michelin star restaurants abruzzo

Al Metrò restaurant: a creative take on Abruzzese traditions

Hearty traditional dishes and exaggerated portions in rural family-run restaurants, – Abruzzo does these two very well. However, there is a fair share of sophisticated Michelin star eateries in the region as well. So when you feel like taking a break from the gargantuan pasta loads on your plate and long for something a bit more sophisticated yet still in line with local traditions, head to Al Metrò, one Michelin star restaurant in San Salvo. I’ve had lunch there recently and what a meal it was!

michelin star restaurants abruzzo

Brothers Nicola and Antonio Fossaceca turned what used to be a pastry shop owned by their parents into a sleek restaurant with minimalistic décor and innovative menu. Nicola, the chef, creates exquisite dishes using local ingredients with a flair. In 2012, when he was only 29, Al Metrò received one Michelin star, a well-deserved recognition of the chef’s culinary talent.

michelin star restaurants abruzzo

Nicola is very fond of smaller, less popular fish rarely seen on the menu of gourmet restaurants. One of his signature dishes is Triglia in scapece espresso, deep-fried red mullet with a sweet-and-sour dressing of honey and vinegar. It is light, crispy and elegant, which you can hardly expect from “poor man’s” fish.

michelin star restaurants abruzzo

What I really like about Nicola’s dishes is the way he skilfully mixes seafood with meat, showcasing “mare” and “montagna” of the region. The menu features such masterpieces as seaweed gnocchi and lupine beans (Gnocchi Verdi di Lattuga di Mare e Lupini), mantis shrimps with chicory (Cicoria e Cicale di Mare), cold soup with ricotta, celery and oysters (Zuppa Fredda di Ricotta Ostrica e Sedano). The risotto with green beans, pear and baby squid that I had was another great example of his mastery. The rice topped with crispy squid, streaks of pancetta and sprinkled with sea lettuce. The pieces of pear added a wonderful sweet note while sharp herby olive oil rounded off this unusual ensemble. Despite the elaborate looks, the underlying philosophy of Nicola’s dishes is simplicity.

michelin star restaurants abruzzo

Antonio Fossaceca is the sommelier and he knows exactly what wine to recommend to complement the best flavours of Nicola’s creations. He served a bottle of exquisite Pecorino from Azienda Agricola Faraone (head to their website, they sell wine online!), which was a wonderful discovery and became one of my favourite local wines since.

michelin star restaurants abruzzo

The sweet offering was Il Nostro Parozzo Abruzzese, a chef’s take on the traditional dessert. Delicate sweetened ricotta sprinkled with chocolate shavings was a great final chord for this special meal.

Prices at Al Metrò are kind on the pocket. They range from €16 to €30 (for the most expensive dish, the brodetto fish soup). If you are in a small group, you can order a 6- or 8-course menu for €60 and €80 respectively.


Osterie with slow food philosophy in Abruzzo

Seven osterie in Abruzzo have received the prestigious “snail” in the latest edition of the Slow Food publication “Osterie d’Italia 2016”.  The symbol always guarantees the quality of food served and means that the osterie share the Slow Food philosophy, preserve local culinary traditions and support small-scale farmers.

Although osterie in Italy have changed in the last decades with its emphasis moving towards food, most of the time the name means a simple eatery with a short menu of local specialties. The osterie in Abruzzo that received the prestigious snail in the Slow Food publication certainly demonstrate the essence of the region in the traditional dishes that they serve.


Zenobi, Colonnella, Teramo

Part of a working farm that produces wine, olive oil, vegetables, Zenobi serves some rare dishes typical of the Val Vibrata area that are on a brink of extinction: ceppe pasta with porcini or meat sauce and goat stew Neretese style (capra alla Neretese).

Borgo Spoltino, Mosciano Sant’Angelo, Teramo

Although it is called a restaurant, the essence of Borgo Spoltino is that of an osteria that offers a small range of seasonal local dishes and has its own vegetable garden.

Sapori di Campagna, Ofena, L’Aquila

Farm, agriturismo and restaurant, Sapori di Campagna is the place to see and taste the best of Abruzzo. Try the lamb from the nearby pastures of the Gran Sasso, pasta chitarra with red Sulmona garlic and mousse with local ricotta cheese.

pastaFont’Artana, Picciano, Pescara

This osteria serves excellent gnocchi with nettle and pecorino cheese, as well as such rare dishes as cif’e ciaf’ and fracchiata.

Taverna de li Caldora, Pacentro, L’Aquila

This taverna has become a must-stop for foodies. Here you can enjoy such a rare dish as pecora al cotturo, pasta with local truffles and the traditional pizza dolce cake.

Taverna 58, Pescara

More sophisticated than your average simple osteria, Taverna 58 has been serving excellent traditional fare since 1980.

Vecchia Marina, Roseto degli Abruzzi, Teramo

Vecchia Marina (Lungomare Trento, 37 ) is part of a hotel but that doesn’t mean bad food as many would expect. In fact, it is known as one of the best fish restaurants in the region. Do not miss the local fish soup guazzetto alla rosetana.

Photos by Zenobi, Font’Artana