Ask what Puglia’s ultimate street food is, and the answer will likely depend on where you are in our region.
In Bari the answer is likely to be panzerotti or pesce crudo. Pesce crudo is likely to feature as you continue down the Adriatic coast. Especially in Polignano a Mare - we are big fans of Pescaria’s fried octopus bun - and Monopoli.
But ask what the ultimate street food is when you venture inland around the Valle d’Itria and you will be left in no doubt. Bombette Pugliesi. Bite size parcels of meat, usually pork, filled with cheese, vegetables or other cured meats and grilled over an open fire or in a traditional clay oven.
You can find these served in restaurants all around our region, but best known are the butcher shops come restaurants of Cisternino.
Al Vecchio Fornello is our favorite.
It is also the favorite of locals which is why you might have to wait.
The ordering system requires that you go inside to order your bombette from the meat counter. Often this is when others will arrive and might take your table. Just be aware, the waiter cannot serve and police the tables. Not all waiters speak French, Russian or German to explain clearly, and other diners may not be so generous or understanding and may simply take your table.
If you don’t like the system or can’t forgive the foreign cultures - this is a popular restaurant- you are free to go elsewhere.
The meat served here is simply stunning. And the value superb. Which brings us back to almost where we started. This is a popular restaurant. Small, family run and proud.
Around the meat we suggest the antipasto rustico as a starter and the only side (contorni) worth having with bombette is the oven baked potato (patate allo spiedo).