NYC foodies in Umbria/Tuscany
I'm heading to Italy next week -- spending the first few nights in Rome (for which I have a long list of yummy spots thanks to Chowhound), and then off to Umbria (specifically Montegabbione). We will have a car, love food, and our objective is to relax by driving around the beautiful scenic area and eating amazing food. Any tips on some local/hidden gems in Tuscany and Umbria that we shouldn't miss? We are willing to drive as far as Siena (which is a little over an hour away). Cost doesn't matter, though we do really love restaurants with a rustic/local ambiance, and will be getting our fill of some fancy places in Rome.
Thanks ttoommyy. Any other thoughts from anyone? Particularly for Tuscany? For now I have these starter thoughts to narrow down in Umbria and Tuscany:
Siena: Hosteria il Carrocio, Ristorante Grotta Santa Caterina,
L'Osteria, Osteria Castelvecchio, Antica Osteria Da Divo
Chianti: La Bottega, Osteria alla Piazza, Ristorante Malborghetto, Fattoria Montagliari
Montalcino: Osteria Osticcio
Between Montepulciano and Pienza: La Porta, La Grotta
Panicale: Lillio Tatini
Montisi: Da Roberto
Orvieto: I Setti Consoli
Would love some thoughts!
If you plan to head over to the main valley area (Bevagna, Cannara, Spello, Montefalco, Assisi etc), see my post here for my favorite places to eat:
Also, there is a great festival going on in the town of Foligno (kind of the "city" of Umbria) called Primi d'Italia from September 26-29 - a celebration of pasta - lots of fun if you are in the area! http://www.iprimiditalia.it/
I just had a great meal at La Palomba in Orvieto. The two pastas we ordered (one a carbonara-ish with truffles and the other a lamb ragu) were both outstanding. And don't miss their signature dish, Palmoba. Palomba is wild dove, and if they don't have that, they substitute is with pigeon, which is just as delicious.
We love, love, love Le Casaline near Poreta. In fact we went there for my birthday last July and had a great meal as every single time we have visited in the last 10 years.
They breed goose (though they must keep them far from the restaurant) and make salami and tiny prosciutto of it which they serve as a part of their magnificent mixed appetizer. Last time we had this splendid multicolor pasta which was not only beautiful but very delicious. I make several thousand ravioli per year, so I sort of know what to expect for good quality :)
Boy, does that bring back memories. Stayed at Le Casaline a long time ago. It was a memorable experience. The only problem was we intended to dine there all of our 3 nights, but after the first night we realized we had eaten every dish on the menu the first night. They just kept bringing us more food and wine, and it was ridiculously cheap, but everything was delicious. The goose prosciutto was something I will never forget.
So, the second night we went to Taverna del Pescatore, which was nearby and wonderful. The third night we tried another place in Campello sul Clitunno that was pretty good but not memorable.
It's great to hear that Casaline is still gong strong.