Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Italy >
Jun 30, 2008 05:18 PM

Tuscany - near Barberino Val d'Elsa?

We're staying at Al Gelso Bianco in Tuscany, apparently near Barberino Val d'Elsa and close to San Gimignano. Any local recommendations in that general area for a good dinner or lunch? My husband and I are taking our 3 year old, so somewhere relatively family friendly would be good.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Just outside San Gimignanao, at Pancole, is a Hotel/Restaurant called Le Renaie. Garden, swimming pool, dining on the terrace, good food - give it a try.

    I particularly recommend the risotto ai fungi and the cinghiale stew.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Tuscanlover

      I noticed, dear Tuscanlover, that you are very keen on Lucignano city, where me and family are going to spend a week, in a few days. There is lack of practical information on the net concerning this town. Please be so kind and give some advice as far as eating in Lucignano is concern. You recomend the Toto restaurant, but there are some others I am sure, please let me know some names (addresses if possible) of good restaurants there.

      1. re: pspts

        Hi pspts,

        Yes - very, very keen on Lucignano and the Albergo Osteria Da Toto, to use its full title. Note that the restaurant that we love so much is in this Hotel. (Piazza Tribunale; to the left of the big church - the Collegiata - as you go up the hill.)

        Not many other recommendations I'm afraid, we always eat at Da Toto, but this year we had a good lunch at La Maggiolata on Via G Matteotti. We were speaking to a couple of American visitors who were on their third visit. (So they would, and did, recommend it.)

        In the small square at the bottom of the hill near Da Toto you will find a fairly decent pizza place in the evenings only. I think it's called the Piano Bar or Nice People. (Or maybe both!)

        A few years ago we had a good lunch at La Tavernetta, out in the garden at the back. I remember that we had a bottle of (quite old) vintage Chianti which received the full "two carafe" treatment. (Lots of swirling and aerating.) Down the hill from Da Toto, turn right and it is on the left after 50 metres. (Approximate.) However, I am not even sure that it is still there.

        The gelateria just round the other corner from Da Toto is very good. (Down the hill, turn left and you will see it.) Make sure that you have cappuccini, or Prosecci, or whatever, at one of the bar/cafes just outside the main gate. We like the one on the left as you face the porta. They also do snacks and gelate.

        If you go to Da Toto, tell them that David and Carolyn, or Tuscanlover, sent you.

        1. re: Tuscanlover

          By the way, do let us know, after your visit, how you got on in Lucignano. What you thought of the city, where you ate, how you rate the restaurants, etc.

          Finally, where are you staying in Lucignano?

          1. re: Tuscanlover

            Dear David
            Sorry, that I did not reply to you immediately. I really appreciate your advices. We are starting our car trip tommorrow, (I did not mention that I am from Poland), so we have really long way to go (700 miles). Particularly, I am grateful for your "gelateria" recommendation, I am sure my daughter will make a test. Please expect my report after the stay in Lucignano, I hope I will be able to confirm your good opinions of all the places you recommend. I will give your compliments to the Da Toto staff.

            I have hired the appartment in Il Grifono agritourist farm...

            I hope I will like it.


            1. re: pspts

              If you decide to dine away from Lucignano during your visit, the Castello di Gargonza , a tiny quiet castle village (now a lodging), a restaurant, is quite close by, with lovely views. The restaurant, with outdoor seating along a terrace, serves food using the oils, wild boar and other ingredients from the Gargonza estate.. Its been many years since we stayed there but its a precious memory, our children were small, 5 and 2 and they played on some play equipment next to the restuarant while we ate our delicious cannelloni in peace.

              its a beautiful part of Italy, have a lovely trip.

          2. re: Tuscanlover

            Dear David,

            Thank you again for the recommendations you gave us. We spent a week in Tuscany, and we tried to see as many cities as possible. We visited Cortona, Multipulciano, Firenze, Arezzo and we tried to find a nice restaurant in all of them. But.... Da Toto rulezzzz... :)
            The best meal we were able to taste were there, very good pasta with rague, other in a green sauce made of local herbs and almonds. Delightful pork in a dark sauce made of acetato balsamico.
            Very good desserts. We have had two dinners there, both of them very tasty.
            Of course in the begining I asked the nice girl (dark hair, in glasses, I do not remeber her name, sorry) does she know a Tuscanlover - and thanks to you I have got a glass of lemon grappa for free :) Thx.

            1. re: pspts

              Dear Pspts,

              I am soooo glad that you enjoyed Da Toto! Did you go to any of the other restaurants?

              We are just back from a week in the hills west of Florence.

      2. We stayed in Barberino Val D'Elsa in June with our 10 year old son. We had two fantastic meals at Antica Osteria Di Vico. Not a fancy place and very reasonably priced in Vico D'Elsa, just up the road from Barberino a couple of Km's. Nice couple own the place and the chef is very talented. Order the peposa or spagetti with gorgonzola and citrus rind. Very easy place for kids, too, and the owners' cat wanders around visiting guests--my son loved it!