Everyone deserves some fine dining and a bit of a splash out sometimes, and Restaurant Plistia in Pescasseroli provides just that and more; wonderful service and an intimate dining room that pushes it straight into my Top 3 restaurants in Abruzzo.
We were v lucky stumbling across it, we’d planned to buy some Abruzzo delicacies for a picnic after we’d interviewed the Head of Science at the National Park for a post about the ever-decreasing number of Marsican bears at the hands of locals. Generally Mondays aren’t the best days for open restaurants particularly nature hubs like Pescasseroli – they’re normally closed on Mondays, recovering from the weekend rush. However, we asked the owner of a nearby locanda where she would eat and she kindly recommended Benedetto & Laura Decina’s Plistia Restaurant as the best in the surrounding area . We were more than ready to try that sort of recommendation so passed by and booked a table. That is one thing to definitely do, book! Intimate means just 10 tables so our recommendation is book ahead at weekends, Aug or the ski-season; we were lucky in that we were the only ones in the restaurant for lunch at the beginning of June.
Tucked away off the main street, the vaulted restaurant I’m sure would be wonderful in the heat of high summer, even June it was beautifully cool, for some reason its decor reminded me more of Paris than Abruzzo but that is no bad thing. Slow Food & Gambero Rosso certificates line the wall indicating that we were going to be having a special sort of lunch; they are in fact Abruzzo’s oldest Slow Food member.
We visited after a short but steepish 1 hr climb up to the remains of the Castel Mancino that overlooks the town. Hot and thirsty we asked for a Pecorino wine to help lower temperatures and a great revisit was that of a Bosco’s fantastic Pecorino that takes you to all sorts of exotic fruit places with even a memory of Peardrops for those that liked them, a kiddo recommend! Antipasti were some divine local soft cheeses with some excellent sensory wonder springy bread and a succulent mushroom salad.
Next came homemade scialatielli pasta served with wild asparagus, saffron and fresh cheese, a simple dish but when cooked well a medley of flavours to die for. I’m one of those freaky people who actually prefers whole-wheat pasta so with the next homemade pasta dish of frilly ribboned mafalde with a succulent duck and mint sauce meant I was in heaven, it’s a rare treat getting fresh whole-wheat pasta when out. I’m going to try cooking the duck and mint sauce at home as it was a wonderful combination, the mint countering that heavy after-feeling that duck’s rich meat can sometimes leave. It’s traditional to have 3 pastas in the restaurant but we declined the 3rd as even though portion control here was excellent we were already feeling a little stuffed.
For secondo (close your eyes and ears animal lovers) it was milk-fed baby lamb that had been bread-crumbed and fried, a first for me but utterly delicious served with a chunky salad.
Dessert was one of the best I’ve had in Abruzzo, a mille feuilles like pastry with intoxicating crema (custard) light but toffee flavoured meringue and strawberry that we both fell upon.
The restaurant could never be considered cheap eating in Abruzzo, but for those extra euros you receive a very different and inventive use of local ingredients that is worth spending the extra whilst enjoying the ambience of one of the sweetest dining rooms that we’ve eaten in.
Price – €40 per person including 4 courses, 1 bottle of wine, coffee
Value for money – 10/10
Quality of food – 10/10
Albergo Ristorante Plistia
Address: Via Principe di Napoli, 28, 67032, Pescasseroli (AQ)
Tel: +39 08863 910429