OK, another non SoCo post since I'm still away from home. I felt compelled to write about two fabulous meals that we had on the beach of the Adriatic. The restaurant, Ciaschi, is located in a small seaside town called Grottammare. There is a long boardwalk in town and while it was a little early in the year when we visited, I imagine the town gets pretty full during the summer months.
Now I cannot comment on anyplace else in Grottammare because our only two meals were at Ciaschi. We had dinner one night and it was so good, we had to go back for lunch the next day before heading south to Abruzzo.
Ciaschi, as one might expect, is a seafood restaurant--and man, do they know how to do seafood well. It is mainly prepared in a simple fashion to let the natural taste of the fish shine through. Given the amount of food we consumed during our visits, I'll only focus on a few things. But rest assured, on the taste scale the dishes we tried fell between very good and excellent. (Socoblogirl adds: the other draw here is the owner/chef, Antonio. He is so enthusiastic and proud of his local cuisine. He brought out raw fish to show us what we were eating, and bragged about the local catch. So charming!)
I assume the creature below may look familiar to folks who live in or near Maryland and the Chesapeake Bay, but these were not anything like our blue crabs. These crabs, granchi, were much smaller and as you might expect, containing less meat, but they were so sweet; incredible. Part of the wonder of this dish stemmed from the spicy olive oil sauce in which it came. The crabs themselves were pan fried in olive oil and then presented as you see them in the sauce. Fab!
Another highlight of the meal came before the main course, lightly fried squid legs with oil, parsley, and tomatoes with what seems to be a local delicacy, fried jumbo olives. We had them the night before and they were stuffed with a mix of beef and pork, but since this is a seafood spot, theirs were stuffed with fish. Scrumptious. And I know fried squid legs is not something extraordinary to find, but these were very fresh and having them with toms, parsley, and oil did make them different from at least what I was used to.
And how could I write a post about an Italian restaurant, even if seafood is its specialty, and not mention the pasta. Here at Ciaschi they served us spaghetti with roe and little lobsters (more like shrimp for us) in olive oil. Again, a straightforward dish done very well.
While I won't post more pics, other dishes in our dining extravaganza included cold marinated salmon, alici (anchovies), mussels, turbot, skewers of grilled fish, and a couple Adriatic oysters (ostriche) which were briny, clean, and really gave you a taste of the sea. I'll also mention a lot of white wine was consumed, making everything taste even better.
The owner, Antonio, says because the Adriatic is not as deep as the Atlantic, the fish are more flavorful. After that meal, how could I argue?