This is truly one of those legendary places in Italy--hard to find, but tremendous to experience. The country is full of them, for those willing to make a bit of effort (use your GPS if you have one). Located at the end of a long dirt road off the main road (go slowly, as you are bound to miss the turnoff--if you have reached Sibari, you have gone too far), this place will reward the intrepid traveller with tasty delights.
I have been going here for the past 25 years, and have tracked its expansion from a small shack on the beach (with sand!) to a large bustling restaurant. What has stayed constant is the quality, seafood based meals at a reasonable cost. The meals are simple, the seafood fresh, and the wine is reasonably priced (try the Calabrian wines and you cannot go wrong). During the day, it is a busy lido, and is unusual for its sand beach (most of the places around the Ionian have rocky beaches), so you can even go for a beach day and have lunch.
Starting with a mixed seafood platter for the table is a good idea. I always have linguine alle vongole (clams) and ask to add some tomatoes, and you can also split a mixed seafood grill or fried mix with someone. That is plenty of food. Count on spending about 30-40 euros per person, which is pretty good for fresh seafood. Pay in cash and ask for a discount.
They also have pizza, which looks good, but I have never had one, as the seafood is why I go.
Given the hidden location, the crowd is a bit of a strange, but refreshing mixture of locals (my cousins live close by) and foreigners from the nearby campground and hotels.
Service can at times be spotty, especially in the height of August, as this is a very popular place, but just sit back and enjoy the experience. Have another bottle of wine. After the meal, take a little stroll along the beach, listen to the water lapping the shore and look up at the incredible canopy of stars. Take a light sweater, as the open sea can make it a bit cooler than you think. Beware of the mosquitoes, as the woods close by give them shelter, so wear long pants and long sleeves.
I look forward to next summer and my 3 or 4 meals at Aurora.
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