Mr Porter Eats
Where To Eat The Best Seafood In The Med
From Corsica to Capri, here are the restaurants serving up fresh summer dishes with a side of spectacular scenery
Photograph courtesy of Karia Bel’
The wind in your hair, wine glass in your hand and an enormous pan of piping-hot paella making its way to the table. Nothing sums up summer like piling up seafood shells on a plate while staring out into the deep blue, all sticky-fingered. And nowhere has a selection quite like the Mediterranean. So whether you like your sea bass al sale (baked in salt) or a la plancha (grilled), here are MR PORTER’S top spots to gorge on the freshest shellfish and flakiest fish out there.
Left: Spilia. Photograph by Ms Lauren Luxenberg. Right: sea urchins. Photograph courtesy of Spilia
Mykonos has so many beach restaurants you could spend all week bouncing from one to another. But away from the beats of Scorpios, the buzz of Nammos and the chilled vibes of Alemagou, there is the recently refurbed Spilia, on the Agia Anna cove, in the south of the island. Built into the rocks, this is where you come to recover from a night of table dancing and ouzo shots by feasting on Mykonian specialities pulled straight out of the Aegean and kept in a natural rockpool, waiting to be dropped in the pot.
What to order: whatever is crawling around in the rockpool, from crabs to lobsters, urchins to oysters.
WHAT TO WEAR
La Fontelina, Capri
Left: La Fontelina. Photograph by Umberto D'Aniello. Right: fish of the day. Photograph by The Taste SF
Another day, another beach club. But this isn’t just any beach club. Capri’s finest is an artfully run-down shack of a restaurant with a thatched roof and a front-row seat of the Faraglioni monolith you see on all the postcards. What it lacks in swanky finishes, however, it makes up for in location. Reclining on a lounger, you can gawp as the have-yachts motorboat in for lunch while nibbling a plate of chef Mr Mario Gargiulo’s regularly changing menu. It’s only open until 4.30pm, but is well worth the 100m cliff descent to get there. And if you don’t happen to be sleeping at sea, go easy on the moscato so you can make the hike back up again.
What to order: the spaghetti al vongole and insalata di polpo are menu mainstays.
WHAT TO WEAR
Purobeach, Illetas, Mallorca
Photograph courtesy of Purobeach
For some reason, people write off Mallorca, assuming the Brits-abroad rowdiness of Magaluf is indicative of the rest of the Balearics’ biggest island. More fool them. Ninety-nine per cent of it is taken up by tumbling hills and golden fields, the mountains of Tramuntana in the north and the white sands of Es Trenc beach in the south. Not forgetting Palma itself, a Barcelona in miniature. Best of all, in all four corners you can find fresh squid and carabinero prawns, and the closest thing you’ll find to a full English is a yolky tortilla de patatas with a side of jamón ibérico. The latest arrival on the island is Purobeach, a beach club in a quiet cove where the King of Spain moors his boat. And boy, do we love a beach club here at MR PORTER. The table service, the shady parasols and shower-and-go-facilities mean you can go straight out to dinner or jump on a flight. At the foot of a limestone cliff, 20 minutes from the capital, the view’s not bad either.
What to order: deep-fried calamari in a chickpea batter, washed down with a fresa colada smoothie made with strawberries and coconut milk.
WHAT TO WEAR
Karia Bel’, Bozburun, Turkey
Left: spaghetti alle vongole. Photograph courtesy of Karia Bel’. Right: Karia Bel’. Photograph by Mr Michael Mohr/Redux/Eyevine
If the theory that all the best islands are the ones without airports holds water, the same logic could well extend to the very best restaurants being the ones without car parks. In other words, reachable only by boat. Getting to Karia Bel’ in the bay of Marmaris involves phoning the restaurant and having an all-in-white captain come and meet you at the nearby port of Bozburun before the 15-minute pootle across the bay. As you pull up to the series of pontoons, you’ll notice the white tables bobbing around on top of them. Sip a crisp glass of Turkish wine while watching the fish swim up to the illuminations underneath. This boutique hotel started out as a holiday home for owner Ms Beliz Üke before she starting taking paying guests in the 1980s. With five TripAdvisor certificates of excellence in the past five years, it’s a location ready for popping the question, and the food gets a thumbs up, too.
What to order: grilled octopus, grilled fish, basically anything fresh and grilled.
WHAT TO WEAR
Le Matahari, Corsica
Photograph by Mr Camille Moirenc
Is Corsica the Med’s best kept secret? With the Brits preferring to large it in the Balearics and the Greeks and Italians sticking to their own innumerable islands, the French really have the run of the place. It's so close to Sardinia you could swim across, and its character is a million miles away from the pumping discos of Porto Cervo. This is an island ripe for romance, with rocky mountain roads to explore, remote beaches to discover and restaurants, such as Le Matahari, right on the sand. At night they light torches which vie with the twinkling lights of nearby Calvi for attention. An ideal setting for eating and drinking, not to mention kissing – in Corsica, the standard greeting is five cheek pecks.
What to order: grilled scallops with seafood rice.
WHAT TO WEAR
La Scogliera, Sardinia
Left: La Scogliera. Right: Sardinian fregola with creamy lobster bisque, coral and zucchini flowers. Photographs by Mr Andrew Barker
Tucked away in the Maddalena archipelago – with rockpools and craggy hillsides, terracotta houses and sinister sea urchins – this trattoria-on-sea caters to the Italians who’ve been coming for generations and the Russians who have made the Costa Smeralda their summer playground. But they are all here for the same reason – the seafood pasta (there is even a gluten-free variety). The restaurant is pared down, all wooden tables and rattan chairs. Whether you’re dining on the covered sundeck or taking a post-prandial riposo, drink in the setting as the offshore breezes (which make this one of the sailing capitals of the Med) keep you cool.
What to order: pasta. Any kind. From tagliolino with squid ink sauce to fregola with lobster bisque (pictured).
WHAT TO WEAR
Illesteva Leonard Round-Frame Two-Tone Acetate Sunglasses
Oris Divers Heritage 65 Automatic 42mm Stainless Steel and Suede Watch
Miansai Anchor Leather Silver-Plated Wrap Bracelet
Maison Margiela Leather Billfold Wallet
Gucci Leather-Trimmed Monogrammed Coated-Canvas Messenger Bag
Diptyque Tam Dao Eau de Toilette - Rosewood, Cypress & Myrtle, 50ml