It’s just your typical elongated yellow house with a lawn out front, a wide porch, a cozy living room with fireplace along one wall, and eclectic paintings and souvenirs filling the walls and shelves. It could be a home, anywhere. Instead, it is a restaurant just off the A11 autostrada. Other than all the seafood on the menu, you would have no idea that you were just a few short kilometers from the bright and shiny seafront esplanade of Viareggio.
Tourists aren’t going to come to this off-the-beaten-track restaurant in an industrial part of town; but at lunch locals pack all the tables for excellent seafood at good prices. The lunch special offers seafood pasta for 10 euro or a main dish plus side for 15 euro, with water, coffee, and cover included.
Tables fill promptly, with a steady rotation of guests. Pasta options include Macheroni alla Trabaccolara, a regional specialty which originally used the small leftover cuts of fish; but today combines small chopped bits of seafood with a bit of tomato, a hint of chili and lots of chopped parsley. It is a simple, straightforward dish that lets the flavor of the fish, and the just barely firm texture of the wide flat noodles shine. (See their recipe here.)
Other options include potato gnocchi with scampi or an Amatriciana di Mare with pancetta, tomato sauce and tuna. The only non-seafood option is potato ravioli, another Tuscan specialty, but this one from inland. Seconds, include a very popular Fritto Misto with a mound of lightly fried calamari and French fries, or an equally popular Insalata di Mare with a bright mesclun salad topped with a light balsamic vinaigrette and just warmed shellfish, including prawns, calamari and a langoustine.
Wines are selected for the seafood fare, with a few local maremma reds and a generous list of northern Italian whites which pair optimally with the food. House wine costs 3 euro a glass or 4 for a quarter liter, and a half carafe is also available. Small glass pitchers of the house sparkling wine are the ideal accompaniment for a sunny summer seafood lunch.
In nice weather, tables fill the porch, while inside the eclectic dining room is warm and cozy, decorated with a mix of random paraphernalia including an American flag in one corner, and a modern ship in another.
Get It!: Macheroni alla Trabaccolara (Fisherman’s Pasta)
Signature Dishes: Macheroni all Trabaccolara (Fisherman’s Pasta)
Via Bocchette, 1, Loc. Cateratte. www.trattoriananni.it. Tel: +39 0584 45250. Closed Monday