The historic residence of Palazzo Malaspina and its stables have been converted into one the most charming restaurants in the heart of Ascoli Piceno. Enter through its covered passageway, and discover an atmosphere that enchants, whether you dine in the handsome, rustic interior of the converted 17th century stables, or in the enclosed garden courtyard, softly illuminated to hint at romance. Upstairs in what was the piano nobile of the palazzo, are private dining rooms, one of which is the Salone delle battaglie with exquisite vaulted, frescoed ceilings. Here private parties as well as business or ceremonial banquets can be arranged.
We dine at a corner window table from which we can admire the lovely garden or the large stone wood-burning camino in the adjacent room where one of the cooks skillfully grills the meats. The cestino of Ascoli-fried specialties is superb – the traditional fried Ascoli olives nestled among batter-fried artichoke hearts, zucchini and cremini are crisp and savory. To have them along side a platter of famous Norcina salumis is the ultimate indulgence. The house MaccheroniciniScuderie, features the tartufo nero and local sausage. Finally, we get to taste the mouth-watering lamb chops that we witnessed being grilled. A hearty red wine, Rosso Piceno, from neighboring vineyards is perfect for our cena ascolana.
Guido Manocchio, the owner, is an accountant by profession and a restaurateur by passion. He is a man who lives up to his name. I suggested to him that he did indeed put his hand and his eye into creating and opening this restaurant. “And my wallet too!” he quipped. I have no doubt that his investment will reap many rewards – it has all the right ingredients – great food prepared by a fantastic chef, a well-trained staff, and a captivating ambience.