Set on the winding, narrow main street running through Pizzo in Calabria, La Lampara is an unassuming delight of a place to eat.
With a whiteboard setting out the latest menu based on the day's catch, you cannot get fresher seafood than this. The service is personal too, with the chef delivering the dish to you himself and coming to each table later in the evening to check whether it is to his guests' liking. It is.
The food is superb. We each chose lampuga alla pizzaola -a local, white fish which has been grilled, then placed in a sauce of tomato, basil, garlic and olives to marinade and cook further. The dish was served at our table in the pan in which it had been cooked with each of the flavours being distinct, yet blended well. (See attached photo.)
We also ordered a side salad and patatine frites, but these were usual and unnecessary. Our neighbouring tables were enjoying several other seafood delights, with the moules looking particularly good.
On arrival at La Lampara it was interesting to note that the full tables were at the back of the restaurant, with those by the door being empty. We soon realised why, with those by the open door being exposed to the fumes of vehicles driving past. Another red flag, though it could have been down to personal choice, was the poor quality of the bottle ordered from a very limited wine list.
I would highly recommend you try this restaurant if you are in Calabria, not just Pizzo. The food was very well cooked and fresh, the service relaxed, yet friendly and personal and the ambience created by the decoration within the restaurant was extremely enjoyable (especially so for someone who enjoys the outdoor eating experince offered by a large number of trattoria in Calabria).
There are clearly nuances which could be addressed at La Lampara, but many of these may be down to individual taste and the main point to convey here is that this restaurant has the basics spot on, which means that I will definitely be returning.