Where to eat when you’re on holiday in Abruzzo ? Here are five top restaurants where you’ll get a great meal and top value.

Aside from ‘Where’s best for walking ?’, ‘Where’s good to eat ?’ is the question we get asked most frequently by Villasfor2 guests.

It’s a harder question than you might think. Not because there’s a shortage of good places – but because there are almost too many.

Our part of southern Abruzzo offers so many good quality, good value places to eat that you could quite literally stay here for a month; go somewhere different every night; and barely scratch the surface of what’s on offer.

One of a series of antipasti you'll enjoy at Agriturismo del SoleYou’ll see the blog’s called ‘Five Top Abruzzo Restaurants’. Not ‘The Top Five Abruzzo Restaurants.’ You can find those by looking in a guide. Allegedly.

No. The five restaurants listed below are all places where we’ve eaten; enjoyed it; and would go again. And we do.

When I’ve listed this five, I’ll list five more. And then five more; and then even more. There are quite a few. And why only southern Abruzzo ? Because Abruzzo’s a big region – and we don’t know the north particularly well.

Treat the guide prices for two I’ve given with caution. Such is the menu choice open to you in any restaurant, that even in the smartest place, you can have either just a bowl of pasta and a glass of house wine; or a four-course feast with a couple of pricey bottles. Bills can vary wildly as a result.

To start the ball rolling and in no particular order…

Le Maschere. Via Garibaldi 56, Tollo. 0871 961810. Closed Tue.
By a very narrow margin, the unique square pizzas emerging from the wood-fired oven at Le Maschere, (pumpkin and gorgonzola is an inspired combo), are the best we’ve eaten in Abruzzo so far. Don’t be put off by the slightly dingy bar at the front. Out back is a spacious and rather smart eating area. Pasta and meat too. Pizza and wine/beer about €30.

Agriturismo del Sole. Cda Monte Secco 1, Torino di Sangro. 0873 913292. Open only Wed thru Sat for dinner; and Sun only for lunch.
Real skill at work in the kitchen with inventive antipasti – the variety of fresh ricotta is especially good – plus the regular agriturismo staples of home-produced pasta and meat. Excellent mixed dessert platter. Tiny restaurant; booking’s always advisable – and nb that during the grape and olive harvests, it may be closed completely. About €45

The shady terrace of La Sirenella with its wonderful location on the beachLa Sirenella. Via Lungomare 70, Fossacesia Marina. 0872 607146. Closed Tue.
Winter opening times variable.
One of the better fish restaurants that line our stretch of the Adriatic. Gorgeous location, with an umbrella-shaded terrace right on the beach. Excellent antipasti misti and fritto misto as you’d expect – but if it’s on the menu, try the ombrina, a white fish roasted with potatoes, rosemary and olives. About €60

Lu Piccione. Via Sciorilli 2, Sant’Eusanio. 0872 757589. Closed Tue
Beloved by all Villasfor2 guests – and us – this is our nearest good place to eat. Sit outside in summer; inside by a big open fire in winter. Home-made Pappardelle with porcini mushrooms, sausage and truffle; and Chittara with gorgonzola and slivers of sweet red pepper are worth the airfare on their own. About €40

Ai Vecchi Sapori. Via Ravizza 16, Lanciano. 0872 712184. Closed Mon
OK, point a gun at my head and ask which is my favorite Abruzzo restaurant. It’s this one. Lovely atmosphere; interesting layout with part of the kitchen actually in the restaurant; and a top-notch menu based on Italy’s ‘slow food’ movement. The main-course braises are the speciality. Rabbit, wild boar, lamb and beef all exceptional. Come to that, the antipasti and pasta (nb the timbale) are great too. About €70.

More soon. Mangiate bene !