Honeymoon in Montalcino
My husband and I are planning our delayed honeymoon to Italy (Rome, Montalcino, Florence, Positano) in June. I have been scouring the Chowhound Boards and we are set for all of our stops except Tuscany and I am looking for suggestions!
We will be staying 3 night at Castello Banfi in Montalcino.
One night we will be having dinner at the hotel's Taverna restaurant (I have read mixed reviews but the tasting menu dinner came as part of our package). We were originally planning to go to Solociccia one of the nights but it seems that the 90 min/2 hour drive is just a little far for dinner, I have also heard (despite a recommendation from a friend) that it is a bit of a tourist trap.
So I need dinner spots for two nights, preferably those that are not too far of a drive (we will have a car but do not want to drive so we can enjoy all of the fab Brunellos!) If it is worthwhile, we are happy to hire a driver.
Does anyone have thoughts on the following:
Osteria al Giardino (I read it was pricey, which I do not mind if it is worth it!)
Il Gambe di Gatto
We are also planning to do an afternoon of wine tasting. We know that we will go to the Ciacci Piccolomini D'Aragona, but would like to visit 2 other vineyards.
Thanks so much in advance for everyone's input!
Poggio Antico was still under some kind of renovation and was closed for business as late as 6/6 when I was there. The winery sends their visitors to Boccondivino which provides wine pairing of poggio antico wines. And Boccondivino, is very very good on almost every aspect, except only served me two glass of wines even I ordered and paid for three.
my husband and i stayed at castello banfi last september and had the tasting menu (it was part of our package too) -- it was delicious. perhaps even better though was the restaurant our castello banfi waiter recommended when we asked where he and his friends go to eat-- he sent us to trattoria il leccio, just a few miles from castello banfi. we had dinner there the following night and it was incredible.
our most memorable meal in 9 days in italy was at gambe di gatto. we just stumbled upon it when we stopped in montepulciano on our way to montalcino, and it was amazing. we walked in right as they were getting ready for dinner service, so we were the only ones there which made it even more special. it is run by a husband and wife team-- the husband was the waiter and the wife was the chef. they doted on us for at least an hour until others started to arrive. by the time we left, 2 1/2 hours later, the place was packed with people waiting outside. so my best advice would be to try to do what we did, so you get that individual attention and time to chat with the lovely owners.
We stumbled into Enoteca Osteria Osticcio in Montalcino. Holy mackerel. Arguably one of the best meals we had our whole trip. It's small, there's only maybe 8 tables, and only 4 of those have that amazing view. But the food was dope. Their fritto misto is really great. They throw mozzerella en carozza in it. But it was their pastas that blew us away. My wife's torn pappardelle with asparagus and egg was her favorite dish the whole trip. We're huge Brunello lovers and did a tasting that consisted of 1 rosso and 2 brunello that were delicious. Unfortunately we had to drive to Siena and couldn't drink more.
Rome you want to go Il Bacaro. It was my favorite place the whole trip. Best gnocchi Ive ever eaten. Really bold chef and it's suprisingly not that expensive. Right next to it Tavernetta 48. They're both on via degli spagnolo i think. Tavernetta was excellent as well. More casual and traditional, but really delicious.
Florence - La Giostra. Really great, a little over the top, but amazing food. Taglioni carbonara with fresh truffles was amazing. Also the tagliata was better than the one at Mozza in los angeles.
Osteria al Giardino is a Slowfood place - unless something has changed radically since my book was published (2006) it should be low-mid price range - guide indicates meal price is 25-32euros, including wine. Of course if you order the bistecca, your price will soar. Closed Wed.
My wife and I had a fantastic meal there (Banfi) doing the tasting menu; hopefully you will too.
We were in Montalcino last weekend and had an amazing dinner at Osteria Osticcio. I've written before about Tullio and his wine shop/osteria, but they have added dinner and really raised the bar. The tartar and tagliata secondi's were amazing. We were sitting next to a Brunello producer and a high end beef producer. We ordered what they did and were really thrilled. The fantastic view, great wine selection, and friendly service don't hurt either. Feel free to tell him Jerry and Sandy from Walla Walla sent you.
As to other tours, Stella di Compalta and La Ragnaia are both great if you can get in, and Ettore and Enrica of Sesta di Sopra will make you think you've been invited to your Italian grandparents home. Tullio may be able to help with some of these.
Finally, we had a great meal a couple years ago at Poggio Antico and have been meaning to go back.
Congratulations; may your marriage last as long as the 1899 Biondi Santi Brunello (opened on its 100th anniversary and still drinkable).