What a find! La Tana had the best food that I ate in Puglia in two weeks – by a county mile. It blew me away! The space has a lovely ambience and the floor staff were exceptionally pleasant. It was full of locals, always a good sign. I was having some difficulty in translating the menu, so the English speaking chef came to my rescue.
After I listed my likes and dislikes, the chef suggested the piatto di tipita del nostro territorio (7 euro), followed by the ravioli of ricotta and scamorza with a tomato sauce (11 euro). A bowl of taralli and 7 slices of warm, house made bread were served straight away.
The first course was enormous and deliciously addictive – lightly battered fritters of zuccini, melanzane, cauliflower and ricotta rolled in pancetta; a warm olive and onion tart with light, crisp pastry; a dozen tiny green olives, three cheeses: buffalo mozzarella, and I think, another mozzarella and a sharp local cheese called veccino; two varieties of salumi, and a little rocket. To be honest, I ate almost everything and it was more than enough for a meal in itself.
The ravioli were to die for – flavoursome, light, perfectly al dente, again an extremely generous serving, and accompanied by a fresh crunchy salad of fennel, carrot, rocket and radish. I couldn’t do it justice.
And then there appeared a complementary plate of pistachio biscotti and toffee! It was all too much.
The bill, with two glasses of primitivo, mineral water and coperto, was 25.5 euro.
And the lovely chef popped out to make sure that I was happy – I was ecstatic!
I returned again for lunch the following day. Service was again warm and friendly. The antipasto was a must – again. This time the olives were replaced with a bowl of warm polpette (cheese and polenta I think) in tomato sauce.
I asked if veal and mushrooms was available; it wasn’t listed on the menu. After consulting with the chef – not a problem! Three thick slices of veal topped with funghi with a delicious sauce, and sprinkled with a little parsley. Without any doubt, this was the most tender, flavoursome, melt in the mouth veal I have ever tasted. Again, the serving was most generous and I was unable to finish everything.
The delightful head waitress insisted on providing a plate of almond biscotti and toffee.
The bill was 26.5 euro – ridiculously cheap for such quality food, which put every restaurant in which I dined in other locations to shame.
The chef is Nicola Colucci (I think). The address is Via Mascagni 2/4/6.
This restaurant surely deserves to be ranked as no. 1 or 2 on Tripadvisor in Martina Franca.
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