Last night I ate dinner with Babs Valente and her mother and stepdad at Apricus Osteria & Bar in Apricale, known as the most beautiful village in Italy. I had met Chef Babs in the village two days prior, and recognized her South African accent, despite her now living near Boston, when not visiting her mother in Italy.

At the Village Square dinner on Tuesday evening I saw Babs for the second day running, and she invited me to join her with her parents at what she called the best restaurant in Apricale, with the Ligurian-style dishes made from the freshest local produce, and far more reasonably priced than the restaurants on the Village Square. The restaurant faces the green valley below, and onto the houses clinging onto the rockface. 

It was clear that Babs’ parents are well-known in the restaurant, even if they do not speak perfect Italian. It probably is their local, and in the bill at the end it reflected that their regular custom led to the waiving of charging for some of the dishes. I loved the luxury of a thick big linen napkin, and good quality cutlery.

Bread was brought to the table in a paper bag, and Babs ordered an antipasto platter, a colorful collection of beetroot, warm olives (delicious), tapenade, sundried tomatoes, artichokes, rocket, beans, polenta parcels, and a slice of cheese (€11), which we shared. 

When Babs first recommended Apricus to me, before we had arranged to eat there together, she had recommended that I try the Burrata and peach salad, with basil, and a drizzle of balsamic (Burrata con Le Pesche). It was delicious, the Burrata soft and creamy, and the peaches sweet and sunny! The salad cost €8 on the Specials list. Babs and her mom each ordered the Wiener Schnitzel and chips, also on the Specials list, at €12. The third item on the Specials list was Ravioloni con Pomodoro fresco e Basilico, at €10. 

Stepdad John ordered Pesto Pasta with Parmesan (€7,50). Babs ordered a side salad of cherry tomatoes, basil, balsamic, and
olives, and it looked beautifully fresh. 

Orher dishes on the standard menu include rabbit Ligurian style (€10), steak (cut and size not specified) at €16, vegetarian Ligurian pasta (€9), butter and Sage ravioli (€8), charcuterie platter (€10), a cheese selection (three for €9, five for €12), and Vitello Tonnato (€10). A Caprese salad costs €8, and the Insalata Apricus €9. 

For dessert Babs insisted that I share her fig tart and ice cream, when I told her that I love figs. I have never seen fig slices in a tart, and enjoyed each mouthful. John had a lemon sorbet, served in a bubbly glass. My dry cappuccino solo schiuma was perfectly made, Apricus being the bar in which I had ordered it on Tuesday evening. I was not charged for the coffee, for no reason at all, other than kindness! I loved the ‘wallpaper’ on the wall in the bar, being pages from books!

Apricus Osteria & Bar, Via Roma 42a, 18035 Apricale. Cell +39 184 208643 

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein