This could be sub-titled "Always listen to the local advice, particularly if you have a good feeling about the advisors"
The orata (sea-bream), served with fresh seasonal vegetables - see below.
Driving into Ravenna town center had been strenuous, even with the aid of SatNav. Like a lot of historic towns in Italy, Ravenna relies on a series of one-way streets to direct the traffic through ever narrower roadways. Our accommodation had no parking facilities, but had recommended a parking garage very nearby. Well, not a garage in any regular sense, it was actually a jam-packed, secure parking lot at the end of a narrow alley. We were pondering the wisdom of leaving our very new car there, when we realized it was too late to turn back. At least two other cars had positioned themselves behind us and, the drivers, knowing the drill, had legged it, leaving the keys in the cars for the manager to shuffle around in this very tight space. We took a deep breath, squared our collective shoulders and did the same. I am happy to say that the car was returned to us 24 hours later, in mint condition.
The B&B we had booked was a large palazzo virtually across the road from the car park and just on the edge of the historic center, so perfectly positioned. I don't normally give plugs for places we've stayed at in this column, but hosts and owners Fabio and Alessandra just went out of their way to be as welcoming and helpful as they could. As we were only there for one day, we wanted to make the most of every minute and knew we would want a good dinner at the end of an active day. Not knowing the town at all, we decided to ask our friendly hosts for a seafood restaurant recommendation - local knowledge is always worth tapping into.
The decor of Osteria del Tempo Perso had a jazz theme with photos and books on world famous musicians. We arrived at 8.00pm, the earliest restaurants want to open even on cold winter nights, after a short walk from the palazzo. We were the only people in the restaurant, but it was a Tuesday night. Usually, we avoid restaurants that have few customers, especially in Italy. So we were not entirely convinced that it would be a great dining experience as we placed our orders with a very professional and serious waitress.
But by the time our first course arrived, the restaurant was half full; it was soon totally packed out with a lively crowd of enthusiastic diners of all ages. And the food was amazing.
As we live in a landlocked province, we indulged in fish. I started with squid and the tall guy (TTG) went for prawns. My squid was good but the prawns - well I didn't get to taste them as that is just too difficult to hack a piece off a prawn - but they looked sensational.
Next TTG went for frittura mista, an Italian fish fry up. And I had orata (sea bream). Both dishes were excellent and generous quantities. Despite the fact that we had been well fed, we were tempted to have dessert, possibly not a wise choice. There was nothing wrong with the dessert, but three courses are too much sometimes.
...too much, but we ordered anyway! Full steam ahead, and damn the torpedoes!
Already we are planning a return visit to Ravenna, to the lovely Casa Masoli and to this same osteria. $$2½ on cost; the restaurant falls between the "pub/bar/café" and "fine-dining" descriptors. It would probably be wise to book, either by phone, or calling in person earlier in the day, if you are planning an evening meal in "high season".
Address: Via Gamba, 12
Zip/Post Code: 48100
Location Tips: centro storico
Phone: +39 0544 21 53 93
N/A = home cooked meal,etc
$ = street food, fast food,etc
$$ = bistro, cafe, pub, bar,etc
$$$ = fine dining,etc