Ristorante Da Nico in Matera, Italy

Updated: Mar 16


Believe it or not, I discovered the restaurant I’m going to tell you about today on a 9-hour flight from Italy to New York. I was stuck in the middle seat, feeling chatty (since there was no way I was going to sleep) so the lucky co-passenger to my left named Luca got to hear me gush over how much I love Italy and all the places I’d been.

When I got around to Matera, he perked up and said “Oh! You must go back and meet my brother! He has a restaurant in the historic center, in the sassi.” Fast forward 1.5 years and I had a table reserved and waiting for myself and Agita, Creative Edge Travel’s marketing assistant.

Luca had described Ristorante da Nico as authentic Lucana cuisine, slightly elevated and creative but with refined respect to traditional flavors and ingredients.

“I like to create new recipes but also to repeat the recipes that my grandmother taught to my mother, which brought me this passion for culinary art.”

-Chef Nico


An array of dishes arrived- grilled eggplant, piped ricotta drizzled with honey, a sort of Italian gazpacho with bread and tomatoes, mini zucchini frittatas, and peperoni cruschi (sun dried and flash fried mild peppers, a unique and delicious specialty of the local Lucana cuisine). And that was just the first course!

Next there were the polpette, a sort of “meatless meatball” made of bread crumbs and cheese, swimming in delicious marinara. And then there were the pasta dishes, so unique and different from the pasta I’m used to in Italy. One was wide tubes of pasta with a basil baccalà and chickpea sauce. Delicious!

The other was like thick fettuccini noodles doused in a colorful sauce made of local caciocavallo cheese, sprinkled with crunchy peperoni cruschi flakes. Dessert was an absolutely amazing chocolate torte. My mouth still waters as I think about it!