A Foodie’s Paradise Foggia in Puglia, Italy

The Puglia region is a very special place, and not just because of its rich history or incredible food (which I will, of course, be highlighting!). It’s special because it’s where I met my husband 23 years ago. 

Let’s start with that fun story! I had been traveling south from Rimini by car, intending to visit Sicily. In a time before Google Maps and GPS, I accidentally ended up on the opposite coast. (Though it now seems that it was fate’s fault.) I met my husband in a restaurant in Torre a Mare, Bari. I fell for him immediately after noticing two things during this dinner with friends. First, he kindly prepared a spread of raw seashells for me (not just Oysters, but all kinds of raw seafood as it’s a Bari delicatessen). And second, the way he sweetly interacted with genuine care and attentiveness to a little boy a friend had brought together. I know it may sound crazy, but something just clicked. So much so that he asked me to marry him, and I was engaged 24 hours later.

Street scenery of Foggia in Puglia, Italy.

Experience Foggia in Puglia, Italy

Though Foggia is a lesser-known city in Puglia, it is a hidden gem for foodies. My husband, whose family is originally from Naples, grew up in Foggia. That’s why I’ve always had a strong connection to this town. We have an apartment in the area, and we love to visit mainly during springtime and the end of summer to indulge in great food and hit the beaches, which are about a half-hour away. (If you’re wondering, where in the world is Kathrin now, I’m currently writing to you from this very city!) 

Though our main home has been in Munich, Germany, and recently changed to Lugano, Switzerland (a story for another day, I promise!), high-quality dining has always been a pricey experience and indulgent treat. Here in Foggia, food feels like the land of plenty. It is abundant in quantity and quality everywhere you turn. (This is contrary to many countries and cities I’ve visited where you have to really search to find gourmet restaurants.) Plus, that bill you get after a huge multi-course meal here makes it even more enjoyable!

Indulging in Aperitivos in Foggia is such a fun (and delicious) activity.

The Best Restaurants in Foggia, Puglia, Italy

Casual and Antique

Pane e Salute is a Trattoria that dates back to the 1500s. It is the only pizza in the world that I’ll eat with regular flour (and not spelt). The word on the streets of Foggia is that their delicious Sourdough is 85 years old. This might be a myth, so I can’t be held responsible ;-). However, here’s what I know for sure; it tastes fresh and absolutely wonderful. The dough is more of a focaccia dough, crispy and moist at the same time. (I think I want some tonight!)

This is the second outlet of Pane e Salute. The original location is in Orsara di Puglia, where the bread and pizza is made in a hay-burning oven from 1526 (yes, that oven will turn 500 in 5 years!) Healthy preparation of all meals is a genuine standard at this restaurant. Fresh, local ingredients are used daily in every single dish. 

Outdoor dining at Carboni Ardenti in Foggia.
Casual Yet Trendy

If you are looking for a great BBQ steak, burger, sausage, veal, gourmet sandwiches, or anything ‘meaty,’ Carboni Ardenti is your place. The owners, the Russo Family, are 5th generation butchers. This spot offers diners a good selection of cuts and types of meat. It features an open kitchen concept, which I personally love. Not only does it give you a physical window into the chef’s world, but it also opens an emotional one. It makes you feel more connected and even part of the preparation. 

The restaurant features a garden with lots of greenery, which feels nice in a town where gardens and parks are underrated. A dinner at Carboni Ardenti is definitely a highlight during hot summer nights. The restaurant’s menu also offers pasta dishes and starters for vegetarians. 

The delectable Orecchiette Frecciarossa at Foggia Restaurant Carboni Ardenti.

Da Italo is one of my favorites for traditional cuisine with delicious ingredients home to the area. Order their signature pasta e fagioli (pasta and beans), a traditional Italian soup. Its origins trace to Naples, but apparently, it is just as good as the original one! Da Italo’s doors first opened in the summer of 1960.

Traditional authentic cuisine is sure to WOW your palate at Da Italo Restaurant.
Sweet Treats

I recently discovered a new gastronomic favorite in Foggia – Sospiro Biscuits! The Sospiro is a sweet typical of Puglia and Bisceglie. It consists of a sponge cake filled with cream and covered with icing. The best Sospiros can be found at Pasticceria Annese Sospiro (Via Zara 87).

Another sweet stop is Dolce Grazia (Via Nedo Nadi, 26). It offers a varied menu that includes sweets and bakery treats, salty snacks, sandwiches, pizza, and amazingly crispy homemade potato chips. The Cassatina Napoletana is their specialty, but I do recommend ordering the larger size as I felt there was too much icing on the small one.

The famous Sospiro and other sweet treats.

A Brief History Lesson of Foggia

While this post is really a highlight of Foggia’s gastronomy, a post about this city would not be complete without a small history lesson. Foggia used to be the second most important city in southern Italy after Naples. Foggia isn’t the prettiest town compared to other towns in Puglia and is often overlooked. This is mainly because the allies completely destroyed the town at the end of WW2. 

Foggia is located about an hour southwest of better-known Gargano, which is the spur of the heel of Italy. Here is where you’ll find the enchanting National Park of Gargano. Vieste and Peschici are the most known villages within the larger Foggia province for tourists. 
Despite the destruction within the town of Foggia, there are still a few noteworthy historical attractions like the fountain at Piazza Cavour. It was originally lent to Foggia by the seaside town of Manfredonia in 1924, when the fascist regime of Mussolini was visiting the area. To this day, it has never been returned. If you take a closer look, you’ll notice it looks like a starfish when seen from above.

The Foggia Cathedral is another slice of history. It was built in 1170, and it’s the only one in the world that belongs to the civil authority and not the church.

The Fontana del Sele in Piazza Cavour.

Plan Your Trip to Puglia, Italy

Do you like experiencing new foods and authentic cuisine when visiting a new place?  Share your favorite foodie destination in the comments below or on my Instagram page!

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