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Jul 23, 2013 11:09 AM

Lunch in Umbria

It was a trip to Rome a good 4 or so years ago that first brought me to Chowhound. Back then, I thought we had to have a place to eat for every conceivable meal and drove myself literally bonkers posting, reading posts, rereading posts, compiling lists, etc. I've finally realized that while that may work for a lot of people, it does not work for me. Now, I like to have a few places in mind and go with a couple of reservations, leaving the rest to intuition and "feeling" while out and about during the day.

That said, we will be in Umbria for 5 days in October. From the web site for the agroturismo where we will be staying, our location will be:

" Umbria, central Italy, near the border with Tuscany, about half-way between Rome and Florence, 20 km from Lake Trasimeno and 25 km from Perugia. The closest town is called Tavernelle di Panicale (5 km)." (see the attached map)

We will have a car and plan to take day trips each day. Given all this information, does anyone have a stand out place for lunch? We'd like to have at least 1 or 2 days where we know we will be eating. Our thought is to make lunch our main meal each day and for dinner have a light selection of whatever meats, cheeses and produce we pick up on our travels back at the agroturismo (they do not provide dinner).

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

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  1. Here are a few of my favorites:

    In Orvieto, I Setti Consoli. A woman chef who just lost her Michelin star. I can't imagine why. Right on the main street and if the weather is favorable seating under tents available.

    At the top of Spello, La Bastiglia. Plenty of parking, great views and a very adventurous kitchen. Bring money.

    At the central square of Montefalco, l'Alchemista. Go into the little store and down a flight of stairs to the basement. Extra fine local food. Beware: too much antipasti may be all you can consume.

    In the center of Bevagna, Osteria Piazza Onofrio. Good local food and wine. Parking nearby.

    Just south of the hilltown of Trevi and on the other side of the road is Taverna del Pescatore. There will be one small sign. Its a right turn into a gravel parking lot. There is a small stream with rapids and a swan. Lunch under the big tent is memorable.

    There's no place like Umbria!

    2 Replies
    1. re: DaleJ

      It all sounds wonderful! Thank you @DaleJ. We just started making our flight and accomodations arrangements for this trip after months of planning and I am really starting to get excited.

      May I ask how you got by with the language? Do you speak Italian? Between the 2 of us, we definitely get by, but we have found some places are easier than others when one has a limited grasp on the language.

      Thanks again.

      1. re: DaleJ

        Taverna del Pescatore's website has been down for some time, leading me to think it may be closed. I haven't bothered to check, though, when passing by on the highway to Spoleto.

      2. My wife and I have traveled to Italy twenty-some times in the past fifteen years so I know enough Italian to order a meal, etc. But, I find that most Italians I interact with would rather show off their English than endure my "Italian". The only places where some sort of English is not spoken is in small out-of-the-way villages.

        1 Reply
        1. re: DaleJ

          We've been 5 times and like I said, we do get by with no trouble. Thanks for the input... and encouragement!

        2. Are you looking for upscale or home-style food?
          For home-style and autentic (and a bit off the beaten path) head to Osteria del teatro in Foligno, the apetizer is spectacular, so it's the beef tagliata and the molten chocolate cake

          In Valnerina, Ristorante del Ponte Scatolini in Scheggino for truffle dishes and trout

          Near Poreta (Trevi) Le Casaline has a unique selection of cured goose meats and lovely outdoor seating

          For a modern food but quite a bit more affordable than the famous guys, NanĂ  in Perugia is a favorite

          Enjoy !

          2 Replies
            1. re: madonnadelpiatto

              Glad to have a recommendation for trout in such a pretty town the Valnerina. It is a unqiuely tasty fish. (ttoommyy take note!)

              Also, everyone I know tells me Foligno is the town to go to eat exemplary traditional Umbrian food.

            2. It's been quite a few years now, but my most memorable meal in Umbria was at Taverna del Lupo in Gubbio (a town you should definitely not miss).

              1 Reply
              1. re: rrems

                Gubbio is definitely in our plans and we will add this restaurant to our list. Thanks.

              2. Closest to you, I really like Osteria a Priori in Perugia- they only have Umbrian products and are open all day so you can easily pop in anytime for just a snack.
                Definitely check out "da Marisa" in Torgiano - the restaurant is really ugly from the outside, but it is just an old traditional trattoria. Marisa, who is around 80 yrs old cooks lunch and dinner every day - and it is great!
                If you want a truly stellar meal, go to Villa Roncalli in Foligno. Just one caveat, the meal/service is veeeerrrrry long, but it will almost assuredly be the best meal you have, as the chef makes everything by herself, to order. The only reason they don't have a Michelin star is because of the service.
                Here's a link to my complete list of my favorite Umbrian restaurants:

                Don't forget that October is prime truffle and olive oil time - the BEST time to be in Umbria! The town of Trevi comes alive this month with lots of festivals.

                1 Reply
                1. re: LifeItalianStyle

                  "Don't forget that October is prime truffle and olive oil time - the BEST time to be in Umbria! The town of Trevi comes alive this month with lots of festivals."

                  Yes, and we are looking forward to it!

                  Grazie mille! That link is very helpful.