It’s our first evening in Lecce. Having just completed a ten hour journey, we’re tired and in no mood to walk into the city. Luckily our host, Stefania has recommended a few restaurants, one of which is just around the corner. After a much-needed snooze, we freshen up and head for L’Ostrica Ubriaca. We arrive to a restaurant packed with locals (a great sign) and although we have no reservation, the manager kindly pulls a table together for us.
The menu is large, detailed and entirely made up of fish dishes. A fish-mongers by day, this is probably to be expected but I’m still surprised to see that the side dishes of roast potatoes and green salad are the only non-fish items included. Despite the lure of raw fish platters and oysters, I’m inclined to play it safe on the first night of our holiday and go for the Salento style Octopus Stew and Marinated Anchovies. Ali settles on Breaded and Baked Red Prawns and Fried Calamari while we order a side of potatoes (how could we not?) and a bottle of Ursi, Salento’s sparkling white wine between us.
The restaurant seems to run like a Tapas bar, dishes arrive as and when they are ready. The downside to this of course, is that my two dishes arrive first with the potatoes leaving Ali as a spectator until her dishes arrive just as I finish mine. The octopus stew is a memorable dish – sweet and tender octopus in a red wine and tomato broth with carrots. Although not quite the time of year for such a dish, I’m happy with my choice and gleefully move on to the sharp and delicious marinated anchovies.
Not finished yet however, Ali isn’t a big fan of prawn heads so once she’s taken the sweet tail meat, they are passed to me to devour the good stuff! The prawns are succulent, perfectly cooked and fresh enough to taste of the sea. The wine is also a delight. Light and fruity with a nice hit of acidity, it’s the perfect foil for the seafood and exceptionally reasonable at €12 per bottle. It’s so good infact that it becomes our go to wine of the holiday!
The service is friendly and efficient and once you accept that the dishes will come when they are ready, you’ll have no problems. Two of the staff speak reasonable English and there are also English menus available to avoid confusion. All in, we paid €59 for two courses each, a bottle of sparkling wine and a bottle of sparkling water. Considering the generous portion size and quality of the produce on offer, this is a real bargain and well worth the ten minute walk from the city centre if that is where you’re staying. Do try to book first however, we tried to visit L’Ostrica Ubriaca a few nights later but were not as lucky on our second attempt.
Ostrica Ubriaca Viale della Libertà, 133 73100 Lecce Tel. 0832 091986 firstname.lastname@example.org www.ostricaubriaca.it