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Lecce: Settimo Cielo

Via Principe di Savoia, 35 , Phone: 0832.308220

Closing day: Sunday and Monday evenings

Reviewed by: Decobabe from Italy, review #2374

When: 2007

We decided this little restaurant was a pretty good find ...

Hand Written Menu, photo by Judith Greenwood

I will probably never be able to really explain how Lecce broke over my head. She is beautiful. I could at once picture myself living there and how the living would be. If reality is half what I imagine, it would be splendid. The university quarter is predictably grimy and tattered, like university quarters around the world tend to be, but the rest of the city ranges from Baroque to Edwardian (which in Italy is called Liberty style) and is as lovely as Caserta, but without the garbage. There were all kinds of interesting shops in the historic center, even a bike shop where Alison found the type of tire pump she'd been looking for without luck in her city that is near to Rome. I found an interesting tricycle and an electric bike which charges as you pedal and then helps you out when you flag. Is that nearly perpetual motion?

It started to rain again. BIG fat rain. We were as far as we could be from our entry to the city, searching for a little local place away from the tourist attractions. They were closed. What! Oh, there's one named Seventh Heaven! (Settimo Cielo.) At that point even a third heaven would do. Again, it seemed like the opposite of what we sought, as it even had pictures on a posted menu, but Spring storms do tend to make one decisive.

The owner was also the waiter. He is Mr. Personality. Some of the words on the menu explained little to someone from Umbria, and I very seriously told him, "Your job is to make sure I order really typical local food without ordering horse or donkey girl." He accepted the challenge.

The strangest word on the menu was something like "Treggheddie."

Although it is not printed on the menu of the day that he gave me, trust me when I tell you that his explanation was that it is all the various glands and intestines of a lamb, wrapped in the intestines and cooked together. We have something in Umbria that is similar but called Coratella. I skipped it.

Alison ordered from the fish menu of the day, starting with spaghetti allo scarfano and going on to roasted seppia (squid.) I left her to that on her own, since an early experience in Greece has left me incapable of confronting the many forms of octopus in the world. When asked, she said it was very good.

I ate fave e cicoria, a plate I seen around the towns. One half was puree of favas and the other half was chicory, steamed, then chopped and sautéed with garlic and chilies. It was excellent and Alison thought so, too. I then ate "Involtini Strappalacrime" which means tearjerker rollups. I didn't cry, but did happily reduce two rollups of a seasoned minced meat mixture within a wrapping of pancetta, baked with oil enhanced with considerable chili pepper. The house wine, of which there were several wasn't a great Negroamaro, but got better as it went along. We decided this little restaurant was a pretty good find, and then it is always important to know where to go when the weather doesn't suit and you are cold and wet. Mr. Personality would cheer you right up. The bill, stamped as "Asian Shop Center" for some reason, was €31 for two.

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

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