Home DestinationsDestination: Italy Insiders Tips: best beach restaurants in Salento

Insiders Tips: best beach restaurants in Salento

by Paola Fiocchi Van den Brande

Having spent the past 8 summers in Salento, I can honestly reassure you, you won’t have a bad culinary experience anywhere you go in Puglia. Yes, there are the odd and out of place kebap bars here and there or the stalls at the fun fairs, but I know you are wise enough not to get close to any of these, wherever you are in the world.

Salento is a gastronomic paradise. Fresh, organic and honest food is served pretty much in every local restaurant, often run by extended families with the “mamma” in the kitchen.  For more about food in Salento, you can refer to my other posts, “24 culinary hours in Salento”, Explore Puglia’s deep reds“, or my guest post “5 restaurants in Salento for your palates only“.

I had the pleasure of interviewing two “Salentini” DOC, Francesco Forni, CEO at real estate agency Medlizard in Lecce, and renown Apulian architect Raffaele Centonze. They shared with me their favourite beach restaurants, because, yes in Salento, even on the beach it’s a culinary delight.

A note of caution. In high season, especially during the month of August, you may be disappointed. Beach clubs will be VERY busy and service may be slow and not at all impeccable. To enjoy to its fullest, go in Spring to  early July or at the end of August.

These are real insiders’ tips. You are welcome!

Lido Le Dune in Porto Cesareo

The restaurant belongs to the private beach club Le Dune in Porto Cesareo, which in high season can be VERY crowded. There is also a self service, but we recommend the restaurant. Dishes are mainly fish based, which is what you would expect by a place on the beach.

Bacino Grande beach club and restaurant in Porto Cesareo

Wonderful sea view of course! The large air-conditioned restaurant offers a la carte menu serving traditional Apulian cuisine. A good selection of fresh fish, clams, sea urchins and pasta, salads and delicious desserts.

Bacino Grande

Bacino Grande

Guna Beach in Torre Guaceto

Torre Guaceto has been voted by The Telegraph newspaper as one of the best beaches in Puglia. A natural reserve remained blissfully free from development.

Guns Beach is an exclusive club immersed in unspoilt Mediterranean vegetation and surrounded by fine sand and sand dunes. Among the services offered by the beach club expect a Spa, fitness programs such as Yoga or Pilates, an organic vegetable garden, a beach reserved to your pets, an American Bar on the beach  as well as a wedding planner, should you wish to tie the knot with bare feet in the sand.

The beach restaurant is located on an English type lawn. Local delicatessen will be prepared in the open plan kitchen and served in a relaxed atmosphere.

Guns Beach Club

Guna Beach Club

Bagni Marinelli in San Gregorio

A few minutes from Santa Maria di Leuca, at the very tip of the heel of Italy, you can dine by the sea at Bagni Marinelli, where at 5.30pm the beach club comes to life with live music and serves Apulian style aperitifs: “frise al pomodoro”, snacks, sea food salads, cold pastas, tastings of local cheeses and wines. At dusk, the atmosphere becomes magical and romantic. The restaurant will serve you a candle light dinner based on local excellencies such as smoked grouper carpaccio, pasta with red fish and squid, all washed down with chilled Apulian rosé.

Ristorante Marinelli

Ristorante Marinelli

 Mora Mora Bistro del Mare in San Foca

Passion, tradition and quality are the base ingredients of every dish served at Mora Mora Bistro del Mare, located just outside Lecce. Their dishes are like pieces of art. They not only look good, they taste divine too. An enchanting destination by the sea, open for lunch and dinner. Live music is often played at night. “It’s well worth a visit”, says Raffaele.
Mora Mora Bistro del Mare

Mora Mora Bistro del Mare


Where to stay in Salento: https://www.passepartout-homes.com/holidays/Puglia/all