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Tuscan restaurant help

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I will be in tuscany in may (staying near chianti) 20 minutes from siena.
We would like some dinner options that are not 40 minutes away (in chianti, siena, or somewhere close)- some very low key, inexpensive, and local trattorias where we can find simple pasta and salad when we want to fill in from the fancier, heavier meals.

Any help would be so appreciated. I dont want to drive my mom around aimlessly on her 60th birthday week celebration!

Thank you!

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  1. Have you done a "Search this board" search yet for Tuscany, Siena, and other towns near where you will be staying? There are many helpful recommendation here that have been made over the past 6-12 months. Tuscany gets discussed on this board often.

    1. chianti is not a small area and the roads are often narrow and curvy, not a fast drive, particularly at night.. if you can give a more precise location for wnere you are staying, chances are you will get more useful advice.

      1. I am also planning a two-week vacation in Chianti in the end of May and early June. Will be my first time there. I found that the information on slowtrav.com are very detailed. Also check out http://www.divinacucina.com/.

        My wife is also worrying about heavy italy style dinner that she simply cannot refuse in a sit-down restaurant. Our plan is to have a full lunch followed by a light dinner in our rent apartment, just get some nice cold cut, good cheese, good wine, fresh vegetable and fruit.

        3 Replies
        1. re: kyeblue

          that is a nice eating plan and one that we often follow when we rent apartments in Italy. However it is very important to note that YOU ARE UNDER NO COMPULSION TO ORDER A MULTICOURSE HEAVY MEAL IN AN ITALIAN RESTAURANT. Sorry if that feels over-emphatic but some people do feel intimidated, Ive been there and its a false assumption. It will be perfectly acceptable if you choose to order just a couple of course or if you decide to share a course or a dish.. It is very possible to avoid ordering secondi altogether. Salads can be ordered as a first course followed by pasta, say.
          Desserts are an extremely skippable course - they are usually not very exciting. better to have a sweet or gelato at a cafe than at the conclusion of a restaurant meal.

          1. re: jen kalb

            Re: deserts in Italian restaurants, it is certainly not uncommon to see the locals having a bowl of fruit salad or half a sliced pineapple for desert, while the tourists are having tiramisu or zuppa inglese.

            1. re: DavidT

              when we first travelled to italy the fruit course and maybe some cheese, was about all that one would see to end a meal. Often coffee was not even offered. I think restaurants have adjusted to the tourist trade by offering sweets other than fruit. If anything it is our own expectation of finishing with a sweet that can make an Italian meal heavy.

        2. May I suggest Vescovino in Panzano, about 20 minutes south and Lamole, east of Greve. They are both for "special" meals. Enoteca Fuoripiazza in center of Greve is great too. More casual. La Bodega in Volpaia would be a good destination lunch, off the beaten tourist track.