR, Puglia Our favourite local pizzeria/trattoria. Great antipasti, great pizza, the fish is good too but watch the price. Friendly service, family run, Stefano speaks english and has an amazing memory for faces. We love it here and those of our guests and friends that have eaten at Il Botteghino love it too.
Trattoria Mesapica Manduria Via Cordorna, 9, Manduria, Puglia Located in a 7th century palazzo, this is three in one - An Irish pub serving Guinness, sandwiches, snacks, salads and pizza; A trattoria serving typical Mediterranean cuisine, with home made pasta and fresh fish from Gallipoli, shrimp and seafood. The service is friendly and attentive; and, in the basement Cafe Leonardo hosts events and private parties.
Osteria del Vicoletto Mesagne Vico Quercia, Mesagne, Puglia A personal favourite, this fabulous little restaurant was recommended to us by locals.We keep going back, the food is so good. Ambience, food, service all excellent.
Il Connubio Mesagne Via Eugenio Santacessaria, 13-15, Mesagne, Puglia Another local recommendation, another gem. The husband and wife team greet you with a warm welcome. Great food, great wine, great ambience - don't miss it. Opne every day for lunch and dinner except Monday
La Locanda dei Messapi Mesagne Via Castello,14. Mesagne, Puglia Another great find in Mesagne ... lots of choice, traditional food, good wine.
Osteria Perricci Monopoli Via Orazio Comes, 1, Monopoli, BA. Puglia Another day out, another local recommendation, another hit. Fabulous trattoria serving "Cucina Casalinga Tipica" (typical home cooking), warm welcome, friendly service, great food and wine. Highly recommended. Google the Osteria Perricci and you will get lots of great reviews.
L'Antica Locanda Noci Via Spirito Santo, Noci, Puglia With a prize winning chef-owner (Good Cooking 2012 from the Italian Touring Club), this restaurant is another of our day trip discoveries. Located on the edge of the historic centre of Noci built with local stone giving a traditional ambiance this is the place to discover the flavours of Puglia. The menus are seasonal, carefully selected and use the best local products and traditional recipes.
Lo Scalo Novaglie Via Amerigo Vespucci, Marina di Novaglie, LE, Puglia It's the stunning setting that makes this a fabulous place for a long lazy lunch or a romantic dinner. Overlooking the Adriatic Coast with two sea view terraces, there is also a cozy lounge with fireplace, so if you are here out of season it is still worth a visit.
L'Antica Locanda Ostuni Largo Lanza, 17-20, Ostuni, BR, Puglia Visit la Cittá Bianca (the white city) and explore the historic centre. Lunch or dine here in a traditional restaurant, for some of the best steaks we have found in our restaurant exploration of Puglia
Taverna della Gelosia Ostuni Vicolo Tommaso Andriola, 26, Ostuni, BR, Puglia Fabulous outside setting, terraced with trees and shrubs in the middle of the dining area. Make sure you visit on a warm evening. Extensive menu, plenty to choose from - traditional recipes from Puglia and the Mediterranean.
Osteria del Tempo Perso Ostuni Via. G Tanzarella Vitale, 47, Ostuni, BR. Puglia Just a few metres from the Cathedral is the Osteria del Tempo Perso (lost time: and you will certainly lose an afternoon or an evening here). Serves authentic dishes respecting the culinary traditions of Ostuni and Puglia, This restaurant has received awards from some of the important restaurant guides.
Ristorante Porta Nova Ostuni Via Gaspare Petrarolo 28, Ostuni, BR, Puglia "Mostly fish and seafood, and very good elegant setting; attentive service. A multi-course tasting menu : the "degoustazione di antipasti" will give three slightly smaller versions of the chef's handiwork; well worth it. One drawback, the restaurant seems to be straining towards Michelin star food, and one main course was definitely more style than substance!". Thanks to Geoffrey Steel and John Aveyard for this restaurant report.
Vecchia Ostuni Ostuni Via Largo Lanza, 9, Ostuni, BR, Puglia This is a typical Pugliese restaurant where you will get a warm welcome. Several rooms connected by stone arches make a delightful setting to sample the cuisine of Puglia, The antipasti, all made from local products, provides an array of tempting dishes. The pastas too are excellent as is the mixed grill of fish. The house wine, both red and white, is very good. Closed on Tuesdays.
da Sergio Otranto Corso Garibaldi, 98, Otranto, LE, Puglia Guest Review : "Supposedly Otranto's best fish restaurant, and I was a little disappointed on the whole, but the food was good. Next time I'd be inclined to try Vecchio Otranto. It looks more elegant."
Vecchio Otranto Otranto Corso Garibaldi, 98, Otranto, LE, Puglia Set in the tiny streets of Otranto's Centro Storico, mixed reviews. Let us know what you think.
Osteria Lo Sturno Parabita Via Immacolata, 2, Parabita, LE, Puglia This is a good choice if you want to eat where the locals eat. It's situated in a stone cellar in the historical centre of Parabita, a small town about 15 minutes inland from Gallipoli. Recommended by friends who say everything they have tried here tastes great, but the meatballs in sauce (polpette al sugo) seems to be the signature dish. Arrive early for lunch as after 1pm it fills up with local business people.
Ristorante Masirah San Cesario Via Dante Alighieri, 59, San Cesario di Lecce, LE, Puglia Cucina casareccia (home cooking), typical Salentine recipes. Open in the evenings and for Sunday lunch. Reservations required for Sunday lunch
Pizzeria da Peppino San Donaci Via Pastrengo, 29, 72025 San Donaci, BR, Puglia Family run pizzeria - excellent pizza, the meat dishes are great as well. Very friendly, Peppino's son speaks a little English.
Big Ben San Pietro Vernotico via Principe Armedeo, San Pietro Vernotico, BR, Puglia Pizzereia - friendly service
Core a Core San Pietro Vernotico via Cellino, 123, San Pietro Vernotico, BR, Puglia Trattoria / Pizzeria serving Neapolitan cuisine and pizzas (thick crust). Antipasti is excellent. Bookings are recommended as this pizzeria is very popular with the locals and is always crowded.
New Safari San Pietro Vernotico 159, Via Brindisi, San Pietro Vernotico, BR, Puglia Pizzeria / Restaurant - the pizzas are very good. Closed on Wednesdays.
Gnam Santa Maria di Leuca Lungomare C. Columbo, Santa Maria di Leuca, LE, Puglia A popular spot for pizza at the bottom of Italy's "heel". The pizzas here are twice the size of normal ones, but they will put two different toppings on if you are sharing and can't agree what you want. Tables are out doors, on a flight of stairs, opposite the seafront.
Tatanka, Santa Maria di Leuca Santa Maria di Leuca Litoranea Leuca-Gallipoli, Santa Maria di Leuca, LE, Puglia Another place with an amazing sea view. Small menu but everything is cooked well and tastes great. The rocks opposite are a great place for a swim, if you don't mind deep water. Daredevils jump from the cliffs into the sea, and there is a cave you can swim into. Just make sure you go swimming before lunch as you will be too full afterwards.
Antica Venere Squinzano Via Bottegha Nuova, 66, Squinzano, LE, Puglia Vaulted ceilings, traditional food, friendly welcome.
Il Caminetto Squinzano Via Matteotti, 18, Squinzano, LE, Puglia Restaurant/Pizzeria. Good antipasti, great pizzas. Closed on Tuesday.
Li Manchi Squinzano Via per Casalabate, km 2 - Contrada Manchi, Squinzano, LE, Puglia In the olive groves between Squinzano and Casalabate. Friendly welcome, nice location, vaulted ceilings. Good pizzas, good antipasti.
La Mattra Squinzano Via Frassaniti, 15, Squinzano, LE, Puglia Small intimate restaurant, recently renovated, lovely vaulted ceilings, serving traditional Puglia cuisine. Excellent quality, friendly service. Speciality and organic beers available. typical Salento antipasti and meats cooked on volcanic rock. Credit cards accepted. There is also an adjacent wine bar often with live entertainment.
Masseria Pisciani Torchiarolo Contrada Pisciani, Torchiarolo, BR, Puglia Located in the olive groves on the outskirts of Torchiarolo, a lovingly restored masseria, opened in April 2006. Fantastic antipasti and desserts. We make a meal out of just the antipasti and dessert. Be aware that if you order this way you will be served every antipasto they make, possibly more than you can eat! Minimum 4 people for the antipasti feast. Eat in the fabulous restaurant or al fresco. There is also an outside Pizzeria. Make sure you ask for the menu and wine list before ordering and don't be fobbed off or you might end up with a very expensive bill.
Nonna Lisa Torchiarolo Via Principessa Elena, 8, Torchiarolo, BR, Puglia Great antipasti and loads of it. Typical, traditional cooking, lovely setting with vaulted ceilings. Friendly service. Al-fresco dining upstairs on the roof terrace. Closed on Mondays. Open 8pm to late.
Zona Fao.37 Torchiarolo Via Umberto, 58, Torchiarolo, BR, Puglia Regular visitors will remember Gio-Stefs, once our favourite place to eat in Torchiarolo but closed since 2011. Claudio and Giovanna are back at restaurant Zona Fao.37. The food, traditional Pugliese Cucina Casa Reccia, is as good as ever as is the wine and the service is friendly and warm. Claudio likes to practice his English and French language skills.
I Minuti Piacere Acaya Largo Castello, 16, Acaya, Vernole, Puglia Located in the square behind the 16th century castle, serving typical Pugliese cuisine, re-kindling the flavours and aromas of traditional Lecce. The menu has lots of speciality meat and fish dishes starting with the antipasti right the way through to the homemade desserts.
Naos Ugento Via Giannuzzi Capitano Ugo, 90, Ugento, LE, Puglia Naos is a great place to sample Salentine cooking at its heartiest. Worth trying are the home-made arancini, the ceceri and tria (hand made pasta in a chickpea sauce) and the penne with salmon. Portions are generous and many dishes are made with home-grown ingredients.
Il Casolare dei Capricci Salentino San Michele Salentino via Diaz, 30, San Michele Salentino, BR, Puglia Carnivore heaven. Get the best steaks and other meats here. Pick your meat choice, tell the chef how you want it cooked and sit back and enjoy. Excellent potato chips, not your usual french fries.
Bar Zoky Torre San Gennaro via del libeccio, Torre San Gennaro, Puglia Seaside bar, seafood menu at lunchtime, booking recommended
Bar Betty Brindisi Viale Regina Margherita, 6, Brindisi, Puglia Cafe Bar / Geletaria / Ristorante. Whether you simply want to relax at the edge of the harbour with coffe and cake, a beer or a glass of wine, or prefer to take lunch or dinner Bar Betty can accomodate all your needs. Extended and refurbished this year – this is a great place to visit for drinks, snacks or a full meal. The pasticceria and geletaria are absolutely wonderful Specialities : Pizzas, pasta, swordfish, typical local fare! Cakes and Icecream are the best
Don Angus Steak House Brindisi Via Guerrieri, 19, Brindisi, Puglia Fabulous steaks and other meats, make your choice from the chill cabinet and tell the chef how you like it cooked. Enjoy! The mini meatballs served as complementary antipasto are delicious.
I Fratelli la Bufala Brindisi Viale Regina Margherita, 36, Brindisi, Puglia Part of an international chain serving surprisingly good food, mainly based on buffalo meat. Anything from meatballs (with curry sauce and rice) as anti-pasto to burgers. A different set menu every day using whatever is in season, the set menu is very reasonably priced. Pizzas on the menu too and available at lunchtime as well. The house red is good.
Restaurant Penny Brindisi Via San Francesco, Brindisi, Puglia Great little restaurant tucked up just off the corner of Piazza Vittoria Emanuele 11, lots of choices on the menu and the wine list is extensive. Not surprising as this is also an enoteca (wine emporium). Tables on the pavement outside (our preferred choice), inside beautiful setting with arched ceilings. Closed on Monday, bookings welcome, credit cards taken.
Skippers Restaurant - Pizzeria Brindisi Via Dogana 2, Brindisi, Puglia Just behind Bar Betty, two steps away from the seafront, you will find Skippers, a small friendly ristorante-pizzeria.Sharing the same kitchens as Bar Betty, Skippers provides more intimate dining in a small restaurant with lovely vaulted ceilings. Pizza available at lunchtime as well as in the evening.
Buena Vista Brindisi Via Colonne, 72100 Brindisi, Puglia Located by the column marking the end of the Apulian way with stunning views over Brindisi harbour from the terrace, lots of choice on the menu, great ambience.
Da Luigi il Capitano Brindisi Zara 9, Brindisi, Puglia Just before the naval base at the end of Viale Regina Margherita. Good antipasti, fresh fish and seafood.
La Locanda ti li Spilusi Brindisi Contrada Restinco, 4, Brindisi, Puglia Excellent local food and antipasti. Warm, convivial atmosphere, very popular with the locals.
Marc Aurelio Brindisi Via Ferrante Fornari 26, Brindisi, Puglia Restaurant and Seafood bar.
Trattoria Pantagrule Brindisi Via Salita di Ripalta 1, Brindisi, Puglia A small restaurant frequented by locals who recommend the seafood. Described as "slow food (movement) with fair prices", serving local cuisine with outside seating.
Il Giardino Brindisi Via Tarantini 14-18, Brindisi, Puglia Nice setting, good food - garden setting
La Pergola Santa Maria al Bagno Piazza Nardò 5, Santa Maria al Bagno Great find ... read the review
L'Olmo Bello Alberobello Via Indipendenza, 33, Alberobello, Puglia Close to the trulli centre of Alberobello, this restaurant/pizzeria is a restored farmhouse, surrounded by gardens and full of local character.
Miseriá & Nobilita Alberobello Piazza del Poplo 28/29, Alberobello, Puglia A converted "aristocratic home" rescued from decline and restored, now a popular spot with the "young and beautiful". The downstairs dining room provides calm surroundings where the emphasis is on the food and wine. Open all day from breakfast through to dinner.
Terminal Alberobello Via Indipendenza,4, Alberobello Puglia Restaurant / Pizzeria right next to the car park as you arrive in Alberobello from the south. We've had some pleasant lunches here.
Bahia Negra Casalabate Via Lungomare Nord, Casalabate, LE, Puglia Open during the main season for lunch and dinner, pizzas only the evening. Outside the season open Saturday/Sunday, but check! Lovely setting, good food friendly service.
Hotel Perla Casalabate Via Lungomare Nord, Casalabate, LE, Puglia Open all the year round, the hotel restaurant, La Tramuntana, has received mixed reviews. There is a separate pizzeria, La Mantagnata.
La Badessa Casalabate S.p. Squinzano-Casalabate, Km6, 73100 Squinzano, Lecce, Italy Agriturismo with restaurant open to the general public. Open evenings onlyl
Parco degli Ulivi Casalabate Via Litoranea Nord, 10, Casalabate, LE, Puglia Open all the year round. Quite often there is music and dancing which can be great fun. Hosts lots of theme nights.
Tenuta Monacelli Casalabate Via Giacomo Monticelli, localitá Cerrate, Casalabate, LE, Puglia Beautifully restored masseria (large farmhouse, more like a mansion!) situated in a working estate this is a fabulous place for a special occasion. Open all the year round for lunch and dinner, the menu is limited in August, but there is a good selection to choose from during the rest of the year.
Zia Anna Campo di Mare Via Lungomare, Campo di Mare, BR, Puglia A trattoria adjacent to a butchers shop, Anna's husband runs the butchers and Anna is (very much) in charge of the restaurant. You need to be a carnivore to enjoy this one. Choose your meat and it will be cooked to your liking. You can also get hamburgers, kebabs etc here for the barbecue.
Retro Castrignano del Capo Via X1 Febbraio, 2, Castrignanodel Capo, LE, Puglia Whether you eat in the outside courtyard or the vaulted dining room a meal at Casa Retro never disappoints. This is one of those places without a menu, but whatever Salvatore (the chef and owner) offers you will taste great. There is a wide selection of wines and some delicious cakes and biscuits to sample. English is spoken.