Too Much Tuscan Food
It is only Day 5 and we are ready for a break. We saw a Chinese restaurant outside of Montepulciano and will go there tonight. Next stop is Panzano in Chianti with a day trip to Florence. Any chowhound recs for Montepulciano, Siena (day trip), Chianti or Florence next 8 days? Could be Asian, Greek or anything other than Tuscan! Thank you!
I'm assuming that you are an American. Am I right? Well in my experience certain countries in Europe (Italy not being one of them) have a high number and a wide variety of cuisines available. Holland and Britain immediately come to mind. Unfortunately I believe that this is our expectation as Americans sometimes when we travel; that it should be relatively easy to get say "killer Thai" anywhere for example. That just isn't true in all places in Europe.
When it comes to food & dining, Italians tend to be VERY regional and provincial. Outside of the biggest cities, you will find little or no foreign food worth eating. You will not even find much of the food of one region of Italy in another region of Italy.
If you visit Pienza (and you should!), I can highly recommend Il Rossellino for dinner. It only has 5-6 tables, so reservations are essential. The phone is 0578-749064.
The village of San Quirico, near Pienza, is also worth a visit.
Let us know how the Chinese dinner in Montepulciano goes. Keep your expectations low. Good luck!
You are going to love Montepulciano. What a great town. Give yourself 1/2 a day to stroll the hill top town. Towards the top of the town on the winding main street you will find the most picture perfect right of a vintage Italian movie set cafe. Do not remember the name but it is on your left. As you walk in the is gelato on your right??? and bakery coffee counter to your left. all marble and rounded glass display. Towards the back you see the seating area and French door windows that look out over the valley. It is the most deco perfect place of all time. My wife and I did Italy for our honeymoon and thought this a very romantic spot for our afternoon espresso and gelato. So yes the honeymoon might have influence our mood BUT it is a lovely spot. Some nice galleries. Great pork products. Cannot suggest a restaurant, sorry. In Siena just get a table i the main plaza and watch the world go by.
Florence, Tratoria Mario by the Duomo is a great place for lunch according to some chef friends there. Its a slow food family run lunch spot.
Thanks everyone- especially David. Hong Kong in Montepulicano was OK and a nice change. The Tuscan menus seem to all be the same. We had lunch in Pienza at Luna which was very tasty but just too many days of eating the same type of food over and over. At home we mix it up so maybe we are spending too many days in Tuscany.
We will try to get to Rosellini which I had also heard was excellent. PPork- I think we drove past the dessert place and it did look wonderful- will go tomorrow after Siena. Montepulciano is very beautiful and we are enjoying our stay here.
Previously we were in Lucca. We did have one sensational meal so far in Viaregeggio which I will report on when we get back.
Maybe tomorrow in Siena we can find some more Asian food !!
Im wondering what you are eating - have you tried the different bruschettas, the delicious sheep cheeses, the wild boar and lamb, pici, do you order contorni with your meal (lots of good vegetables, greens (italian sauteed spinachi is delicious), peppers etc)? risotto with mushrooms? pappa pomodoro? sausages? Have you seen trout on the menus? roasted trout in italy is really good. Porchetta?? Have you gone to the markets and bought some of the delicious fruits?? the muscat grapes are particularly wonderful at this time of year, ditto apples and pears, different from in the US.
I think that ribollita and grilled or esp roasted meat (esp veal) could get old, but there are lots of other things, finocchio salami?
We tend to rent apartments when we travel in Italy - usually one meal a day with the delicious cheeses, meats, sliced tomatoes, fruit and bread is a good idea - I think that two restaurant meals per day anywhere can get monotonous (the whole experience)
I can't understand your point of view about Tuscan food, but I'll save you from a truly vile meal. Do not patronize the Chinese restaurant in Arezzo; it serves truly vile food. (It's on a street that comes off the Piazza San Francesco. It's easily recognizable by the red Chinese lantern decorations.) Eat there at your peril.
Incidentally, this warning is based on the experience of friends who live in Arezzo. It would never occur to me to seek Asian food in cities/towns that lack large clusters of immigrants from a particular country.