Isabella Poti

Isabella Poti is head chef and partner of Michelin-starred restaurant Bros in Lecce, Puglia; a small historic city in Italy’s heel often labelled the “Florence of the South”. The young pastry chef and sometimes-fashion-model from Rome was named by Forbes magazine as one of its “30 under 30” in 2017, and has also featured as a guest chef on the televised cooking competition, Masterchef Italy.

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My Daily Bread

There is a coffee shop in Lecce where I go almost every day called Caffè Cittadino. It’s in the historic centre, very close to Piazza Sant’Oronzo. Caffè Cittadino is a place I am very fond of. It’s closer to a café than a place to eat, but it has a small menu of very high quality products to enjoy with aperitifs. A few steps from Piazza Sant’Oronzo, is Ristorante Semiserio, which has an excellent offer of local and seasonal products with a balanced wine list.

Where To Enjoy Beautiful Local Dishes

When I’m not in the kitchen and have some free time, I love to eat at Mamma Lupa, a small restaurant close to Bros where we eat great and fast bruschetta (sliced toasted bread topped with local ingredients).

I also love Mani in Pasta, a panetteria (Italian bakery) that offers typical dishes of Salento, like polpette al sugo (tomato meatballs) and pizza di patate (potato pizza). Here you can also try a very typical dish from Lecce called le fave con le cicureddre which is a delicious plate of mashed broad beans with boiled chicory.

Fresh Seafood By The Seaside

For lunch go to Taverna Del Porto, on the harbour in Tricase – a little place in the deep south – where you can eat really good and fresh fish.

If we want to go near the Ionian sea – part of the Mediterranean Sea – we go to Le Macare in Alezio, where the chef uses the most exclusive ingredients.

Where To Find The Gourmands

L’Altro Baffo – located in the coastal town of Otranto – is an elegant place for gourmets. Here you’ll find super fresh, delicious fish.

Classic Flavours In The Countryside

If I’m going to the countryside, I like to enjoy the taste of more classic flavours at restaurants like Le Stanzie in Supersano and Lilith in Struda, a small village near Lecce.

A Trattoria To Call Home

In 2018 we opened Roots Trattoria in Scorrano, a county 30km from Leece and where Floriano [Pellegrino; husband and partner] and I live. It’s a beautiful place with a cosmopolitan team of young chefs under 30, headed by Japanese chef Yuta Bise. Everything is closely linked to the territory. It strives to carry on the Salento tradition with technique and awareness. It’s a place open every day for lunch and dinner, with two food menus from 30 or 50 euros.

Guide last updated March 2020

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Isabella Poti

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