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Jan 12, 2011 04:26 PM

Need 3 restaurants in Siena

I'll be going to Siena as part of a 6 week trip through France, Switzerland and Italy this summer. I'm planning everything pretty far in advance including restaurants. I will be eating 3 meals in Siena and I have narrowed it down to 6 restaurants. Any recommendations as to which 3 of these you'd go to? Thanks!

1. Taverna di San Giuseppe
2. Osteria Da Divo
3. Gallo Nero
4. Grotta di santa Caterina
5. L'osteria
6. Hosteria il Carroccio

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  1. the ossobuco at trattoria papei in Siena was amazing --

    1. What food experience are you looking for?
      For example, Taverna di San Giuseppe and L'osteria are two completely different animals.

      3 Replies
      1. re: ambra

        I would like a variety of experiences...perhaps one upscale and 2 more casual places. I like to eat local specialties, but don't necessarily want every restaurant to have the exact same menu...maybe 2 places that serve what the locals eat and 1 place that's a little more creative. I know Gallo Nero is mainly about the fun experience and I think my mom (who I'll be traveling with) would enjoy it, but I'm not sure how the food is. It sounds like you know these restaurants, so I'd love your opinion!

        1. re: larush62

          Well, not all of them, but some.

          I've only eaten at Gallo Nero once and it was back when they only had the one medieval menu. Now, they've got a current menu as well. I must say, even though it was fun eating recipes that were older than my country, I didn't enjoy it at all. :( It was kinda gross albeit interesting. A TON of different spices in things you wouldn't expect them in. I mean even the bread was wierd. HOWEVER, that is just my take on it. And I went there 6 years ago so maybe it has gotten better or I ordered wrong.

          Taverna di Giuseppe is a VERY popular spot with very American style service. They are big on presentation, carving steaks tableside and the like. The steak is very good as is the Chicken under a brick. They do a lot of mushroom and truffle specials. ALOT of tourists go there but alot of local companies take their guests there when they need to make an impression. Prices are slightly higher. This could definitely be your upscale choice. At the bottom of the street it is on, on the way to the Piazza del Campo, there is one of the most famous bakeries for Ricciarelli so you could definitely get some of those on your way!

          Da Divo is also upscale, but very good. Actually, if I remember correctly, Michael Ruhlman did a very nice, very thorough write up on his blog about it. He liked it very much. You should check that out.

          L'Osteria is your basic Tuscan trattoria with your basic Tuscan menu. It's very popular with locals as well as tourists.They have the big steaks too, but they also have other things like Peposo and Tarragon Chicken, Ribollita etc. Prices are very good. Very casual place.

          I am afraid I haven't been to the places I didn't mention! I've heard good things about Grotta di Santa Caterina as well as Hosteria il Caroccio. I think they both participate in Girogustando (an ongoing event in which chefs from different parts of Italy visit and cook in restaurants in other areas.) which is a huge plus.

          I think another Trattoria style place as mentioned up thread could be Trattoria Papei. It's got the typical Tuscan menu, it's casual and the food is very good. Particularly the pastas. My Step son adores the Duck pasta while my BIL loves the meat sauces and the mushroom sauce. It's kind of an institution in Siena.

          I really enjoy the food at Enoteca I Terzi. However, they change the menu every single day. I usually go in the AM, check the menu board and then decide to go or not. Their menu is anything but typical. They have an endless wine list so if you are a wine lover, this is the place to go. The owners are always on premise and very nice.

          another place I can recommend is Boccon del Prete for a place with a menu that differs from the Standard Tuscan menu. They have this amazing appetizer of sausage over fried polenta with the creamy parmesan sauce that is to die for. Fish in Cartoccio, Pici with veggies and pecorino instead of your standard meat sauce.....very good. Has A/C too.

          Hope this wasn't too confusing.

          1. re: ambra

            Thank you so much for this! Not confusing at all....very helpful! I've still got time so I'll mull it over. And I'll check out your other recommended restaurants.

      2. We've only been to Antica Osteria Da Divo and I remember it being very good. This was over 5 years and hundreds of restaurants ago, so hopefully someone with a more recent experience will weigh in. Buon appetito!

        1 Reply
        1. re: ttoommyy

          Da Divo was one of the highlights of our Italy trip, food-wise. Ask to sit in the basement. And whatever you do, make sure somebody orders the risotto. It's extraordinary.

        2. Le Logge, right off the main piazza, is fantastic, thez took an old pharmacy and kept the wooden shelving angf glass, the menu is "forward" italian , wine list superb

          1 Reply
          1. re: jeffreycrowne

            Thank you all for your suggestions. Unfortunately, I'm going to have to cancel this trip, but I'll note your suggestions for another time.

          2. Il Canto was on CNN's top 50 restaurants in the world. I ate there in July. The food was wonderful and the experience came with a number of Amuse Bouche. It's pricey, but an interesting place to consider.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Grape Stomp

              Sorry that you cancelled your trip, yet for the record:

              In March 2010, and upon recommendations from Chowhounds, I ate very well in Siena here:

              Hosteria Il Carrocio, small, for dinner ("lunch" to you Yankees), Sienese, which had tourists, but good for the money. Near the Campo.

              Ristorante Grotta di Santa Caterina: small, for dinner, Sienese, and the best for the money that I had in Siena.

              L'Osteria, small, supper, Sienese, good with friendly service. And I got an extra shot of grappa. When I was there, only Italians

              Osteria Le Logge, supper, fine dining, expensive, and the owner chose for me a splendid Barolo wine.