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Calabria Report: Le Castella and Ciro' Marina

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We recently spent a couple of weeks along the Ionian coast in Calabria in the area around Crotone, an area that gets no coverage at all here on Chowhound. Here are a few food highlights.

Paccheri with Swordfish and Mint at Da Mario, Le Castella

Mixed seafood antipasto at Da Mario, Le Castella

The top right shell has the best octopus salad I have ever had in my life - completely soft and not rubbery, sweet, and in a perfectly balanced marinade. It's ruined me for octopus salad forever. Also pictured are shrimp in pink sauce, various fritters, and smoked tuna on an orange slice.

Fried Shrimp & Calamaria at Da Mario, Le Castella

Mixed antipasto at Max, Ciro' Marina

This restaurant closed and re-opened in a new location last year. Everything was fresh, local and delicious as always though. Best things to try are wild mushrooms from the nearby Sila region, nduja, sardella, and the local salumi in this photo.

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  1. Thanks much for the review, and a reminder that many good things can be found south of Naples and north of Sicily. What did you like in Ciro Marina? We'll be back in Calabria next year after a few years, and might head up the Ionian that way.

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    1. re: bob96

      Hi Bob96 - that's great! My in-laws live there. The restaurant I mention above, Max, is good. But the very best of the region is up the hill in Ciro' Superiore, it's called Aquila d'Oro. There is no menu, the owner makes whatever is local and fresh. Look for mushrooms and potatoes from the Sila mountain range, and plenty of spicy homemade sausages. Their housemade fennel amaro is also excellent.

      If you're looking for something cheap and casual in Ciro' Marina, Pizzeria Pepitos near the waterfront has the best pizza in area, really more like focaccia farcita. They have fried calzones for only one euro each.

      For gelato, there are two gelaterias right on the small main piazza that are very good, making everything in house - one on the corner that you can't miss, in front of the church, and then one closer the to waterfront side called Gelateria Kevin.