Restaurants & Bars

Small treasures in Tuscany

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Small treasures in Tuscany

Sherri | May 26, 2005 11:35 AM

Have just returned from three weeks in Italy, two on motorcycles touring Tuscany & Umbria. Two meals stand out in my mind, though must admit never having any bad ones during this stay. DILADDARNO in Firenze, where the owner fed us until we hollered "Stop!". The food was simple and simply wonderful, including a new-to-me fresh artichoke heart ravioli. We had at least nine courses but tasting-sized portions instead of full-sized plates. No one was stuffed; pleasantly sated. House wine was more than drinkable, though certainly not of the Chianti Classico or Vino Nobile category. (NOTE: I preferred this meal to the one we had at CIBREO TRATTORIA where the "Bread Nazi" refused to serve bread with the first course because he said that "it interferred with the flavor of the food". When another table requested a salad they were told "we don't serve salad." Ditto for pasta and coffee. In their defense, the Herbed Polenta was delicious. FYI: CIBREO TRATTORIA does not accept credit cards) The second memorable meal took place, al fresco, alongside a small river in the village of Bagni di Lucca at RISTORANTE DA VINIZIO. The vegetable soup, humble as it sounds, was a marvel of complexity. Pumpkin ravioli with nut sauce made us swoon. Using a wood-burning oven made a significant difference in the quality of their pizzas, though the freshness and simplicity of ingredients put them over the top.
P.S. -- Throughout the trip, I never had a Caprese Salad that wasn't memorable even though May is not yet tomato season. How that was managed, I do not know.

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