Porto Ercole is a state of mind. Here everything is possible: while drinking a cappuccino at 11 am in a bar at the harbor, you might see the film director Paolo Sorrentino with his son going to the pier and ready to get on a boat. Even the most famous digital businesswoman, Chiara Ferragni, comes to have lunch with her sisters in one of the most globally quoted fine dining gourmet restaurants, which will be mentioned in this article dedicated to the best restaurants in the maritime village Monte Argentario in Tuscany. Well, even though we are not in the splendors of the ’60s, the jet-set still loves this exclusive place. To tell the truth, a record number of visitors has been recorded in summer 2020. Come here to believe it. But above all, to enjoy breathtaking views and delicious seafood dishes.
A deep passion for Mediterranean cuisine is Michelino Gioia‘s secret. He makes traditional Italian recipes unique, turning them into contemporary creations through innovative techniques. Thus, it is not just a riot of flavors, but its specialty lies in the chromatic combinations of the dish presentation.
There are two key points for the creation of each recipe: giving the proper value to the products’ naturalness and reinforcing the connection with the territory. The abundance of Tuscan raw materials from sea and land takes shape in divine dishes to taste in the moonlight. At Il Pellicano restaurant (which is in the homonymous hotel run by Marie Louise Sciò, one of the most famous in the world), chef Michelino Gioia offers a traditional Italian cuisine that at times blends cleverly with international flavors.
All the chef’s favorite raw materials such as pigeons, oysters, red mullets, lobster, and shrimps are part of the menu, created with passion and love. At the end of every dinner, a cart with artisanal chocolate is offered to all guests. Amongst the seasonal specialties, the chef proposes lobster, “pappa al pomodoro”, ricotta and lovage, Anguilla di Orbetello (the town close to Porto Ercole, famous for this kind of fish), duck and parmigiana.
A special place where to taste the sea at zero km.
Ivan Silvestri is the chef patron of Alicina Hosteria, a little veranda right in the center of the Tuscan village, close to the harbor. Even Chiara Ferragni and her sisters chose to eat in this small and cozy restaurant. Silvestri’s devotion led him to be mentioned in the Gambero Rosso, L’ Espresso, and Michelin guides. Alicina’s winery has more than 300 labels, “because the customer needs to be at the top” – claimed the owner – including Bellavista and Corion Charlemagne. The menu varies throughout the year following the philosophy of ” the sea at zero km”. All raw materials are bought at the fishmongers along Porto Ercole seafront. Therefore, the menu changes according to the season.
Silvestri is working on the products’ seasonality and a new dessert menu. Amongst his must-have, he mentions the “snowball” topped with vodka foam or the coconut, mango and lime cake. Amongst the main courses, there is “fusilli cacio e pepe” with bottarga, a dish that he presented on the occasion of Festa a Vico, organized by chef Gennarino Esposito. The dish was appreciated by the national food critic. Amongst the news of summer 2021, Silvestro mentions the delivery and takeaway.
A melting pot of cultures and love for the land.
Il Ristorantino, a pearl of Costa d’Argento, is located in the town center in front of San Paolo della Croce Church. It is a spin-off of the Nobili Santi restaurant. The owners Paola Sclano and Bilel Mabrouk have refined their culinary expertise following Moreno Santi’s footsteps, one of the most beloved chefs in the area. In 2019, they decided to open Il Ristorantino, an eclectic and elegant gourmet restaurant.
Paola Sclano is from Porto Ercole, Bibel Mabrouk is from Tunisy, but adoptive Italian. From this cultural culinary mix, a varied menu comes out, but it always stays true to the Maremman tradition: a menu made of tradition, revisitation and originality.
The cuisine, simple but refined, is based on fresh seafood. But they also offer an excellent choice of meat dishes that satisfy any palate, from the starters to the main courses. The desserts are the restaurant’s flagship: the “cornucopia” filled with mascarpone and with crunchy waffle and berries or melted chocolate; the “croccantino”, a parfait with a crunchy hazelnut base and melted chocolate. The signature dish is “tagliolini with clams, shrimps and zucchini”, made with fresh egg pasta and a sauce with garlic, oil, parsley, clams, zucchini slices, and shrimps.
Chef in Town- a food and beverage column curated by
Intl Editor Francesca Romana Riggio