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Dining in Cortona (and nearby towns) - updated recommendations

t
tiram May 15, 2013 04:20 AM

Hello fellow foodies...

I'll soon be travelling to Cortona for a couple of weeks. I've been searching the boards but most of the recommendations seem to be 4-10 years old. Has anyone been there in the past year or two? What about nearby towns/cities like Orvieto, Montepulciano... etc. Any places we MUST eat while visting?

In Cortona I see the following restaurants have good recommendations:
Osteria del Teatro
La Bucaccia
Pane e Vino
La Grotta

Any thoughts?

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  1. b
    bauskern RE: tiram Jan 27, 2014 04:53 PM

    We're thinking of a trip to Cortona, and wondered where you ate and what you liked. Did any restaurants stand out?

    1. p
      pnwgirl RE: tiram Jan 28, 2014 11:03 AM

      We stayed in Cortona for a week and tried many restaurants. The list from tiram, above, is a great list. There's one more I'd add for casual, inexpensive, good dining, Fufluns.

      Osteria del Teatro came as the highest recommendation from the owner of our villa, who grew up in Cortona. We tried it once and ordered the Chianina beef. I wish we'd done the pasta instead. The atmosphere is lovely and the pasta looked fantastic. The beef was fine but not something I'd order again. If I were going back to Cortona, I'd definitely try Osteria del Teatro again, but order something other than the beef. I left thinking that as an American I've eaten plenty of steak, perhaps I didn't need to order it in Italy.

      La Bucaccia also came highly recommended by the villa owner. We didn't end up eating there (a stomach virus took us out for 3 of the days we were there), but it looked nice.

      The most memorable meal was at La Grotta. Fantastic carpaccio appetizer, and then we ordered the veal covered in leaf lard for the main course. Not like any veal I've ever had. A huge hunk of steak covered in leaf lard and heavily salted (but good). This was a beef dish worth reordering. I'm glad I didn't listen to my instincts to not order beef in Italy again.

      My first meal out after recovering from a stomach virus was at Pane e Vino. Enjoyed the meal, but my mother and husband enjoyed it even more b/c they were able to order things I wasn't quite ready for. I had the ribollita, which hit the spot. This place is deceivingly hard to get into. Make sure you get a reservation or get there really early.

      We ended up eating 3 times at a casual "pizzeria" called Fufluns that we found by accident. It was well priced and offered good food and good service. The melon with prosciutto was the best we had during our stay. Their pizzas were good, but their pastas and appetizers were my favorites. There's an appetizer combination plate that includes many of their appetizers - that was a good one. I loved the pasta dish I had with green tomatoes and pancetta. Fufluns isn't fine dining, but if you're going to be in Cortona for awhile and need a good, casual, less expensive place, I recommend it.

      Overall we were sorely disappointed in the caprese salads we had in Tuscany. We've had much better in the US and stopped ordering them after a few bad experiences in Tuscany. The pasta and wine were definite highlights (no surprise). We found that the food was much less expensive than it is in the Pacific Northwest - a nice difference. Enjoy!

      1. gmcguireinrome RE: tiram Feb 7, 2014 03:59 PM

        Osteria del Teatro is excellent. Strengths are the traditional pastas and soups (I was there in the fall) This is rich, hearty Tuscan fare.

        Make sure not to miss a visit to the powder room!

        www.gillianslists.com

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