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Belvedere/Diamante: Saluti da Belvedere

Via Piano la Donna, Belvedere (Cosenza) , Phone: 0985-88456

Reviewed by: Hanan from Israel, review #166

When: 2002

Excellent restaurant on the coast that specializes in seafood.

Directions: The restaurant and its private beach are located just off the SS18 Superstrada exit south of Diamante, on the northern Calabrian coast, an area which apparently swarms with Italian holidaymakers in July and August.

"You have to try hard to find a restaurant around here that isn’t good," said the English gent, sitting with his wife and another couple on the seaside terrace of Saluti de Belvedere. We didn’t get a chance to test his thesis on our brief visit to the area, but think it would be difficult indeed to find a place better than Saluti da Belvedere itself.

As you’d expect from its location, Saluti da Belvedere specializes in seafood, starting with antipasti that seemed, on someone else’s table, to be fresh from the adjacent Tyherranean Sea. Our primi were just as nautical: Sara’s Tagliaterre Giallamare were in a sauce whose main ingredients, in addition to bits of fish, were fiore (flowers) of zucchini and sweet red peppers; my Gnoccetti Sabbi d’Oro were bathed in a fragrant mixture of fruta da mare, tomatoes and peppers, accented with small bits of chopped radducino and arugala. Both were exquisite.

Ditto the secondi. My fritto misto included the usual suspects, like calamari, shrimp, delicious baby-pinky-sized fish which Sara thinks come from the sardine family, plus slightly bigger red mullet that are called barbunia or barbun at the eastern end of the Mediterranean, where we live. (I have come to prefer lightly fried barbunia or their equivalent over shrimps of all sorts, because they’re just as sweet and much easier to eat.) It was outstanding, as was Sara’s grilled fish (identified as spigola, whose translation I have not been able to find, but much smaller than the pictures of spigola I spotted on a couple of all-Italian web pages), served with a sauce of chopped tomatoes and herbs. I’m not a piscatorialist, but if forced to guess I’d say that fish was a near relative of the denise, or sea bream, of the Eastern Med.

The contorno – a mix of cubed potatoes, sweet red pepper and aubergine, baked in a light sauce that, like most of the other dishes, took advantage of the region’s incredible tomatoes – was yet another delight. For the finale, a southern (Italian) accent came from the dolce (we split one), Crostata del Diavolo, a crumbly cake with a barely-discernible dash of the hot red pepper so loved in Calabria, Basilicata and the rest of southern Italy. The food and the beach made the drive to Diamante-Belvedere, about an hour from where we were staying, worthwhile. The price was nice too: a little less than 40 euro.

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

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