Oh Le Marche…a regions that will win your hearts through your stomach
As a child, I remember having a strange relationship with fish and seafood. I either found it to be bland or way too “fishy”. As I grew older and my palate developed I came to discover and appreciate this truly magical world of flavours.
I consider myself lucky as I live near Venice and the Venetian lagoon and Adriatic Sea in general are home to sensational produce and outstanding restaurants, whether it is a simple trattoria or the most incredible of Michelin star restaurants.
I have always heard that the region of Le Marche has an incredible “seafood tradition”; so much so that one of the local dish called Brodetto, a rich soup like dish with plenty of seafood and fish in it, changes recipe depending on which town of the region you are in!
So on a sunny day and with a friend of mine, we decided to head off and drive down to Le Marche to get a taste of seafood at its very best. Now I do not want to rub this in but as a luxury travel advisor for Italy, this is actually called “research”!
Le Marche is one of those undiscovered regions where you feel time just peacefully stops. With its gentle countryside, charming medieval villages and its pretty coastline it really has it all; some people rightly call it the new Tuscany. I consider it to be one of the most romantic places in Italy that has yet to be fully discovered.
We drove through the city of Ancona, famous in Italy for having one of the best seafood markets, and eventually arrived in the stunning Roman port town of Senigallia. What makes this place so fascinating other than its pretty architecture and great “village vibe” is its gastronomic offer. In fact, its boasts two 2 Michelin star restaurants both focusing of course on seafood and the great thing about it is that one has more of a classic approach while the second one has more of a modern twist. “We must be in paradise” I ecstatically shout out!
We decided to go for the classic one as we read so many things about this great chef. However luckily enough the other chef opened a quirky and fashionable tapas like bar where they apparently serve the best Aperitivo in town; a perfect location to organise exclusive events I thought to myself and took a mental picture! The concept as you would expect from a modern chef is quite innovative, in fact it is called “a butcher of fish”. What that means basically is that he takes fish such as tuna, sea bream and salmon, to name a few, and cures them as if they were hams. We ordered a couple of platters served with delicious homemade bread and funky sauces such as raspberry mayo…It wasn’t long before we had to order seconds. We simply could not believe how good they were, the flavours were so balanced yet extremely intense and meticulous but put together in a completely unexpected way.
After this delicious warm up, we were ready to enter one of Italy’s finest gastronomic temples, a restaurant that has had 2 Michelin star restaurants for over 10 years!!! The restaurant, located right by the sea, has a rather unpretentious yet elegant white décor that sort of prepares you for what will be a soothing and holistic experience. The chef’s approach is to pay homage to the sensational local seafood and use the best Italian ingredients to create “simple”, clean and incredibly elegant dishes. What amazed us about this meal was that while you clearly had the impression of eating top Michelin star food, the flavours were so direct and somehow “familiar” that you didn’t feel for a second intimidated or scared by the possibility of not understanding the dishes… they just go straight to your heart!
If I had a client asking me where they could go to get a first flavour of Italian fine dining, this restaurant would be without any doubt my immediate answer. It is one of those places that one must go to when looking for truly special celebrations in Italy!
We left Le Marche so gloriously satisfied but our hearts where still hungry to discover more of this magical place. We both looked at each other smiling and said “We HAVE TO come back soon”!