We’re in Basilicata, an Italian region too often underestimated, but characterized by deep and discrete beauty. Trattoria La Locandiera is in the small town of Bernalda, steps away from the Matera Sassi and from the Dolomiti Lucane. In this southern town, known for its connection to Italian-American Director Francis Ford Coppola, women have been passing down recipes from grandma to mother and mother to daughter. Clara and Maria Gallotta are the masters of this historic culinary larder, located in the small town castled on the hill that dominates the Salento Valley, the Ionio beaches, and the nearby Metaponto, in a part of Southern Italy whose evocative landscapes and human warmth make it difficult to forget.
This is a matriarchal trattoria, only interrupted by the only man on staff, Francesco, Maria’s son, sommelier and manager. An historic sign leads to a homey, traditional atmosphere, with rustic furniture and tables covered by checkered tablecloths. Guests can enjoy delicious dishes from the Basilicata tradition, from the farmers’ tradition, prepared with local ingredients. From crispy peppers to horsemeat and goat, from vegetables to fish: each course pays homage to the generous land of Basilicata and to local recipes with a modern spin. A Trattoria with a capital T, which meets all the criteria of a Trattoria: family owned, simple and seasonal cuisine, carefully curated ingredients, close link to the land, welcoming atmosphere, hospitality, good prices and an excellent wine list with a choice of around 700 bottles.
La Locandiera goes beyond a traditional Trattoria, because besides meeting all the criteria of the category, it knows how to renovate without losing its identity. Let yourself be tempted by the several antipasto tastings: zucchini and pecorino frittata, potatoes with dried tomatoes and peppers flakes, fried pumpkin flowers stuffed with salami and smoked provola, ciambot (a traditional southern vegetables stew – here revised with an addition of eggs). As for the first course, you can’t miss tripolina pasta with bread crumbs and crispy pepper flakes and Basilicata’s crapiata (vegetable soup with bread crumbs).
You can’t leave without trying, as second course, horse chops cooked in a terracotta pot, veal meatballs prepared with eggs, bread and canestrato cheese in tomato sauce. And of course the excellent homemade desserts to conclude the tasty experience: figs stuffed with almonds in cooked wine, apple cake with plum jam, grilled eggplant and chocolate.
TRATTORIA LA LOCANDIERA
Corso Umberto I 194
closed on Tuesdays (always open in July, August, September and December)