Brunch generally isn't a thing in Italy, so if you're in Bari and hoping to go out for a late breakfast-early lunch then you're going to have to be flexible on your choices of where you go and what you're going to tuck into.
Unless getting up late and going out for brunch was an unplanned event, you'll be much better off if you have a look at restaurant menus the day before. That way you'll know if there are any items on the menus that suit your brunch ideals or you could end up eating nothing more than a couple of cornetti washed down with an espresso.
Get to know the restaurants local to your accommodation in Bari and frequent them if you can. Why? While Italian meal times can be quite rigid, if the restaurant staff get to know you, they're more likely to overlook the fact you asked for a frittata at midday and still greet you with open arms.
You can't return that welcoming greeting if you're carrying bags with you. If you can't leave your bags at your hotel for some reason, could be you just checked out, leave your luggage at a Bounce luggage storage facility in Bari. They'll be safe and insured and you'll have both arms free to fend off any waiting staff who leans in to greet you with a kiss on each cheek.
Where To Get The Best Brunch In Bari
Get to know the eateries in the area where you're staying in advance of going out for brunch and you won't be limited to lining up for a slice of pizza al taglio to eat while wandering the streets.
Find the Paoletti Norcineria ToscoPugliese and you'll have found a brunch time treasure. This pork butcher-delicatessen located on Via Giulia Petroni makes one of the best stuffed ciabattas in Bari. They are literally enormous and filled to overflowing and make a great brunch dish.
The dining area has a rustic edge to it and is furnished with basic folding wooden chairs and tables so don't expect sophistication. That's not what this place is all about. Here you can get ciabattas filled with all kinds of Italian sausage, cured ham, and local cheeses with additional ingredients thrown on top like gherkins or sundried tomatoes.
The Paoletti Norcineria ToscoPugliese is well-known for the quality of its cooked meats like mortadella and salami which they serve sliced and layered on trays with a cheese. It's a cold meat feast that makes a good brunch if accompanied with bread and wine rather than coffee.
Tip: Beware of the lampredotto stuffed ciabatta. It's not a light breakfast and unless you can stomach stomach as your first of the day, you'll want to skip trying this one.
NB: If you are vegan or vegetarian this is not the brunch spot in Bari for you.
Gusteau is an unusual sort of bakery/buffet combination that you're unlikely to come across anywhere else but in Italy. This eatery and takeaway place on the Via Prospero Petroni is pretty unique and they're very happy to boast they serve Italian comfort food. And they do.
Don't sit down at one of the bar-style tables and chairs as this is counter service only. That's a good thing as you get to take a look at all of the hot and cold food that's available and choose something that's brunch-like for your meal.
At Gusteau they prepare both meat and vegetable dishes as well as stunning desserts, so if you have a sweet brunch tooth, they've got that covered too. If you're a vegetarian, the mozzarella balls and the orecchiette with broccoli rabe and lemon come highly recommended as do their Greek-style cheese and spinach pies.
If you're not vegetarian, then don't miss getting a chunk of fresh bread to dip in the sauce on a plate of meatballs. They beat burgers hands down any day and so do Gusteau’s arancini. Great for anyone is the frittata if you can get there before it's all gone. Finish off with a slice of homemade almond tart and an espresso and you'll have had the perfect brunch. If you're not going out for brunch, go for an afternoon sweet treat accompanied by your usual espresso drink and try to convince yourself you can justify the calories these top-notch sweets are adding to your daily intake.
If you went without breakfast to take a morning stroll along the Lungomare Imperatore Augusto doing some people-watching, it's understandable if you're looking for a brunch spot. That Adriatic sea air is enough to give anyone an appetite.
Just off the promenade on Largo Adua street, you'll find La Biglietteria. La Biglietteria is a very sophisticated bistro with superb contemporary décor that is quite used to windswept customers breezing in. If you feel underdressed for the posh interior, check out the terrace, you'll probably be more comfortable there.
The best brunch dishes at La Biglietteria are their club sandwiches which they prepare two ways, with meat or without, their special house fries, their fresh fruit bowls topped with yogurt, their Buddha bowls, and their very posh salads.
Mastro Ciccio is a must-go-to for brunch when you're in Bari. While they don't call what they serve brunch, it's ideal brunch food.
You'll find Mastro Ciccio an easy stop if you've been visiting the museums in Bari as it's located on the Corso Vittorio Emmanuele.
The delicious food and drinks served here are as colorful as the owner. Be prepared to dive into traditional Puglian dishes created with exceptional flair. Top choices for brunch here would be orecchiette pasta with dates and ricotta plus panzerotti which is a type of pasty (or pocket) big enough to stall even Dwayne Johnson's appetite.
If you want to try a selection of local treats for brunch, you can do that here by choosing one of their combination menus that includes a refreshing drink. If you're on a gluten-free diet, don't despair, they prepare a special gluten-free combo and plenty of vegan options too.
Frulez is a modern restaurant on the Piazza Umberto that serves amazing vegetarian and vegan brunches as well as brunches suitable for meat-eaters. It’s a good go-to brunch place if you’ve been shopping in Bari and found yourself famished.
It'll be a pleasurable wake-up to brunch under the arched stone ceiling and amid the colorful décor of Frulez. It's certainly bright and modern and so is the food they serve.
If poke bowls and sushi get your brunch juices flowing then this is where you should head. They also make a great range of naturally delicious fruit-infused smoothies if you need a big vitamin input to help you recover from the night before or something refreshing on hot days.
It's not all vegetarian at Frulez. They also prepare club sandwiches, salmon rice burgers, tuna carpaccio, and a variety of salads including one with octopus. For health-conscious visitors to Bari, Frulez is one of the best brunch spots in the city.
There's no debating that you can get wonderfully smooth espresso wherever you go in Italy, but some places make it even better than others and you don't need to go to the oldest cafés in town to get it
If your brunch itinerary includes a caffeine fix from either an espresso or a cafe latte accompanied by a sweet treat, you should head for a coffee shop called Mozart Caffe on the Via Melo. It's only about a five-minute walk from Bari Centrale Station, so you can grab a pick me up before boarding your train as well.
The Mozart Caffe has an exceptional pastry chef who creates beautiful sweet treats that will leave you drooling. They have some of the best croissants, or cornetti as they're called in Italian, that you'll come across in Bari.
If you didn't know that a smooth espresso and an Italian gelato is a great hangover cure, you'll find out here as they have an incredible array of flavors that you'll want to taste no matter what time of the day it is. It's not written in stone that you can't have ice cream for breakfast so make the most of the tasty opportunity.
The Western Village is an Italian anomaly as their menu is based on creative variations of Italian-American cuisine. It's a true rarity in this Mediterranean country so make the most of your chance to go there while you're in Bari.
The Western Village restaurant is located on Via Principe Amedeo a few blocks walk from the Piazza Umberto. Walk through the doors here and you'll be in a Wild West setting complete with storm lanterns and giant cacti.
You might not get greeted with a resounding yeehaw when you walk through the door, but you will get the chance to tuck into some good brunch grub. Whether or not they actually consumed pasta and pizza in the Wild West is a questionable fact, but spaghetti Westerns had to originate from somewhere.
At the Western Village, you'll be able to satiate any craving you might have for a big juicy brunch burger, a big steak cooked medium-rare on the grill, lamb shanks, or ham hocks braised in beer and that classic Wild West dish of pork and beans – cooked the Italian way.
NB: Don't plan on having too early a brunch as this restaurant doesn't open until midday. If you were hoping to get a plateful of American pancakes with maple syrup and bacon for brunch - keep hoping. You haven’t found them yet.
Unique Brunch Choices in Bari
La Cecchina is a restaurant in the Piazza Mercantile in the old town that opens for lunch service between twelve-thirty and three in the afternoon. It's not the ideal place to go for an early brunch so if you're thinking of going here you'll need to stave off the hunger pangs until after midday.
La Cecchina is not what you might call a typical brunch spot either. Unless you can handle eating typical ingredients from the Puglia region like fresh squid, sardines, prawns, seafood soup, squid ink tagliatelle, or grilled octopus for your late breakfast, you'd be best to find somewhere else. They make the caffeine jolt from a single espresso sound pretty easy to deal with.
It's a superb place for lunch or dinner though that serves high quality seafood as well as other good food so don't cross it off your agenda without trying it.
La Tana del Polpo
You'll more than likely come across La Tana del Polpo when you're walking around as it's located in one of the best places to stay in Bari, steps from the Lungomare, especially if you enjoy fresh seafood. That doesn't mean it's the ideal brunch spot, though.
There's no arguing that La Tana del Polpo rightfully deserves its excellent reputation. At this family-run restaurant they're experts at preparing traditional Italian cuisine with panache, but not brunch.
If you can handle an entire fish dished up on a platter with its head and eyes still intact for breakfast while you're sitting under the model of a giant octopus hanging from the ceiling, fair play to you. It'll make you feel like you're in a continuing nightmare if you mistakenly order squid ink spaghetti for your brunch. Let's face it, even Italians don't eat that for breakfast.
They do serve up some amazingly tasty seafood in their rustic-looking premises, but save this culinary experience for dinner and skip going there for brunch unless you enjoy making bad dreams a reality.
When you're in Bari and going out for brunch, the best thing you can do is forget the word brunch even exists in your vocabulary. Instead of walking into a restaurant and asking for brunch, try saying a couple of simple words in Italian like – mangiare, por favore, which basically means - I want to eat, please.
If you can learn to roll your r's then even better as you'll sound totally authentic. Don't try to do it when you're saying brunch though as it really doesn't work quite the same.
When you go out for brunch in Bari you will need to be a little open-minded about what you're likely to find. As mentioned previously, brunch still isn't really a thing in Bari or in Italy, but if you're flexible, there are ways around that stumbling block.
No, you won't find many, if any, restaurants or cafeterias in Bari, serving the classic brunch dishes like avocado on toast or pancakes, but why should they? It's Italy after all, and a stuffed ciabatta or a couple of arancini are a super substitute, so don't doubt in trying them. You won’t regret it.