A few ideas on where to eat and drink in Matera…
Matera has its own regional cuisine different from the rest of Italy that is only now being discovered by foodies. Matera offers some spicier choices thanks to the abundance of Senise peppers in the area, but for the most part their traditional dishes feature earthy simple styled food. Matera was poor for so long and a lot of their local cuisine reflects that as it is vegetarian based with a lot of chickpea flour, a broccoli rabe like greens and what is farmed in the area. Matera is also very proud of its crusty bread that has a lineage that goes back centuries. You will see it everywhere, including in local dishes. Not surprising there are good wines to be had and at very accessible prices. Red wines are predominantly Primitivo, and Aglianico, with Sangiovese variety of grapes, while white wines, including sparkling varieties made with Greco Bianco grapes. Definitely worth sampling.
Ristorante Francesca This elegant restaurant in the Sassi area of town serves classic local cuisine in a polished modern cavernous space. It is a good place to start as the dishes are traditional and give a solid introduction into the flavours of the region. In warmer months there is outdoor seating. Via Bruno Buozzi, 9, 75100 Matera MT, Italy
La Gattabuia Located in a popular part of town, near bars and cafes, this inviting restaurant serves a more modern take on local flavours. Some hearty pasta dishes are very tasty and a notable wine list. People from town frequent here as well which is always a good sign. Via delle Beccherie, 90-92, 75100 Matera MT, Italy
Osteria da Pico For a quintessential Matera dining experience de Pico ticks all the boxes. Located in an accessible part of the Sassi town, it is a welcoming eatery in a stylish Sassi cave. The menu is generally traditional with creative license and a more up market feel to it. The Strascinati, a pasta shape of the region, in a spicy tomato sauce was outstanding. Via Fiorentini, 42, 75100 Matera MT, Italy
Bars and Cafes
As with all Italian towns cafes abound, even if they are a couple tables outside or at counter space inside. The most picturesque areas with some places to choose from can be found on the open tree lined street V
Caffe Lanfranchi Cute little cafe on a the Via Domenico Ridola has bustling counter space and leafy outdoor street seating under the trees. Great coffee and a perfect place to rest your feet.
Hemingway’s Bistro This popular trendy bar and restaurant also on Via Domenico is a good place for cocktails which they serve in millennial style Mason jars. Like Caffe Lanfranchi outdoor seating is refreshing and relaxing.
Caffe Ridola For a good gelato then head to popular Caffe Ridola. The cafe has a full menu and is another good spot for drinks.
Gran Caffe For a more conventional cafe feel, Gran Caffe on the pretty Piazza Vittorio Veneto serves excellent coffee and tempting pastries and sweets to go with it. Seating is limited and this is mainly counter space, Italian style.
Caffe Vittorio Veneto Pole position for people watching along the piazza especially during the afternoon aperitivo hour. Sunny spritz and seating.
There are many more charming places all over Matera and it is worth exploring at length. It is important to note that the town is divided between the Sassi, old cave style part and the more conventional area of town with its baroque architecture, each bringing its own style and vibe. Together the two parts bring an exciting combination of choices in one small enchanting town.