La Tana del Lupo (The Wolf’s Den) in the small village of Scagnano was a lovely discovery for lunch after we had spent the morning visiting the expressive medieval sculptures in the nearby church of S Tommaso, that are out of this world, as well as having a wander around the nearby spa town of Caramanico.
Although it was the second weekend of November, Abruzzo’s temperatures were more like a balmy late Spring day of 25 C which screamed for some al fresco dining! The restaurant La Tana del Lupo provided perfectly for such a need, and we’re always a sucker for establishments that have a hint of wildlife in their name! This Scagnano restaurant looks out across the valley and offers a bright and airy, extremely popular gazebo that was already quite busy with dining couples like ourselves; it’s obviously a romance spot for those on hot dates of all ages, even in winter.
What’s nice about it is that you have all the pleasure of the sun and splendid vistas without any sort of drafts or chills that often detract for gazebolic dining. Local extended families were inside making the most of the clean and modern interior, lots of exposed stonework and lime-washed walls. I would almost say that the Tanto Lupo’s space and peaceful views across the valley out at fields was almost better than the food!
The house Giardiniera was excellent and their spicy, sweet & savoury teaser that included Autumn mushrooms really did increase expectations of the next treat, and the unusual addition of celery was an excellent surprise, bringing a cool crunch. Being just a week after San Martino and Vino Novello celebrations, we made sure that we had a healthy half-litre of the house Vino Novello to accompany La Lupo antipasti. This was the usual selection of cold-cuts, with some truffle & peperonata bruschetta and some fried cheese which I have to say was probably the best example of this that I have tried in Abruzzo to date.
Next we selected pappardelle and misto bosco, which comprised three types of local mushrooms (prataioli, chiodini/little nail mushrooms, and porcini), and one of the house ‘lupo’ specialities. I think the pappardelle was made with saffron powder, it had that indescribable can’t put-down-on-paper quality and intense colour that sure don’t come from a chicken’s egg! The specialities of the house are their lemon and their butter sauces, so this isn’t the place to visit if you have high cholesterol! Butter and scamorza are all from the nearby village of Sant’Eufemia, which is 870masl in the Maiella Mountains and is renowned across Abruzzo for its high-quality dairy products and has won numerous awards. I must admit use of the rich butter in sauces was a little heavy for me and reminded me more of Northern Italian sauces rather than the style of cooking more associated with Italy’s Rocky heart, but that is all about personal taste preferences.
The Sant’Eufemia roasted scamorza was divine, my partner & I shared our 2-piece portion along with a juicy, skinny veal steak and French fries all excellent. Coffee and some Limoncello served in some lovely, weighty liqueur glasses was perfect before setting off on the road up to Decontra to take an afternoon walk and watching the setting sun over the Amoro massif, 500masl.
Price – €47 for 2 people for 2.5 courses including 1/2 half litre of house red
Value for money – 8/10
Quality of food – 8/10
La Tano del Lupo Contact Details
Address: Scagnano – no street name – see map above | (PE)
Tel: 085.928196 or 335.1221046| No email or website
Closed Monday evenings & Tuesday all day, but open everyday in July & August
All Cards Accepted