We picked up a calling card for the Trattoria il Refugio Della Buona Stella, checked it out on TA, and decided to try it. We are glad we went ... Local cuisine appears to be engine ... But we have eaten better elsewhere in Lecce.
The physical plant is charming to say the least. The high arched ceilings, typical of Lecce, have been preserved wonderfully, and the tables beneath the arches only add to the comfortable feel. We were the first customers to arrive on a Monday evening, and had the full charm of the solo waitress. Our combined mixture of English, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese seemed to work well ... We obtained a full tour of the menu. Our choice turned out to be the cheese plate as a starter (great!), the fava bean and turnip green first plate (probably very authentic, but not a hit with us), and the swordfish as a second plate.
Had we stopped with just the cheese plate we would have left enchanted. Neither of us could get our taste buds around the turnip greens, and the swordfish was unexpectedly "fishy" ... to the point we didn't finish because its freshness was suspect. We finished with the spumoni ... suspecting it came to the restaurant pre-prepared in a cellophane bag.
Our bottom line: lovely venue, friendly and attentive service, great menu of local dishes ... but the execution didn't live up to the rest. We would visit again, but be more selective what we ordered.
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