Who doesn’t love a good street food tour? In this post I will be showing you all of the Bari street food I sampled on my recent tour of Puglia, Italy in 2023.
The tour I booked was the Street Food Tour of Bari – by the Do, Eat, Better Experience. I joined as a solo traveller and had a great evening. This article gives a run down of the tour, including addresses and photos of all of the places visited, plus my verdict on each piece of street food tasted.
Please note this is not a sponsored post (none of my posts are), so you always know you are getting my honest and unbiased opinions.
I may earn a commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through my affiliate links.
Food in Bari
Bari is the capital of the Puglia region of Italy, which is renowned for its culinary traditions. The city offers a wealth of street food options, such as focaccia, fried seafood and homemade pizza, as well as wonderful seafood restaurants with Mediterranean-influenced offerings.
The city also boasts a vibrant nightlife scene with many bars, pubs and clubs. Local stalls selling homemade regional specialities like focaccia and panzanella are perfect for late-night snacking after your night out!
Further reading: 78 Delicious Dishes from Puglia, South Italy.
Street food in Bari is serious business, and there are hundreds of outlets competing to serve you the best street food in town. The tour guide from the Do, Eat, Better experience said it was their mission to find the best places to go for each item of Bari street food.
Bari street food tour.
Below is a run down of my tour, from start to finish. I’ll give you the tour booking link at various points throughout the article for your reference.
As a quick overview, here is the street food I sampled on the tour:
The tour began at 6pm at Piazza dell’Odegitria, which is a beautiful spot right next to the Norman castle of Bari.
The tour guide was late, but I have come to expect this in Puglia. Everything in this region moves at a slower pace… but this is fine, as it gives you more time to take everything in and enjoy your surroundings.
After some introductions, we took a short walk to the first stop which was in a little alleyway. There were 10 people on the tour, but this wasn’t a problem for the guide who was very capable and made time for each person. We passed the Cattedrale di San Sabino, which you can see in my photos above.
Further reading: How to Get to Bari by Plane, Boat, Bus, Train & Car.
Bari street food #1: focaccia Barese.
For our first Bari street food stop, we tasted typical Bari focaccia in one of the oldest bakeries in town, the Paneficio Fiore. This is widely known to produce the best focaccia in Bari.
Focaccia Barese is a delicious Italian flatbread that is made with flour, water, yeast, and salt. The dough is usually shaped into a round or oval shape before being baked in the oven. It has a crispy outer crust and soft inner crumb. The top of focaccia Barese can be topped with herbs, olives, tomatoes, onions and garlic.
I’m giving Focaccia Barese a solid 10/10. It was possibly the best focaccia I have had in my life… and I have had focaccia in Liguria, where it was invented!
But it is important to note that the two breads are quite different, and the reason I preferred the Bari focaccia was because it is thicker, more doughy and also crispier on the outside. Plus it was served with toppings.
Focaccia Genovese (from Liguria) is thinner, crispier, made with a different flour, and often seasoned just with sea salt and herbs. It is still delicious – but it’s definitely the focaccia Barese for me.
?Paneficio Fiore, Strada Palazzo di Città, 38, 70122 Bari BA, Italy.
After the focaccia, the tour went for a walk along Bari’s beautiful seafront and into the old town. The view was beautiful, and we spent some time taking it all in (and taking photos).
Bari street food #2 & 3: sgagliozze and popizze.
In the Piazza Mercantile, you can see Italian grandmothers frying polenta snacks in the streets of the old town, with the aroma of hot and freshly made polenta filling the air. Polenta fried in this way is called sgagliozze, and is a typical Bari street food.
Traditionally, this Bari street food is served with a variety of sauces such as sugo alla Pugliese, aioli or olive oil. It’s not only a delicious snack but also an important part of Bari’s cultural history. Polenta was once a staple dish in Bari’s home-cooked meals due to its affordability and convenience, and it continues to be enjoyed by locals today.
The kindly woman who fried our polenta has been working on this spot for 53 years, all day and night, frying up sgagliozze and popizze for hungry customers in Bari. For our next taste, she fried up some little pancakes (called popizze, but also known as pettole). These are little balls of dough served simply with salt, although they can also be filled with other ingredients.
I’m giving the popizze and sgafliozza a 6.5/10 each. They were nice, but very oily and salty. I like salty foods, but I’m not so keen on having a mouthful of oil. The tour guide did warn us it would be like having a mouthful of oil, so it wasn’t unexpected.
10/10 for the wonderful Italian grandmother who cooked them though.
For our next stop, we walked through the beautiful old town, and on to a place called Mastro Ciccio to try the famous Barese panzerotti and to get a drink. I was very thirsty by now, so it was good timing.
Bari street food #3: panzerotti
Panzerotti (plural) are a popular street food in Bari, Italy. A panzerotto (singular) is a fried calzone-like pocket filled with traditional ingredients such as tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and ham.
The dough of the panzerotti is made of flour, salt, yeast and water or beer.
Panzerotti have become an iconic snack in Bari all year round, and can be found at most pizzerias around the city. They are often eaten as a light lunch or dinner option by locals, usually accompanied by a glass of wine or other beverage. It’s also a popular late-night snack with young people after a night out.
I have to say, panzerotti are extremely difficult to eat. The tour guide explained that Italians have developed their own way of eating panzerotti – with outstretched arms – so you don’t get it down your clothes! At one point it was more like a drink than a food, but it was delicious.
7/10 for the panzerotto. It was delicious, but extremely difficult to eat. One of the tour customers commented that they needed a straw! We used about 100 paper napkins. I am unsure how Italians eat panzerotti without getting in a mess. Perhaps it’s a skill I need to learn.
The Pugliese wine (a white verdeco) was very good, a solid 8/10.
Mastro Ciccio are renowned in Bari for their excellent panzerotti. They also serve salads, pizzas, paninis and the famous octopus rolls as seen in their display below.
?Mastro Ciccio, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 15, 70122 Bari BA, Italy
After the panzerotti, the tour guide took us for a walk and visited a beautiful and little-known square in the old town, called Largo Albicocca, also known as the ‘square of lovers’. The tour guide told us about how the Italian grandmothers come out in the morning and clean the floors of the square to keep it looking lovely.
This square has also done a bit of a collaboration with Ikea – hence the pretty lights! They have credited Ikea on their plaque on the wall as seen below (you might need to zoom in to see the Ikea part).
After some time walking around and seeing the cute old piazzas in the old town, we headed down Corso Vittorio Emanuele II for our next stop – the much anticipated octopus roll.
Bari street food #4: octopus roll
Many people on the tour were hesitant to try the octopus roll, and I must admit it did sound a little weird at first. But I needn’t have worried – it was divine!
The octopus itself was cooked to perfection, it had quite a sweet taste and the texture was quite meaty. It was really good, I was only disappointed I was a bit too full to eat it all.
There are many places in Bari to get your octopus roll, but Lo Sfizio Del Borgo Antico is reportedly one of the best.
?Rosticceria Lo Sfizio Del Borgo Antico, Strada Vallisa, 53, 70123 Bari BA, Italy
I think by this point I was too full to appreciate it properly. But the octopus roll was really good, I am giving it an 8/10.
My one complaint here is that it didn’t come with the cold beer as advertised – but I think that’s on the tour company, not the panini place. So if you do the tour, make sure you mention the beer that should come with the octopus roll.
After the octopus roll, the tour guide took us for a walk down the ‘pasta street’ of Bari. This street is almost directly opposite the Norman castle of Bari. During the day, this street is lined with the grandmothers of Bari sitting at their tables making orecchiette pasta by hand.
The pasta is made from semolina and water, and the grandmothers are absolute pros at rolling it out, cutting tiny pieces and shaping them into individual ‘little ears’ at rapid speed. They sell their pasta in bags to customers in the street.
My tour was an evening tour, and most of the grandmothers had finished their day’s work; however, they leave some of their pasta wares on the tables, and if you would like to buy, you can knock on the doors to make a purchase. The doors are the front doors to their houses, so they are always there and willing to sell you some pasta (or taralli crackers, as you can see in the first picture above).
?“Strada delle Orecchiette”, Arco Basso, 70122 Bari BA, Italy.
Bari street food #5: Gelato
Of course no Italian street food tour would be complete without including gelato (in any region). Our final stop was the renowned gelato shop Gentile Gelato, which is clearly the best ice cream shop in Bari if you look at Tripadvisor. I had the stracciatella flavour, and it did not disappoint. 8/10 for the gelato.
I particularly enjoyed seeing local Italians coming into the shop at 10pm after their night out to get some gelato – even though it was cold outside – this is a sight you would never see in the UK!
?Antica gelateria Gentile, Piazza Federico II di Svevia, 33, 70122 Bari BA, Italy
After the gelato, the tour sadly came to a close. The tour guide was excellent, and asked every member of the tour if they would like directions to anywhere, or advice for their next few days, or recommendations for restaurants. The information was then sent to each participant over Whatsapp.
Bari street food tour – conclusion
In summary, these are foods I tried on the Do Eat Better Bari Street Food Tour.
If you want to get a taste of real Bari street food, whilst also seeing some of the city with a local, I recommend this tour 100%. Just make sure you arrive hungry – there is A LOT of food to eat.
Here is the link to book the tour. Please note if you are a solo traveller you may have to email them (I did) because the booking platform did not take bookings for less than 2 people at the time. However I informed the tour guide who was going to look into it, so hopefully this won’t be a problem for you.
If you do book the tour, please let me know how it goes! And just one final reminder this is not a sponsored post, I am just recommending a great tour to you.
Further reading: Ultimate Puglia Travel Guide.
Map of Bari street food places visited.
FAQs about street food in Bari.
Further reading: 78 Delicious Dishes from Puglia, South Italy.
Q: What is the most popular street food in Bari, Puglia?
A: The most popular street food in Bari and all of Puglia is focaccia, which is a flatbread that can be filled with various ingredients such as meat, vegetables, cheese, or even eggs. It is usually served hot and often accompanied by a glass of local white wine. Other popular street foods include panelle (fried chickpea flour fritters), panzerotti (deep fried pizza pockets) fritture di pesce (deep-fried fish) and sgagliozze (fried polenta).
Further reading: Guide to wine in Puglia + best wineries in Puglia.
Q: Where can I find street food in Bari?
A: You can find street food vendors all over the city, but the most popular spots are in Bari Vecchia (the old town), around Piazza Mercantile and in the Ballarò district. You can also find street food stalls outside of supermarkets, especially on weekends.
Q. Can I recreate Bari street food in my own kitchen?
A. Yes – I recommend this Puglia cookbook to get to you started.
Q: What is the typical cost of Bari street food?
A: Street food prices vary depending on what you’re ordering, but most dishes range from €2-5. There are also some places that offer combo meals with two or three different items for a discounted price.
Q: Are there any vegetarian options available in Bari street food?
A: Yes! Most street food vendors have vegetarian options such as panelle (fried chickpea flour fritters), supplì (rice balls filled with mozzarella) and roasted chestnuts. Some vendors also offer vegetarian focaccia, which is the local flatbread often filled with vegetables or cheese.
Q: Is it safe to eat Bari street food?
A: Yes, street food in Bari is generally considered safe, but always exercise common sense and make sure you choose a vendor who looks clean and professional. It’s usually best to stick with established vendors who have been around for a while. Additionally, make sure you check the expiration date on any packaged food items before buying.
Q: What is the best time to eat street food in Bari?
A: The best time to sample local street food in Bari is usually around lunchtime or early evening when the vendors are at their busiest. Street food tends to be fresher and more flavoursome during these times. Additionally, many of the restaurants that serve street food can close relatively early (around 8pm) so it’s wise to arrive early if you want a wider selection of dishes. For an authentic experience, try visiting one of Bari’s traditional markets such as La Fiera del Levante or Mercato Ittico to sample some delicious local delicacies.
Related reading: 24 Excellent Things to Do in Bari.
Where to to stay in Bari.
I recommend staying in the Bari Vecchia area because it is so beautiful. This is the old town, and it is full of charm and history. However it can be more expensive than other areas.
- For a luxury hotel in Barri Vecchia, try B&B Vin e Va or B&B dei Cardinale.
- For mid range, try B&B Murex or Il Trespolo Degli Angeli.
- For budget, try Palazzo del Carmine.
Other great neighbourhoods include the Murat Quarter, Bari Palese and San Nicola Stadium neighbourhood.
Hotels in the Murat Quarter are centrally located, close to the promenade and perfect for first time vistors. Murat is within walking distance of most restaurants, attractions, the train station and Bari Vecchia.
- For a luxury hotel in Murat, try Dilman Luxury Stay.
- For mid range, try Il Pumo or B&Z Luxury.
- For budget options, try Gatto Bianco le Dimore.
Hotels in Bari Palese are good for those who like a slightly quieter trip, there is still lots to do but it is not in the city centre so it is less touristy. It’s also close to the airport, and there are lovely beaches.
- For luxury, try Casa al Mare.
- Mid range options include Vittoria Parc Hotel and Principe.
- For budget stays, try La Dimora Benedetta.
San Nicola Stadium
Hotels in San Nicola stadium are good for events at the stadium, plus it’s well connected so you can get slightly cheaper accommodation with easy transport links.
- For a luxury hotel in San Nicola, try the Nicolaus Hotel or Hi Hotel Bari.
- For mid range try Ditesco.
- A budget option is Comeacasatua.
Finally if you just need a room very close to the airport for a quick layover, I recommend the B&B AIRPORT BARI DELUXE28. It’s a 20 minute walk to the terminal or 2 minute taxi ride. The location instructions are easy to follow and they provide a continental breakfast in the room, plus some communal breakfast services too.
You can use this link to check current availability for all hotels in Bari on Booking.com, or use the interactive map below.Booking.com
Where else to stay in Puglia
You may prefer to stay in one of the nearby towns in Puglia, and just visit Bari for a day trip. I advise checking my post about the best towns in Puglia first, and then when you have decided where you want to stay, you can use the links below to get the best deals on Booking.com
Book hotels in Alberobello | Book hotels in Bari | Book hotels in Brindisi | Book hotels in Cisternino | Book hotels in Gallipoli | Book hotels in Lecce | Book hotels in Locorotondo | Book hotels in Martina Franca | Book hotels in Matera | Book hotels in Monopoli | Book hotels in Ostuni | Book hotels in Otranto | Book hotels in Polignano a Mare | Book hotels in Trani | See all hotels in Puglia.
Travel advice for your trip to Puglia.
For more in depth travel advice for your trip to the Puglia region of Italy, please see my main Puglia Travel Guide. This guide contains information on things like currency, weather, best time to visit Puglia, tourist seasons, safety and general travel advice for the region.
It also contains a list of every Puglia post I have published, all in one place.
Further reading: Ultimate Puglia Travel Guide.
Climate and tourist seasons in Puglia
Puglia enjoys a Mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers. Tourist season peaks in summer, while spring and autumn offer pleasant temperatures and fewer crowds. The longest beach season lasts from May to September, with daytime temperatures ranging from 18-25°C (64-77°F) and nighttime temperatures around 15-20°C (59-68°F).
Winters are mild, ranging from 7-14°C (45-57°F), and snow is rare but possible in higher areas. Rainfall is moderate throughout the year, with autumn experiencing the heaviest precipitation. Many hotels in Puglia close during the winter months (November to February), and rates may be higher due to limited availability, so it’s best to check with individual hotels for winter hours of operation.
Getting around in Puglia
Puglia offers great opportunities for exploration by car, which is the preferred choice for many tourists. Renting a car from Discover Cars at Bari airport allows you to easily navigate the region and visit multiple destinations in a day. See my Ultimate Guide to Renting a Car in Puglia, Italy for more advice.
Further reading: Hazel’s Guide to Driving in Puglia, Italy.
Alternatively, train travel provides an affordable option, although it may not be as accessible as driving. The main railway connects major towns in Puglia, while buses offer regular services between cities and towns.
Boat trips along the picturesque coastline, visiting charming fishing villages and impressive harbor towns like Gallipoli and Otranto, offer an even more scenic experience.
Further reading: 14 Beautiful Towns in Puglia, Italy.
Currency in Italy
Currency in Italy is the Euro (€ EUR), available in both paper notes and coins. Coins range from 5 cents to 500 euros. Credit cards are widely used. Italy has ATMs called ‘Bancomat,’ similar to those in the UK or USA, providing convenient cash access. Cash is generally preferred, although some places accept card payments. Banks operate from 08:30 to 13:00 and 15:00 to 16:00, Monday to Friday.
- Reserve your Puglia Hotel early, before they sell out.
- Remember to pack decent sunscreen and a packable sun hat.
- There are many Puglia tours you can book (no payment required up front).
- This is the best quick-dry sand-repellent beach towel.
- Packing cubes are a traveller’s best friend. I recommend these ones.
- Going hiking? These are the best hiking socks.
- If you need a rental car, book one at Discover Cars and pick it up at the airport.
- Need something to read on the beach? 10 Books and novels set in Puglia.
Pin for later: Bari street food.
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Related reading for Bari & Puglia
Travelling soon? Check my 20 Must-Have Travel Essentials post before you go.
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You are reading Hazel’s Travels – an online publication and travel blog which aims to provide advice and inspiration for travel in Europe, the UK and USA.Tags: Bari, Europe, Food, Italy, Puglia, Street food