In Leuca there’s a really delicious place

24Re is the name of Ivano Seclì and his wife Giusy’s bistro by the sea. There’s something about a tuna hanging in the fridge at home

01-05-2017

Giusi Ruberti and Ivano Seclì, the two souls and engines behind 24Re in Santa Maria di Leuca, the furthest point of Salento, and therefore of Italy, on the Adriatic ridge. Here the Adriatic and Ionian Seas meet, to be precise in Punta Méliso with its shrine and lantern

 

24Re that is to say «Il Bistrò sul mare» [the bistro by the sea] as Ivano Seclì and his wife Giusy Ruberti wrote on the restaurant’s business card. I was lucky enough to see it as it was born, on the promenade of Leuca, Santa Maria di Leuca to be precise, where Italy has one of its extreme points, so much so the basilica is dedicated to Santa Maria de finibus terrae.

Ivano and Giusy, originally from Salento, are on the opposite side of the shrine, the lantern and Punta Méliso. They’re close to Punta Ristola, a place where if you don’t stop to watch the sunset it’s a mortal sin. After the last roundabout on the Ionian coastal road, a few hundred metres and the Adriatic Sea breaks in. They are by the first slope, a short stone staircase, the same for Lido Giulia. Info and reservations on +39.334.9884955, e-mail info@24releuca.it.

Go there for their raw fish, for the catch and to relax. Forget about pasta and first courses in general. The space is too small for Giusy to manage them, taking also into account the kindness and patience that are typical of summer tourists. It’s already enough that they managed to set a steam oven before Easter. Expecting more would be silly.

Ivano was born in 1984, a talented footballer but with little breath, a graduate in Environmental Engineering from Modena though he soon put his studies aside «because I saw graduates with honours who couldn’t find a job». He worked in the concert industry until 2008, then moved back south and met the person who was to open a new seaside resort on the rocks in Felloniche. You just had to like him. Whether in person or on the phone, his welcome was the same, marked by a lively voice: «Thank you for choosing Bagni Marinelli. My name is Ivano, how can I help you?».

Giusy instead was a worker in Bern, Switzerland. She spent ten years in a shoe factory, coming home for the holidays. «I liked preparing cocktails, so in the summer I’d work in a bar open until late. How did we meet? At night, those like me, or him, who finished worked late, went to have a drink in San Gregorio and one morning at 4 Ivano, acting the playboy, saw I was alone and approached the table asking me if he could sit. Less than two years later we were married».

FRISCOUS® that is to say couscous made with frisa recently arrived at 24Re. It is the result of years of research with local products and high quality producers who could make the innovative idea of presenting a product capable of enhancing and joining the tradition of Salento with that of the Mediterranean Sea. This is how Gaele, +39.328.3065446, gaelesrl@libero.it, was born. It’s a firm with headquarters in Ruffano, in the heart of Salento, that created the start-up that made it possible to continue this project with semolina and durum wheat flour cultivated in Apulia. The ingredients also include turmeric. In the photo, a first idea: Friscous ceviche with blue tailed fish, onions and green pepper

FRISCOUS® that is to say couscous made with frisa recently arrived at 24Re. It is the result of years of research with local products and high quality producers who could make the innovative idea of presenting a product capable of enhancing and joining the tradition of Salento with that of the Mediterranean Sea. This is how Gaele, +39.328.3065446, gaelesrl@libero.it, was born. It’s a firm with headquarters in Ruffano, in the heart of Salento, that created the start-up that made it possible to continue this project with semolina and durum wheat flour cultivated in Apulia. The ingredients also include turmeric. In the photo, a first idea: Friscous ceviche with blue tailed fish, onions and green pepper

The dream of one became the dream of the other: a place of their own. In 2013, the first location. As her severance pay, Giusy got the keys to a garden with a gazebo in the heart of Leuca. Aperitifs, bubbles and raw fish, a religion in Apulia. The following summer they moved to the current place. And they have no intention ever to stop: «Our heart is in Punta Ristola, there’s a place that sooner or later will see us as main characters».

She’s behind the scenes, he’s in the first row. «Ivano urges me to dare. I’m never sure of what I do, so he places me in front of decisions I cannot question. The first year he added raw fish to the drinks, the following summer he decided there had to be tuna. One morning I wake up, open the fridge at home to make breakfast and guess what? There’s tuna, hanging in one whole piece, its blood dripping! I had never cleaned a fish, but you learn. So little by little I became more confident until I understood I could become a cook».

Leuca as seen on the eve of Easter of 2017 from the stairs that take you from Lungomare Cristoforo Colombo to 24Re

Leuca as seen on the eve of Easter of 2017 from the stairs that take you from Lungomare Cristoforo Colombo to 24Re

Ivano has the instinct and the energy of the perfect dining room man who gives energy to the kitchen too: «I always say that if I don’t immediately like a dish, it’s best not to pay attention to the person who created and prepared it. My points of reference? Two: Cannavacciuolo because he doesn’t treat his team members as slaves and knows that without a motivated team he would go nowhere and Bastianich. Nobody like Joe knows how to make money from restaurants».

Last question: what will your near future be like? Ivano: «More red wines in the list». Giusy: «A few first courses».


Sections

Affari di Gola di Paolo Marchi

A mouth watering page, published every Sunday in Il Giornale from November 1999 to the autumn of 2010. Stories and personalities that continue to live in this website