In the unassuming sleepy town of Putignano, Puglia you’ll find Ristorante Angelo Sabatelli, a fantastic one Michelin starred restaurant.
Chef Angelo Sabatelli fell in love with food and cooking as a child and has fond memories of homey traditional Puglian dishes. He attended culinary school at the young age of 13 and was eager to learn as much as possible. While he loved school, he was also busy working in kitchens and had a hard time balancing school and work. Once finishing school, he entered a cooking competition in his hometown of Monopoli and actually got first place which made him the youngest cook to ever win. Chef Angelo worked in Rome for a bit before traveling abroad where he worked at hotels in Indonesia, Shanghai, and Mauritius. From his experience abroad and learning about different cuisines and cultures, he brought this knowledge back home and opened his own restaurant in 2011 in his hometown. By 2013, the restaurant had earned a Michelin star and in 2017 he moved his restaurant to Putignano.
Almost every fine dining restaurant we’ve visited in Italy start off with grissini.
The refreshing welcome drink was a tomato and watermelon concoction.
The tasting menu started with an array of amuse bouches that showcased technique yet flavors were not lost.
A thin veil of raw cuttlefish covered other parts of the cuttlefish such as the tentacles and small cubes of the body. The various textures of the cuttlefish went from soft to crunchy and the light essence of almond and lemon were nice touches.
We loved this exquisite pillowy warm milk bread that was lacquered in a sticky fig must and sprinkled with cumin seeds. So delicious especially dipping it in the local olive oil from the region.
This had all the classic flavors of the favorite Italian dish, bruschetta, but refined and elevated. Cremoso di Ricotta Forte is a type of traditional cheese from the region that’s creamy and is stronger in flavor with hints of bitterness. It was topped with small pieces of grilled bread and tomatoes prepared multiple ways.
Perfectly tender cauliflower was placed upon a smooth bean cream with pungent black garlic and bay leaf oil. I would have liked even more of that intense funky black garlic taste.
I didn’t eat the original version of this dish (this is Tommaso’s plate) since it had mushrooms.
My version of the dish omitted the mushrooms and was garnished with fresh lettuce. All the other components remained the same where the chicken croquette was crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside.
Troccoli is a type of thick spaghetti pasta that’s typical in this region. Their version called “troccolino in bianco” was superb where the pasta was perfectly al dente and the flavors of sweet tomatoes, tangy Mozzarella buttermilk, and aromatic basil all harmoniously came together.
Their semolina bread was made from a mother yeast which imparts that sourdough flavor which I love.
Bottoni, which translates to “buttons”, were tiny cute ravioli stuffed with a rich beef filling. The cream made from Canestrato, another local cheese, had sweet and delicate flavors with a slight tang. Impeccable.
The last savory course was unctuous braised veal cheek that melted in your mouth. What’s not to love?!
Little morsels of delicious agnolotti pasta accompanied the veal cheek.
Velvety mashed potatoes were another accompaniment of the veal cheek.
Silky salted caramel gelato was placed on top of a warm chocolate pudding that was studded with pieces of candied grapefruit that cut through the richness and sweetness of the dessert.
Our meal ended with petit fours ranging from mini lemon madeleines, passionfruit and chili pâte de fruit, dulce de leche caramels, and tartlettes with cinnamon and milk chocolate.
What we loved the most about Ristorante Angelo Sabatelli was that while the presentation was gorgeous and impressive, every bite was delicious. Sometimes at fine dining restaurants, technique and creativity override flavor and for us, flavor will always be the most important factor. We did get “the classics” versus “extra-territorial emotions” tasting menu which could be deemed as a safer option. Perhaps if we did get the experimental tasting menu, maybe our experience would have been different. Regardless, Ristorante Angelo Sabatelli was one of our favorite fine dining experiences during our entire trip so my rating is an 8.5-9/10.