The Vecchia Marina: the best fish trattoria on the Adriatic coast



A salty breeze, sea-spray in your hair, the smell of beach-towels that has remained the same since I can remember, simplicity and quietness: if I think about the sea, these are the images that in a rapid sequence cross my imagination.
Crystallizing that thought brings to my mind a seafront with high pitched screams of children and the noise of bicycles, so I then cross the road of my dream's seafront and make myself comfortable at a table of the Vecchia Marina, quite simply the best fish trattoria I know.
We are in the Abruzzo Region, specifically in Roseto, on a “composed” seafront like many others along the Adriatic coast, inside a small hotel that looks anonymous aesthetically, but is formidable in substance: here New Southern Cuisine is celebrated thanks to a declension between family and seafood tradition; the first is guardian to a warm welcoming, to authenticity and to the refined simplicity one expects from great seafood dining; the second guarantees a product without compromises that is also handled and served without compromises.
Do not come to the Vecchia Marina if you are looking for a technical and designer cuisine, and avoid coming with a small appetite: what speaks here is the sea with its ancient suggestions tied to the magic of discovering what hides in the nets only after they have been pulled in; with the same kind of magic, you will only be able to discover what Gennaro and Giovanni will prepare for you after you have sat down.
You will find the "strong and kind" qualities of Abruzzo in the dishes: strong in their neo-traditional connotation, where the knowledge of traditions is softened by a simply functional use of modern techniques; kind in the flavours that remind one of home and are completely centred on the products.
The meal begins with so many starters one might think it all finishes there. These include: raw baby squid with lazzaretti (the small green spicy chilli-peppers of Abruzzo) with their callous bite, grilled anchovies that catapult you to a beach party, olive ascolane stuffed with shellfish that are as addictive as they are fundamental.
Then the real stroke of genius, giant scampi fried with garlic, oil, chilli pepper and rosemary served directly in the aluminium pan that cry out simplicity and to your stomach at every bite, so much so that you will be obliged to ask for another basket of bread for a "scarpetta" (using bread to soak up the juices in a plate) that you are unlikely to forget: here is real luxury and it's called simplicity.
You will then continue with an excellently made seafood "aglio e olio" (garlic and oil) pasta, with its "oafish" and rich pleasure, or you might skip directly to a roast fish dish comme il faut, combined with a fried seafood platter that is perfectly light.


What’s the origin of so much pleasure? A family that works with passion and curiosity, great raw ingredients that, despite being designer-made, are not there to amaze and a great respect for the cultural roots that our cuisine relies on.

Tags: vecchia marina / adriatic / fish / trattoria / sea / tradition / simplicity / luxury / abbruzzo / scarpetta / olive oil / scampi / /

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