We only popped in to make a reservation for Trullo Solari guests. But we were seduced by the beautifully serene interior and calm, welcoming service so that we decided to stay and eat. Just to check that the quality was up to scratch, you understand. Osteria Gia Sotto L’Arco is indeed a treat, somewhere to reward yourselves – and hey, we’ve had a busy summer. Greeted by Teodosio, the owner and maitre d’, we felt like we were old friends. The grandson of the original owners, he has created a haven of culinary bliss, along with his wife Teresa who runs the kitchen. The restaurant overlooks the main piazza of Carovigno, which is known for its flag-waving ceremonies and not its disposable income. The fact that the restaurant survives in these turbulent times is testimony to its excellence, drawing diners from all over the region. As does its Michelin star.
We love Puglian food, obviously. When we first moved here we were concerned that the amount of restaurants serving Cucina Tipica would become dull, but seven years on I’m still not tired of it. But when I find a menu that successfully tweaks the traditional norm, I love it even more. Mackerel kebabs with a ginger marinade made me want to eat mackerel every day. Keith’s secondi of baby pork chops glazed in blackberry moved our pig-keeping ambitions way up the list. You forget that ingredients can taste that good, if in fact you ever knew. We passed on dessert, but our friends’ cannolli looked sublime. With a couple of bottles of delicious Fiano, we were more than content, and the bill was reasonable enough for us to determine to treat ourselves more often.