The air in the San Bernardino Mountains is intoxicating. It adds to the overall experience of everything you do, including the food and drinks. You do have to be a bit careful when you are just getting into town. The elevation is 5,203 feet, so you do feel a bit light headed and have to get used to the altitude. Drinking a lot of alcohol is not recommended, and of course drink tons of water is good for the altitude difference and avoiding altitude sickness. I really limited my wine consumption during my first night in the mountains. They did a mini tasting of some of their delightful Italian red wines, but I opted for an overall light and fruity white wine, which just went so well with all of my delicious menu items. My overall experience was just fantastic.
Puglia Restaurant is named after the Puglia region in Italy, and is in the southeast of Italy, just by the sea. Its history goes back to the ancient Greek culture. They produce the best olive oil (winner for more than 200 years of the #1 Olive Oil in the world).
Here’s What I Tried:
Arugula Caprese and Burrata, fresh cherry tomatoes, olives, pink salt, fresh Puglia Style Burrata cheese, balsamic glaze imported from Modena Italy and EVOO*. They serve a pretty large portion, so it is a great dish to share. The burrata melts in your mouth and the olives and tomatoes are an excellent addition.
Spaghetti Zito, shrimp pasta sautéed with white wine and olive oil, adding tomatoes, Italian parsley, and roasted garlic. It is very simple, but just what the doctor ordered.
Melanzane alla Parmigiana, fresh thin sliced eggplant, Italian imported fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella, Grana Padano cheese, EVO* olive oil. This very well could be one of the best eggplant parmesans I have ever tasted. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but it is very very special and different from any other ones I have tasted.
Carbonara with bacon and Carbonara with zucchini, both are done as a table side show, and are the stars of the show for sure. They actually call it their Carbonara Show. They heat the already cooked spaghetti in a sauce pan table side and then it is tossed with egg, cheese in a hollowed out Pecorino Romano cheese wheel, so that the hot pasta catches some of the cheese in the cheese wheel and it blends with the other amazing ingredients, it is toped with guanciale. With the zucchini, which is, vegetarian, it is topped with very thinly sliced cooked zucchini and is just simply incredible. This dish is a staple in Rome, and it did not disappoint at Puglia’s in America!
Lamb Chops, 4 delicate lollipops with Italian seasoning, cooked to perfection, it doesn’t get any better then this dish.
Tiramisu Flambé, another show done on your table. They light the Tiramisu on fire and the whole desert just becomes melted and delicious.
Camarà Chardonnay, pale with notes of green apple and honeysuckle with a nice refreshing finish. This wine just went so great with everything I tasted.
There is no butter at all anywhere in the restaurant, and every ingredient is imported from Italy. Manager Davide Laera was my host and guide, he taught me so many things about Puglia, and beyond. It is just the best experience. Owner Antonello Zito is also a nutritionist, so everything is cooked with health in mind. He watched his Nonna cook starting at 8 years old; he has super fond memories in the kitchen as a child with his family. Puglia in Blue Jay is so successful that he just opened another restaurant called Palmina by Puglia in Palm Springs this past January, I am excited to do a tasting there soon.
There are also handmade products like red sauce for sale at the restaurant, I was so fortunate to be gifted one while I was there, and I can’t wait to try it.
The atmosphere is very inviting, part Chalet, and part Osteria, but all Italian. So much personality and charm goes into the dining experience at Puglia. The gal that started out my great experience was Erika from Palos Verdes, who has only been working at Puglia for 2 months; she was super enthusiastic about the food and life in general. I did bring some guests who were just awestruck by the food and allure. You just feel like you walked into a magical land of libation that will captivate and stay with you for a very long time. I highly recommend this lovely dining experience and say instead of getting on a plane to Rome, just drive up to the San Bernardino Mountains for the night. Book into a local hotel and enjoy the romance of Italy in Blue Jay California.
26848 Hwy 189
Blue Jay, CA.