Toby Cox: the best seafood restaurant in the world

Toby Cox set up Mulo shoes after a trip to Argentina inspired him to create a versatile, elevated version of the espadrille, modelled on the last of an Oxford shoe. For a man who developed a hybrid style of footwear, it should perhaps come as no surprise that his favourite restaurant is also a perfect mix of smart and casual

Ristorante La Pineta is a charming experience on a beach in Tuscany. The local area is stunning. You have to take a 10-minute walk through a pine forest to get to it. Once inside, you’re still outside – they’ve taken out the windows, so you’re looking out immediately on to the water.

The restaurant has one Michelin star and was opened over 50 years ago with the intention to create lovely food from the beautiful produce being pulled out of boats meters away. All the fish comes from the Mediterranean and the prawns are sourced from the deep waters around Corsica. The fish is the best you can find in the area and it’s served with beautiful presentation.

It’s no stuffy restaurant, but it does offer something of a white-tablecloth experience. It’s a level of fine dining you’d expect in the centre of Florence, Milan or London. So there’s this great mix of formal and informal – you can dress in a linen shirt and Mulos, but the wine list is a tome and the main waiters are twins immaculately turned out in braces and bow ties. When I first discovered the place, I had never experienced the combination of this level of sophistication with a warm glow on the ocean and a sea breeze. I’ve treasured it ever since. 

I had the pleasure of being served by the proprietor, who sadly passed away recently. His son now runs the restaurant. He came from a family of fishermen and once took mild offence that I hadn’t eaten the head of this gigantic prawn. He described it as the absolute trophy of the dish, so I manned up and took it down in front of him. Even though the main man isn’t there anymore, I’ll always keep going back.

Ristorante La Pineta, via dei Cavalleggeri Nord 27, 57020 Marina di Bibbona, Livorno, Italy; lapinetadizazzeri.it

You can discover more about Mulo shoes at muloshoes.com

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