Eat Puglia | Al Canale, Taranto
In an earlier episode of The Big Gay Podcast from Puglia, we joined our friends Andrea and Greg as they looked back on their 3-week road trip around Puglia. Having eaten out at least twice a day, every day for over 20 days they visited many and varied restaurants across our region.
One of their top recommendations was Taranto’s “Al Canale” where Greg and Andrea had one of their “best” meals in Puglia.
Popular with a the business community and “practically in the sea”, they had a “fabulous fish carpaccio of sea bream - fabulously presented”.
The trouble with the city of Taranto is that it hardly features on anyone’s list of places to visit in Puglia. But when we were in town for a Puglia tourism trade fair we decided to take our own advice and visit for lunch.
Al Canale is a bright and airy restaurant with a good sized terrace that sits right by the side of the channel that opens from the sea into the mare piccolo basin (and from which it takes its name). That basin is well known for producing seafood, especially mussels.
The cozza tarantina benefits from the peculiar conditions of the bay in which the mussels are cultivated. Oxygen rich underwater springs flush into the inner basin which already has a higher salinity. This favours and flavours the plankton, which then plump up the mussels with their distinctive taste.
Needless to say the insalata di mare was flawless. Served hot, which was unexpected, in a lemon scented brodo the seafood was succulent. Neither chewy nor rubbery from under or over cooking, which is always a concern, though less frequently in Puglia where the sea is a way of life.
We followed this with the fusilli "Al Canale". Pasta is always our happy place. And after orecchiette - of course - fusilli twists are often our pasta of choice.
A dolce and coffee finished the meal.
A recommendation from Greg and Andrea well made.
More | Al Canale, Taranto - visit their facebook page | our curated guide to Puglia’s best restaurants and eating experiences | Masseria Moroseta review - expensive but exceptional dining | Grottaglie’s La Luna nel Pozzo - could this be one of Puglia’s best restaurants? | Puglia - where to base yourself on vacation | the definitive gay guide to Puglia 2022.