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Ostuni: Il Frantoio

SS 16 km 874 , Phone: 0831.330276

Closing day: Call--dinner is only offered on certain nights

Reviewed by: Kim from NJ, review #1349

When: 2005

A wonderful agriturismo -- on certain nights they serve dinner to their guests and 20 people from outside. Don't miss it! Call for reservations.

Directions: Il Frantoio is on the old SS16 north of Ostuni, from the SS379, take the SS10 towards Montalbano, make a left on the SS16. Il Frantoio will be on your right about 5km up the road.

Courtyard at Il Frantoio, photo by Kim Riemann

All I can say is if you're in the area, go!!

Rosalba prepares a Puglian feast roughly every other night (but rarely on Sundays) for the guests of Il Frantoio. However, if you're in the area, they do have twenty or so spots for people from outside the establishment -- but you must call ahead of time to find date and time (usually 8:30). It costs about €45 per person and this includes your ten to twelve course meal, consisting of: a few different antipasti, pasta, some sort of meat dish, salad, and dessert, two different wines (changing based upon the course) and an after dinner liqueur.

Around 8:30, Armondo summons everyone to dinner by ringing a bell outside the dining room. (In the summer, they serve these meals in the courtyard, which must be beautiful, but since we still had cool evenings, we dined inside.) At the doorway, Angela, dressed in full Puglian folk garb, greets us and leads us to our table, marked with a small place-card.

The wine is "free pour, drink all you want, they’ll bring more." Of course, we do. We start with a rosè wine but later in the evening, Armondo switches us to a big Puglian red. The red wine offered changes each evening. Once everyone is settled and the wine is poured, the antipasti courses come out one at a time. There’s no menu. Rosalba cooks in the kitchen during the day and you enjoy what she makes in the evening. One of the waitresses brings the dish, tells you what it is in Italian and then Armondo stops by and explains the preparation of the dish in English (or whatever language happens to be spoken at your table), and highlights whichever local organic olive oil Rosalba used in the dish’s preparation. This occurs throughout the meal.

At the end of the meal, we’re given the choice of one of Il Frantoio’s thirty-five or so homemade liqueurs. We ate there four times during our stay plus were offered the liqueur on nights we dined elsewhere, upon our return to Il Frantoio. I enjoyed mandarin, all citrus, orange blossom, mulberry and bitter almond. I think my favorite was mulberry. Chris enjoyed lemon, finocchio (fennel), lauren, and something else but we can't remember which. Lauren is his favorite.

At the end of the evening Armondo returns one last time with a copy of the menu for the evening. I could post all four menus but it's a lot to enter and you'll just have to trust me, this is a three star establishment (i.e., worth making a special trip in order to dine here).

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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