Eat Puglia | Laltro Baffo, Otranto
“Dear Guest, the dishes we propose are the result of careful studies and a constant research for balance, for this reason we do not think that altering the cooking time or the ingredients will benefit the dishes”.
~ Laltro Baffo menu.
One of the challenges of eating out in Otranto in summer, perhaps more than anywhere else in Puglia, is the choice of bars and restaurants.
Around the port, along the lungomare and lining the narrow streets and alleyways of the old town an almost endless choice of menus can be found, of which the highlight is undoubtedly the local seafood.
While the British, French and Belgians have limited themselves to experiencing Puglia around the well trodden Valle d’Itria, Salento has for many, many years been the go to destination where Italians vacation to get away from it all.
Otranto has always been high up on their list of favorite Salento spots. Despite the long line of bars, restaurants and places to eat, one after the other, it does mean tasty and authentic food is never far from you. Italians do not tolerate bad food.
And even although Salento is fast becoming the “fashionable” face of #destinationPuglia, with many other guides now catching up and onto Salento as the place in Puglia to visit, this has not (yet) changed the quality of food on offer.
When choosing our top place to eat in Otranto we had only 2 criteria: seafood and somewhere away from the crowds. Actually we had a third - a cool air conditioned interior was a must. By mid-afternoon the temperatures were creeping up to 40°C | 104°F.
Laltro Baffo (a self branded fine fish restaurant) was an easy and intriguing choice.
Intriguing because unlike so many other Otranto restaurants offering spaghetti or linguine ai ricci di mare (the qualification “di mare” making it clear that it’s not hedgehog on the menu), theirs was carbonara di ricci.
We are and we are not carbonara traditionalists. There is only one true carbonara sauce whose ingredients comprise egg yolk, Pecorino Romano, guanciale and black pepper. And nothing else.
But we do not shy away from using carbocrema elsewhere. On pizza, in between layers of lasagne, as a baked potato filling.
So, the big question was whether Laltro Baffo’s carbonara with ricci would work. We think it did.
Firstly the carbonara was fabulously glossy. We forgot to ask what fat they substituted for the guanciale. The saltiness of the sea was a decent substitute for the strips of guanciale, though it lacked the crunchiness that guanciale gives to carbonara. It could have had an extra grind of black pepper.
Our second primo was orecchiette, gamberi marinati, mandorla e pesto di erbe aromatiche. Creamy, light and fresh. Seafood is a less common, but on this occasion welcome, choice to serve with orecchiette.
We shared a secondo between two of us - grilled squid, spinach and seaweed with black aioli sauce and seeds. The balance of flavor was well executed.
The picture shows half of the serving which came already split on two plates.
To finish, we choose two tribute desserts.
A deconstructed pasticciotto (described as “Messy Pasticcioto”). This was a generous portion of crema topped with broken pastry shards and fresh fruits of the forest to give a slight sourness to the creamy custard.
The other was “il leccese” in homage to the caffè in ghiaccio con latte di mandorla. An fine rendering of panna cotta with a coffee sorbet and coffee mousse (in reality more of a foam) on top.
Service was attentive and non-invasive, with a 3€ coperto per person. Menus are in Italian and English.
tel:+39 0836 801636
Via Cenobio Basiliano, 23
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