The Restaurant at Ortona’s Old Theatre; from Toast to Tosti

Ristorante al Vecchio Teatro

On a fact-finding mission into oil drilling in Abruzzo, we visited the coastal town of Ortona in the region of Chieti, Abruzzo. Our Italian guides for the day, Loretta & Fabrizia, directed us to the charming Ristorante al Vecchio Teatro.

Baccala on ToastLocated near Ortona’s water-front, Ristorante al Vecchio Teatro can be accessed from two points, the Corso Garibaldi and the Belvedere Francesco Paolo Tosti, the latter a sort of promenade looking out onto the port and blue-green waters of the Adriatic. A well laid-out, smart restaurant with super staff, we were given a table in the front conservatory area, nice & light; we were first served a small crisp piece of toast topped with a lightly whipped baccala pate, a delicate flavour and a good introduction to the fine dining available here.

Octopuss in Olive Oil

We shared an octopus dish, a lovely light serving of chunks of octopus served in an excellent, grassy new olive oil by Ursini. The primi piatti is split between food of the sea and food of the mountains; we opted for a seafood pasta dish each, both our dishes using tacconi style pasta, perfectly al dente, one accompanied by with pieces of prawn with tomatoes, the other a wholemeal pasta with beans & chickpeas in a light, tomatoey piccante sauce. Both excellent and satiating. So much so that we had no room for secondi piatti… but we did somewhow manage a traditional Ortona pudding course, comprising cakes & biscotti, and a cheeky wee limoncello too…

Pasta with chickpeas and beans

Pasta with Chickpeas and Beans Pasta with cheese & egg balls

Toast to Tosti

We had hoped to try and sample another of Ortona’s traditional dishes, a seafood soup or brodetto, but due to strong winds the day before the local fishing boats had been unable to go far enough out to sea to provide a sufficient haul of the various fish called for; we had popped into another restaurant down near Ortona’s castle, where we were told it would be possible, but we would have to wait several hours before it would be ready.

The “teatro” or theatre indicated is just round the corner from Ristorante al Vecchio Teatro, an impressive building with an excellent intimate theatre inside. The theatre of Ortona was first built in c.1930, to honour Ortona’s hugely respected composer Francesco Paolo Tosti (1846-1916). The theatre fell into disrepair but was refurbished and reopened in 2006, and now features theatrical and dance works.

View from Ortona Bay

Price – 3 Course Meal, €60 for two people including wine

Value for money – 8/10

Quality of food – 9/10

Contact Details
Ristorante al Vecchio Teatro
largo ripetta 7/8 o C.Garibaldi 35
66026 – Ortona a Mare (Chieti)

Telephone: 0859064495

Monday & Tuesday 1.00pm-2.30pm & 8.00pm-10.30pm
Thursday: 8.00pm-10.30pm
Friday: 1.00pm–2.30pm & 8.00pm–10.30pm
Saturday: 1.00pm-2.30pm & 8.00pm-11.00pm
Sunday: 1.00pm-2.30pm & 8.00pm-10.30pm

Further Reading

Teatro Communale Ortona
Ursini Olive Oil
Francesco Paolo Tosti
Ristorante al Vecchio Teatro
Scapece di Vasto – a recipe similar to Ortona Fish Soup

Sam Dunham
Author: Sam Dunham

Sam is a very lucky midlife 'mamma' to A who is 12 and juggles her work as a self-employed freelance SEO food and travel copywriter and EFL teacher. She is the founder of the Life In Abruzzo Cultural Association, co-founder of Let's Blog Abruzzo. she is the founder of the 'English in the Woods' initiative, teaching English outdoors in a forest style school.

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