Best Place to Eat in Montalcino
In town, my curent favorite is Giglio. Next would be Il Re di Macccia, Taverna di Grappolo Blu and Assedio for different reasons. Assedio is a little more modern but the night we were there, the food toook a long time and it was a little better in conception than execution, but I wold go back. Taverna di Grappolo Blu is getting better all the time with more seasonality on their menu these days. Il Re di Macchia is very traditional with very good quality ingredients. Much farther down the list wold be Osteria al Paorto al Cassero which can be pretty mixed.
If you are looking for a light meal/snack, Bar alle Logge is very nice. They always ahve a good soup or two and usually some other items. I also love Osticcio for their cheese and meat plates. Osticcio also does a crazy good anchovy in green sauce (listed as Aciuga sott pesto. Neither serve a full menu.
Outside of town, skip Bocon di Vino unless you go just for the view. I have eaten there 2-3 times and I find the food tired and overly rich. If you want to experience the view (and it is breathtakingly wonderful) go for lunch.
My favorite close in restaurant is Il Pozzo in Sant'Angelo in Colle. The primi are substantial and really good. The Pinci are probably the best in the area I have had. They have specials like fried artichokes in season. But the reason to be there is for the Bistecca. The best one I have ever had in a restaurant. They ahve a nice selection of Rosso di Montalcino. Thge other restaurant in Sant'Angelo is also good, but a little more refined and a touch stuffy to my taste. It is good food and I would not hesitate to go again, but I prefer the lusty, earthy flavors of Il Pozzo.
Farther afield, I love Conte Matto in Trequanda (I have not be there since the relocation) and Bosco della Spina in Lumpopesi. COnte Matto si fabulous traditional dishes with top quality ingrediients. Go there for plates of Cinta Sinese pork, game birds etc. Bosco della Spina is very traditional dishes upsated, lightened and with a modern twist. I love it! One of the more creative restaurants int he area. In Buonconvento, there is Mario which is very good food. Now that the sons are doing more of the show, there are good wines and a little more ambitious foods. I would skip Duccio in Buonconvento for Il Pozzo for Bistecca. I had one meal at Il Poggioli in Buonconvento amd it was good but nothing special, but all my friends in Montalcino (with one exception) love it so maybe we need to go back.
All'Antica Forno in San Quirico d'Orcia is quite good but nothing special. Traditional. If you are spending the day in SQd'O I would not hesitate in the least to go, but I would not make a trip to go there. Worht a trip in Taverna di Moranda in Montechiello. While La Porta is more famous and, given its location right at the gate of the town, busier, Taverna di Moranda is superb. I have not been to La Porta so there is no comparison being made. We ahd a wonderful meal with great wines by the glass.
We went to a really fun spot in Montepulciano called Il Gamba di Gatto where we were offered a selction of 10 or so olive oilds for our soup! If that kind of thing appeals to you, this is a treasure run by a young couple. Good food but clearly more of a labor of love than a polished restaurant.
I ahve mixed feelings on La Chiusa. I loved it when I ordered the set menu and not so much when we ordered off the ala carte menu. But it is over the top cooking and a lot of rich and wonderful foods. The wine list is a revelation! Right now, we are not spending a lot of money on our meals in Montalcino so we do not have it on our list. But if things get flush again, we will probably go back. On the other hand, Il Pozzo is ALWAYS on our list.
Will second, third and fourth Il Pozzo. Have had many many nice meals there. But since Laura left the kitchen a few years ago, I think the quality is not quite as good. Always knew when she was not there on her days off in the past.
Giglio is great, wonderful people....Michele, Anna and Mario are so helpful and friendly and knowledgeable.
Taverna Barbi can be nice, and if Guiliano is still there, worth the visit just to talk with him. I think his health was bad a few years ago.
Basso Mundo just outside Sant'Antimo can be pretty decent, but the service is not always very friendly.
Am curious about the place in Murlo, anyone been there? Can't remember the name... I think the owner's name is Brunello!!! will be back there in 10 days...its been 5 since i've been, so will check out some of these new places.
Michele and Ana at Il Giglio are always up on what's new and good around the area. If you have the time, call ahead and ask Anna to make her wonderful pancetta arrosto...she will for me and it is well worth it...damn, my order is already in for May 20!!!!
Don't know if you consider Boccon del Vino "outside" Montalcino, but on a recent meal there I found the food internationalized and mainly uninteresting, although the house specialty of onion soup is a unique and tasty curiosity. I think it's best for the view at lunch for people not spending much time in the area.
thanks a lot for your report on Boccon di Vino. It was the first restaurant that brings my attention to Montalcino as it was featured in one of Mark Bittman's shows. I have since heard multiple reports on its decline.
I also saw your recommendation on Toto in Lucignano, and would like to lunch there during my trip in June. Is reservation necessary?