With a location in the Italian region of Puglia right on the Adriatic Sea, it stands to reason that the seafood scene in Bari is beyond excellent. And even when you expect it to be top-notch, the seafood restaurants and markets never seem to disappoint.
The main tourist area of Old Town (Bari Vecchia), near Bari Centrale, is chock full of seafood restaurants and Italian restaurants that invariably serve some of the freshest seafood you’ve ever tasted. Since most tourists stick to this general area in their travels, we’ll predominantly focus on this area as well.
While it’s safe to say that seafood lovers won’t go hungry near Bari Centrale, there are also great things to do here. As you explore the Old Town, with its Basilica St. Nicholas, Norman-Swabian Castle, and bustling piazzas, don’t forget to think about your luggage. It’s no fun lugging it around with you to attractions and restaurants, so check it with a Bari Centrale bag storage service like Bounce for a few hours or even a few days. Then you can thoroughly enjoy the city unencumbered.
Here is a list of the best seafood places near Bari Centrale:
Fish & Chips
Probably the closest seafood option to the station, Fish & Chips named the restaurant so that you know exactly what you’re getting when you walk inside. This is the perfect spot to head for a seafood-based snack before or after your train. This is a no-frills joint that focuses on the food rather than the atmosphere, and it’s very small. You’ll likely want to grab your food to go and dine al fresco in the nearby gardens of Piazza Umberto I.
Ristorante La Pesciera
A little further from the station towards the heart of Old Town is Ristorante La Pesciera. The nautical decor is a nod to the Adriatic Sea, and in addition to acting as a conventional restaurant, they also have a sales counter where you can buy fresh seafood. This is ideal if you have a kitchen in your vacation rental and can prepare your own meals.
The freshness of the seafood is unparalleled here, and the owners have over 50 years of experience in the fish and restaurant industries. From the menu, expect to see things like oysters, sushi and sashimi, raw seafood platters, and fried seafood treats. Particular favorites include the tuna meatballs and fried cod.
Bari Seafood Market (Fisherman’s Market)
For a casual setting right on the waterfront, you can’t beat this quaint market. Don’t expect any real place to sit and enjoy what you buy here. But what you should expect is fresh seafood, friendly service, and cold beer.
The specialty of the market is the sea urchins, among other things, and ordering a plate of these spiny echinoderms promises a delicious meal and some excellent photo ops. Everything you order will come straight from the sea that morning, and some great options, other than the sea urchins, are the octopus, oysters, and shrimp.
Once you make your selection, head towards a bench on the Lungomare to dine with a view of the water and the tops of famous landmarks like St. Nicholas Basilica or anywhere else you fancy eating (as long as what you’re eating is meant to be consumed raw, of course).
Also on the Lungomare close to Fisherman’s Market, La Battigia is almost the polar opposite of its neighbor, except when it comes to seafood freshness. Here, you can order everything from seafood risotto to fried fish to seafood pasta, all prepared expertly, and the meals can be enjoyed in La Battigia’s elegant dining room instead of on a concrete barrier outside.
When you dine here, try to get a table at the front of the restaurant for the best views of the Lungomare and the water beyond. This is a great restaurant to celebrate events or impress your date – the white tablecloths and beautiful plates say it all.
Frisc & Mang Bari
This friggitoria/fish house is located deep in Old Town, about a 15-minute walk north of Bari Centrale. A friggitoria is a shop that specializes in fried food, and Frisc & Mang is one of the best seafood friggitorias around.
On the menu, you’ll find lots of entries for fried seafood, including shrimp with pasta, octopus, and various kinds of fish. Sandwiches are popular for lunch here, and although it’s a little on the pricey side, you’ll definitely walk away satisfied with your meal. Add this place to your itinerary if you’re exploring Old Town and want to stop for a quick bite rather than a long and drawn-out meal. But if you do want a multi-course lunch or dinner, they have that too.
If you’re not a fan of oysters, you should probably give this one a pass. But if you enjoy these versatile mollusks, head to Oyster Bari to get your fix. Found about three blocks north of the Giardini Piazza Umberto I near Bari Centrale, this oyster bar has a great selection and inventive cocktails to pair with your meal.
The restaurant has a cozy vibe, and although they tend to focus on oysters, they also offer seafood like octopus and an overall mix of Japanese and Mexican food. Yes, here you can have tacos with your oysters.
A word of caution with this restaurant/bar, though, the portions are quite small, so order an extra dish or plan on this place as more of a snacking spot than a restaurant for an elaborate and filling meal.
Seafood in Bari
Can you really say you’ve been to Bari if you don’t try the seafood? With so many choices here, from casual to fancy, coupled with markets for fresh ingredients or takeaway food, there’s no excuse not to indulge in a meal or two. Honestly, it’s harder to avoid than find near Bari Centrale!