This is not an overrated Polignano a Mare restaurant. Antiche Mura is a place where you can dine while taking in the history of il centro storico.
When it came to choosing a Polignano a Mare restaurant, I followed the local recommendation of Monica, from our Bed and Breakfast Dimora Santo Stefano. Of course, we could’ve gone to the overrated and oh so instagrammed Grotta Palazzese..but how many pictures have you already seen of the cove? If there is one lesson I learned from my trip to Dubrovnik, it’s that just because a restaurant looks stunning or has a high price point, does not mean it necessarily has amazing food. Plus, it was a super windy night. We would have froze to death in the grotta. Had we stayed another night or two, I would’ve considered it. But given the limited time, I went straight for Monica’s local recommendation: Antiche Mura. And boy, it did not disappoint in quality and price. Listen to the local recommendations the staff have to give, they will not lead you astray.
What does Antiche Mura mean?
The name Antiche Mura literally translates to old walls. In fact, the restaurant is built within the historic walls of Polignano a Mare’s old city, where the first stones of Neapolis where placed during the Middle Ages. This is a Polignano a Mare restaurant where you can dine while taking in the history of il centro storico. If you pay close attention, you’ll notice that one wall seems newer than the other. That’s because one is the historic wall.
A dinner at Antiche Mura doesn’t include a balcony overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. In fact, from the outside you don’t even realize how stunning the inside of this restaurant truly is. It is in the most cliché of terms, a true hidden gem. It’s a cozy, intimate, yet refined nook in the heart of the centro storico. It’s where locals go when they’re looking for a good meal that isn’t overrated. The inside is charming and has a touch of elegance to it. It feels like you’re dining in a refined, white-washed cave. The dishes of choice here, of course, are mainly fish based.
They brought us a palate cleanser to start, a pureed bruschetta with tomatoes, cucumbers, olive oil, and red onion. Something so simple, yet so unforgettable believe it or not. Both because it was a unique way of serving a variation of a bruschetta and because of it’s unforgettable texture and flavor. Who knows what palate cleanser they’ll serve you next time you go…it’ll be a pleasant surprise.
As a starter we ordered the baby squid au gratin (breaded shrimp basically). Now in reality, what Antiche Mura is known for is their Antiche Mura appetizer. As I came to learn later on in my trip, like all appetizers in Puglia, the Antiche Mura appetizer was a lot of food. Almost enough to feed a family of 4! Their appetizer offers the best of the best of many of their household dishes and…it’s only 14 euro! I kind of regret not ordering it, but I wasn’t as hungry that night. In any case, their baby squid au gratin was equally as satisfying. The appetizer was light and crunchy. The juicy baby tomatoes and parsley added a refreshing flavor to the stronger garlicky squid. The local olive oil added just hint of richness. Exquisite to say the least.
Essential Travel Guide to Polignano a Mare, Italy
Choosing a highlight for this meal was difficult…as an entree I ordered the torchietti pasta with red shrimp and zucchini flowers. I had actually been craving zucchini flowers for the past couple of days believe it or not. So when I came across a pasta with zucchini flowers, I immediately ordered it. The torchietti were perfectly al dente and the saw accompanied the flavor of the fish so nicely.
Given the quality of fish, pasta, service, and overall atmosphere of Antiche Mura, I was surprised when the check came. We spent so little for just 2 people. Prices are very reasonable unlike other more touristy Polignano a Mare restaurants. 2 entrees and 1 antipasto was just 32 euro for 2 people.
Make a reservation, you’ll need it if you want to get into this highly frequented local Polignano a Mare restaurant!
>> Next: Polignano a Mare Hotel: Where to Stay Bed and Breakfast Dimora Santo Stefano
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