You won't find many dining establishments in Ascoli that move far from a traditional menu, so we were glad to see that Ristorante Zunica 1880 (Civitella del Tronto) had established an outpost here. The parent restaurant is molto particulare, so we were interested in seeing where the Marche branch would be heading.
Marca Zunica is located in the Palazzo Guiderocchi hotel, but the two entities seem to operate independently. The restaurant occupies an interior groundfloor space with whitewashed arched walls and ceilings and tasteful art. The closed-in aspects of the space, then, suggests that it would be optimal in the cooler months.
The menu here sets out in somewhat different directions than the parent. Although there are callbacks to a traditional menu, the approach here is perhaps more whimsical. I was disappointed that the "Pasta e Fagioli 2.0" -- involving borlotti beans and kataifi threads -- was not available. The clear standouts in what we ordered were the smoked salmon -- clearly produced in house -- and the fried rabbit loin (coated in almonds, fried, and topped with bits of olive and served with a carrot swoosh). I've never eaten anything like the latter; it was truly superb. I was disappointed not to find a selection of contorni on the menu to accompany it. The lavender pannacotta dessert was full of flavor, but was perhaps a bit too gelatinous for my taste. On the other hand, the table breads (fatta in casa) were outstanding, and the avocado and artichoke amuse bouche was very welcome (first time we've seen avocado used in Italy).
The wine list was not as voluminous as that at the parent restaurant, but we were able to find a nice bottle for a reasonable price.
Note that the portion sizes here are not huge. You could quite possible entertain an antipasto, a primo, and a secondo without ordering too much. Whether that would be too heavy for your wallet is a different question. Bottom line, the prices here are at least 30% higher than at most Ascoli restaurants. I think that for a special occasion, it's worth stepping out to try something new and a bit different.
The staff at Marca Zunica has not yet developed the courteous but informal and engaging style of the folks who operate the parent restaurant. I hope that will develop over time.
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