It was in the middle of nowhere, a dusty track off the coast road from Torre Canne heading up to Savelletri, a few large tents stuck together and a portacabin. L’Oasi del Riccio wasn’t pretty, it didn’t have a view to die for nor did it offer a fine dining experience. Hell, it didn’t offer solid walls. But who cares? It cooked me the freshest seafood in an unpretentious Pugliese style and served it straight to my plastic table parked next to an azure sea.
Raw squid was delicate, sweet, good texture and tasted very fresh. Good swordfish carpaccio, meaty flavour, lots of olive oil.
Very good octopus, grilled by a bloke using a metal contraption with a chimney parked behind the bar area, served plain and simple with olive oil. Lovely flavour and some delicate smokey overtones.
Apparently they often catch their octopus just by the rocks here so you may be able to witness the untimely demise of your own lunch. Yuk.
Excellent seafood pasta, plump clams and mussels. Salads were good, too.
The restaurant started in a typically ad hoc Italian way and has added an extra tent every now and then as it became popular. I just hope it doesn’t lose it’s simplicity or freshness when I next have a chance to visit.
And what about the riccio? Riccio means hedgehog in Italian – and indeed they were once called urchins in English – so these are little hedgehogs of the sea. Confusingly, the plural, ricci, also means curly, as in curly-haired. Not to be confused with ricchi, which means rich.
Anyway, the sea urchins weren’t plump enough yet, they said, come back in a week or two.
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