Looking for restaurant recommendations for the hilltowns of Tuscany? I’ve gleaned some insider tips from Ferenc Mate’s delightful memoir A Vineyard in Tuscany.
Mate loves food and wine with a passion. While renovating his dream house in Tuscany and starting his own small winery, Mate enjoyed meals at these favorite restaurants:
Trattoria Latte di Luna in Pienza
Most of the reviews I’ve read stress that Latte di Luna serves simple, home cooked meals. You won’t find anything fancy, but you will find tasty local specialties at reasonable prices. Very popular so make reservations. See photo at right and read slowtravel.com reviews.
Trattoria La Torre in Monte Oliveto Maggiore
Although Mate recommends this restaurant, I found mixed reviews online. On the positive side, travellers Jane and Ken say “If you visit the abbey (which you should), then plan on having a very nice lunch in the ristorante. We so enjoyed it there.”
But TuscanHouse warns “Ristorante La Torre at the Abbey is a big operation to accommodate the frequent busloads of tour groups and sometimes fails to give good food or good service”.
Closed on Tuesdays
53020 MONTE OLIVETO MAGGIORE
Tel. +39 577 – 707022
Trattoria da Mario in Buonconvento
Buonconvento is a lovely small town and not very touristy. Mate mentions eating at Trattoria da Mario in Buonconvento, and apparently he is not alone in his enjoyment of this restaurant. A report on slowtravel.com has this to say about the eatery:
We came back and had dinner at Da Mario in Buonconvento. I will say no more than Da Mario is a gem of a local ristorante with great ambiance (mangiare a fuori) and dynamite food and is considered a secret find by the local inhabitants of this working village.
Via soccini, 60
53022 – Buonconvento
Trattoria La Tagliola in Arcidosso
On TripAdvisor.com the one review for this restaurant proclaims “Migliore ristorante ad Arcidosso”. I don’t speak Italian but it’s safe to assume this means something along the lines of “best restaurant in Arcidossa”. The reviewer gave it the highest rating – 5 stars.
On Trattoria La Tagliola’s website you can see more photos of the restaurant interior, along with a sample menu.
Tel. +39 0564 967351
Trattoria Sciame in Montalcino
Located just a block from the fortress, Trattoria Sciame in Montalcino is a small restaurant with a big reputation. Many independent travellers recommend Trattoria Sciame, as do the big guide books. Frommer’s writes:
You’ll be lucky to wrest one of the seven tables (crammed into Sciame’s small, modern dining room) away from the devoted locals who fill it with clamorous chatter almost every night. The food here is firmly cucina casalinga. You needn’t decide on an appetizer because everything is gathered together in the antipastone misto. Top honors go to both the pinci al cinghiale (fat spaghetti in a sauce of tomatoes and wild boar) and the zuppa di fagioli (a bean-and-cabbage soup poured over bread, with a red onion slice over it). Afterward try a pollo arrosto (roast chicken or guinea hen) or the scaloppina agli asparagi (veal scallop with wild asparagus). For dessert, order the cantucci e ossi di morti con moscadello (almond cookies and brittle, hollow “bones of the dead” cookies with sweet white dessert wine).
Prices are reasonable – about $7 – $14 for each course. Closed Tuesdays, the last week of July and the month of February. Reservations strongly recommended.
Via Ricasoli 9