Yesterday we decided to be a little more adventurous and visit a nearby town that wasn’t mentioned in our guidebook. We had set off pretty late and Melfi looked like a good place to stop for lunch before heading to another historic temple site.
Unfortunately the guidebook was right not to contain the little town of Menfi as a must-see attraction. Although the town was neat and fairly new, there was not much to see apart from a nice view from one of the main squares. So after walking up and down the streets for a little while we asked a local for the best trattoria in the neighbourhood. Perhaps unsurprisingly, she recommended a restaurant outside the town, down by the sea. Never being ones to ignore local advice on the best places to eat, we headed out of the town and down towards the sea on winding roads, flanked by lush meadows and orange tree farms.
“Restaurant Vittorio” as it was called, turned out to be a hidden gem. Situated well away from the main road, it nevertheless appeared to be very busy for this time of year as it had more luxurious cars parked outside than anywhere we had seen. From the minute we entered the stylish and minimalist restaurant on the beach we understood why. Everything from the placement right on the sandy white shore, to the interior decoration was just right.
We haven’t yet been served a single mediocre meal since we arrived in Sicily. Vittorio didn’t look like it was about to buck that trend. We ordered pasta and seafood waited for it by sipping the local mineral water and staring out across the sea. The food arrived, and the seafood was so fresh it was probably still swimming that morning. The olive oil gave all of the dishes a wonderfully subtle and fresh kick. So we ate, chatted, smiled and glanced every now and then to the beautiful beach scene outside.
Travelling with the little one yet again helped us to begin conversations with our dining neighbours on either side of our table and later also with the wife of the owner. From what we could make out the owners named the restaurant after their son Vittorio, a cute little boy of 18 months that our little one was very happy to run after (held by her mummy) in the restaurant.
After the trouble finding a place to eat, following by a long and relaxing Sicilian lunch, the historic site would have to wait for another day. No great loss though, the lunch had been a real victory for Italian cuisine and for us