Some days – the ones when I am not pretending to work – Jack and I get in the car for rides to nowhere special. We simply drive and stare. We have visited and lived in Italy for more years than I will admit to and the views still enthrall us. Patchwork green hills frame the blue sky. My favorite nowhere special drives have the sea on one side of the road and the hills on the other. One day, we saw a sign that said Porto Vasto and thought – what the heck lets check out the port. We veered off the highway and started bumping down one of Italy’s many pot hole riddled roads. I think it was the bumping that got our tummy’s gurgling for food. Stop! I screamed. What! Jack screamed. Look there is a sign for a restaurant – Il Corsaro della Baia Azzurra. Pirate by the blue bay???? Ahoy matey we found a place to eat. We made the 90 degree turn and slowly crept down the narrow lane. We approached a large white house that seemed perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea. Jack and I stared at each other. There was no sign of life – and certainly no sign that said “Good Eats, Eat Here.” What the hell, we are adventurous. As I started to open the car door, Woody Allen with a Jerry Garcia haircut burst from the house, helped me open my door and hugged me like I was his long lost Auntie Midge. We were whisked into the house and a smiling gracious woman came out of the kitchen wiped her hands on a mapine and gave us hello kisses.
Where are we? I thought the first time we went. Where are the cameras? Is this my closeup? Antonello and his wife Grazia are the owners, front of house, cooks and bottle washers of what has become our absolute favorite seafood restaurant. The interior is adorable. The walls were festooned with portraits of press clips of a man who kind of looked like our host. Further investigation revealed that Antonello’s dad, Claudio Crisci, was a vibrant entertainer who started the restaurant with his wife. It has always been a two person operation committed to slow fresh food. The tables faced a wall of windows with a stellar view of the sea. Rather than sit, we were taken on a short tour of the veranda that overlooks the Adriatic ocean. Talk about view! We would just come for the view but the food! The scents of the sea wafted over us and we remembered we were starving. We only chose courses from the sea and all were prepared perfectly. How can one woman alone in the kitchen turn out such great stuff? Now that we are five times a year regulars, I can tell you that it is a wee bit more than eating in Pontelandolfo but worth it. Our bill is usually around €100 but we spend hours drinking two bottles of wine, eating seafood antipasti served in multiple courses and a grilled fish entré that would feed a small family.
I could show you pictures of the food and talk about each course, but you will only get jealous and race to the refrigerator to angrily discover you don’t have any miniature clams opened in white wine, or octopus sautéed with parsley and garlic in the most fragrant of local olive oils and be frustrated because you can’t find langoustine split and grilled in your grandmother’s clay baking dish. So, I won’t tell you what we had. But please watch the video!
IT takes us an hour and a half to get there but ahhhhh – seafood by the sea with antics by our host. Who could ask for a better way to spend the day. “Ristorante Tipico, Il Corsaro della Baia Azzurra is located at Via Osca, 51 in Porto Di Vasto. Call them at 0873.310.1113