Travel logs by Pros

5 of the best restaurants in Salento

Best known as the Tuscany of the South, Salento is a region in Puglia steeped in history, surrounded by baroque art, pristine white sandy beaches and crystal clear sea. The warm welcome of its inhabitants, the sunny weather and the abundance of fresh organic food and wine are a recipe for a memorable vacation. The gourmands in you will not be disappointed as Salento offers a vast selection of fine family run restaurants, deep red wines and fresh local produce - a real treat for the senses and for your appetite.

Bros, Lecce

Their motto: "The essential is visible to the taste". Situated in the centre of the city of Lecce, the capital of the Salento region, Bros is run by two young brothers, Floriano and Giovanni Pellegrino, together with Florianos fiancee as pastry chef. Opened just over a year ago the restaurant has already attracted the attention of international food critics and the public and received numerous accolades. Trained in some of the best international restaurants around the world, the brothers apply the skills learned abroad to the simple local ingredients transforming them into exciting, contemporary new dishes.

Cantine Menhir, Minervino di Lecce

Known as wine and extra virgin olive oil producers, Menhir Salento is also a dining destination with its restaurant Origano. From excellent grilled meat to the catch of the day, from pasta dishes to vegetables just picked from the garden, every meal is deliciously prepared by its talented young chef, Vito Netti. In summer, you can enjoy a candlelight dinner in the garden and meat lovers can choose from a vast selection of meats displayed in the restaurant own butchers counter. There is, of course, no shortage of wine from Cantine Mehirs own label.

LAltro Baffo, Otranto

This clean, minimalistic yet refined restaurant a stones throw from Otrantos Aragonese castle is headed by talented chef Cristina Conte, who reinterprets traditional fish based dishes with a contemporary twist and innovative twist. Our absolute favourite dishes are the selection of raw fishes, the carbonara di ricci (hand made pasta with are sea urchins) and che pasticcio il pasticciotto as dessert (a deconstructed pasticciotto cake). By far, on elf the best restaurants in Otranto with clearly distances itself from the average tourist traps in town.

Trattoria La Puritate, Gallipoli

Listed in the respected Michelin Guide, this elegant sea-front restaurant served perfectly cooked, fresh fish dishes. Although it is called a Trattoria expect an ambience a bit more refined than your average trattoria. From classic linguine alle vongole to the signature dish gamberoni al sale , La Puritate promises a mouthwatering experience.

Natale, Lecce

Natale is not technically a restaurant but an ice cream parlour. The best ice cream parlour in Lecce if not in Salento. A trip to Lecce is not complete without a visit to Natale, for the creamiest home made ice-cream in town as well as an array of delicious confectionery. The list of ice-cream and sorbetti flavours is endless and too long for this purpose so are the queues outside the shop.

Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande is Director ofPassepartout Homes Ltd.

If you would like to be a guest blogger onA Luxury Travel Blog.

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Where will you go for Mothers Day

Why send mom some flowers in a vase, when you could take her to see exotic flowers growing in the wild? Skip the stuffed animals and plan an itinerary that includes a stop to see adorable wildlife. Dont send her a card with a picture of a tropical beach book a plane and take her there yourself! Were ready to get you started brainstorming your Mothers Day getaway. These creative destinations will make you her favorite for the rest of the year.

1. Manatees in Peru Iquitos, Peru

Manatees have a special place in animal lovers hearts. They are gentle, easy to approach, and consequently increasingly rare. But you can still see them in the portion of the Amazon River that flows through Perus Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. Theres also the Manatee Rescue Center near Iquitos. This center cares for injured manatees and releases them back into the wild. Visitors can feed and interact with the centers roly-poly baby manatees.

2. South Water Caye Belize

The South Water Caye Marine Reserve is the largest marine reserve in Belize. Belizes Caribbean waters are known for their abundant marine life. South Water Caye has impressive mangroves and smaller cayes that make lovely destinations for boating tours. Visitors who come here get to stay at a private resort, and have their own little piece of a tropical wonderland.

3. Soledad Botanical Garden Cienfuegos, Cuba

Wander the meandering trails of the Soldedad Botanical Garden. Begun over a hundred years ago by an Englishman, this garden is still flourishing. It has over 1,400 species of plants, including epiphytes, rubber trees, cacti, and palms. Look for colorful plants in the wild part of the garden, and then head to the green houses to admire the more delicate species.

4. Valle de los Ingenios Cuba

Valle de los Ingenios used to be dotted with busy sugar plantations. Today, the plantation workers are gone, but the picturesque landscape remains. Now the ruins of the mills make the rolling hills look like something from the cover of a romance novel.

5. Ibarra Northern Sierra, Ecuador

Ibarra is not at the top of the list of places to visit in Ecuador, but it has a few things that make it special enough for mothers day. Because this town is a little bit out of the way, its a peaceful place to admire beautifully restored colonial architecture, without throngs of tourists. It has a temperate climate, which has made it an increasingly popular town for ex-pats. Visit the bustling outdoor market on Saturday to browse handmade textiles.

6. San Marcos la Laguna Lake Atitln, Guatemala

San Marcos la Laguna is one of the many towns bordering Lake Atitln that has earned a hippy reputation over the years. Its easy to feel mystical looking out over the lake, surrounded by its age-old volcanoes. Check out a yoga class, and the soothing treatments available at the towns healing center. Dont leave without taking a boating tour with a guide who can tell you about the mythology of the environs.

7. Casco Viejo Panama City, Panama

If your mom is a history buff, take her on a small step back inside with a visit to Casco Viejo. This is Panama Citys oldest neighborhood. Many of the buildings here have been painstakingly restored, and some date back to the 16th century. You can book rooms in upscale hotels here that blend modern comfort with historic ambiance.

8. Yungay - Huascarn National Park, Peru

In Perus central highlands youll find the snow-capped mountains and glaciers of Huascarn National Park. Vist the ruins of the town called Yungay just outside of the park. An earthquake destroyed the town in 1970, but today theres a beautiful memorial rose garden.

9. Boquete Garden - Boquete, Panama

Boquete is a particularly lush part of Panama, with rich volcanic soil (you cant miss Bar Volcano, steaming away in the distance). Make a visit to Mi Jardn es Tu Jardn to see Boquetes vast array of tropical plants in one place. In addition to the botanical gardens, Boquete also has coffee plantations where you can sample spectacularly fresh brews.

Zach Smith is CEO ofAnywhere.

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