Rating: 7 / 10
Sunday's can be a bitch to get a good meal in Italy. More often than not people are at home enjoying lavish family feasts while the male population gazes over their shoulder at the football. A handful of restaurants are open, but they are as usual closed between 3pm-7pm.
After having spent the whole day in the car from Matera, via an exceptional Buffalo Mozzarella farm near Eboli and winding adventures in the mountains, we were downright famished. Pulling into Salerno for the first time, I was panic-stricken scrolling through google reviews.
Five of the top places I wanted to eat were all closed, so we ended up basing our choice on one very important factor: Opening times.
I'll admit, I did a slight recoil walking in and seeing the open kitchen, the name and the overall hipster vibe, however one thing I learned long ago is that in Italy, even an average meal is far beyond anything you'll generally get in your home country. These locals are fussy and if you don't deliver, you'll be closed in a week.
First out came a plant of bruschetta. Both flavours were excellent, crunchy, fresh, tart and savoury. Nothing is more sacred than awakening your palate with a delicious starter that just belies your belief the chef will not let you down when the mains come.
And he didnt'.
Look, let's not overreact at the sight of a tacky pasta-served-in-a-pan, which is sure to get some instagram babies swooning, the proof is always in the pudding. The Amatriciana with Guanciale Di Norcia was a decadent dance. Sure, it wasn't the greatest plate of pasta I've eaten, but after a day spent in the passenger seat it was high time for some proper food. The salt levels were on point, the sauce was more a pureed type but it clung to the pasta and coated it meticulously. The sprinkling of pecorino and crispy chunks of pork jowl danced on your tongue.
I want to live in a country where you can turn off the autostrada on a Sunday afternoon, in a random town, chance upon a little pasta restaurant and get treated to food of this quality.
Italy is not a country, it is a love affair with life itself.
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Tastes are subjective, so take everything with a pinch of salty tears"