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On one of my first Italian ‘eating’ trips with Richard, he insisted we pass through Viareggio just so we can go to Trattoria il Gabbiano and have their ‘carbonara di mare’. It wasn’t exactly in the direction we were travelling, we had to drive around an hour out of route so I was a bit annoyed, but went along with it anyway…

We walked into the restaurant which is a very local restaurant and nothing fancy at all. A very very basic restaurant. I don’t even think there were menu’s. You can order the plate of starters, or just go directly for the plate of carbonara di mare (seafood carbonara). I would suggest you skip the starters and go directly for the real thing. Not because the starters are bad, but only because you don’t want to waste your appetite!

Depending on how many people you order the dish for, it either comes on a plate or on a tray or on an even bigger tray. This plate was one of the most delicious things I ever tasted! After one bite all I could do was smile! This was the moment I fully trusted Richard as a proper ‘foodie’ and from then on trusted him whenever he recommended a restaurant, or insisted we travel a few hours by car just to go taste a specific dish.

The restaurant is quite funny. You will see groups of people there talking happily, but as soon as this massive plate of carbonara di mare arrives, the whole table goes silent. And remains silent until everyone finishes eating. This is how seriously everyone here in Italy takes their food! The one time we went there we saw these 2 macho men sitting there having a big fat conversation. A massive tray of carbonara arrives and they go silent. They both start eating DIRECTLY FROM THE TRAY and I swear, not a single word came out of their mouths until they finished every last bite on that massive tray. Then they just looked at each other totally satisfied, and carried on their conversation…..

We have gone several times since that first visit, the last time I was there was when I was very pregnant with Gaja. I cannot wait to take my girls there soon and see how they will react to this dish as well!

If you are ever in the area, or within a reasonable distance to Viareggio, I highly recommend you stop by!

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Trattoria il Gabbiano
Via Michele Coppino, 161, 55049 Viareggio (LU), Italy
+39 0584 384400