Wednesday evening we hit the seaside town of Cesenatico in the hope of getting a good fish dinner. Proximity to water doesn’t guarantee anything but it’s a good start.
After a bit of wandering about we found La Tratta, Osteria del Pesce Fresco and managed to book a table for 20 minutes later as they were full when we arrived. The food was great. Starters were a hot mussel and clam dish with a yummy wine sauce and a prawn, onion and tomato salad. Mains were a seafood risotto and their “signature dish” of freshly caught mixed fish grill (picture below – that plate is about double normal size).
They were honest enough to say that the prawns were the only thing not freshly caught locally because they don’t have prawns swimming around near Cesenatico but everything tasted delicious and you could tell it was both fresh and cooked to perfection. The scallops were actually still stuck to their shell, not removed and processed, there were squids, sole, prawns, one other fish with a stronger but still great seawater taste and yet another which was finally, after seeing the whole uncooked beast, identified as anglerfish.
This was a really enjoyable experience and after the nasty meal the other day went some way to restoring faith in Italian fishy cuisine.
After dinner our passeggiata included the ladies enjoying a ride on a terrifying (for three year olds) roller coaster and some super ice-cream from a local gelateria.
For a relatively small seaside town it was busy in the evening with everything from families with small kids through teenagers and likely lads up to the elderly. A scattering of Polish accents were heard. Apparently there are quite a few here and apart from those on holiday there are a number who work here, primarily employed to look after old Italians because the Italians tend to look after their elder generations at home rather than stick them in an external care facility.
Talking about Poles. The following evening, yesterday, we stayed local and went back to Venturi in Roncofreddo. This is just a very normal local restaurant. A place upstairs facing the high street and another downstairs with a terrace overlooking the hills. No pretensions whatsoever about the cuisine. If you’re hungry you can eat. That’s it. There is a Polish lady works there too. She was rolled out when they spotted the Polish registration on the car the other day.
Every other time we ate here we’ve had the antipasti and pasta, which is more than we can eat. One serving of pasta will feed the three of us so if we want two types of pasta we could feed the five thousand. This time we had the antipasti but skipped the pasta and went for the meat and we asked for a small portion. Well, once more we were left wondering who on earth can eat this much.
The meat dish came in two parts, some from the grill and some you cooked yourself on a hot stone on your table, either one being more than enough for the three of us. From the grill was more delicious castrato, which comes as it sounds from castrated sheep (adult ones), a giant “butterfly” pork chop and a couple of home made sausages. On the hot stone was a selection of beef steaks. They insisted on adding to this chips, some green stuff, grilled tomatoes and then follow with a selection of deserts. OMG! The whole lot came to €70 including the tip.
Funny how people don’t like lamb. Most Poles don’t because it’s not really been a popular dish there but Stefano also says he doesn’t like castrato, although Sandra, his wife, loves it. It seems to be the smell that puts people off. For a guy who grew up on roast lamb being one of the regular Sunday meal options this is strange.
It’s a good job we are not really eating at any other time of day and that I’m doing a few lengths of the pool each day.