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NYC foodies in Umbria/Tuscany

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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.

Thank you!

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  1. Start with this thread for Umbria. I got some good suggestions from the board when I asked about lunch in Umbria a few weeks back.

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9103...

    1. 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!

      1. 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:
        http://www.lifeitalianstyle.com/where...
        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/

        1. 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.

          www.ElizabethMinchilliInRome.com

          1. 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 :)

             
            3 Replies
            1. re: madonnadelpiatto

              Looks good Letizia - we are looking for a new place to go for our anniversary this weekend, I was thinking of La Laconda di Montecchio, but Le Casaline is a lot closer! :-)

              1. re: LifeItalianStyle

                Jennifer do order the antipasto della casa and only one main. You will not want to take anything else after the antipasto. Last time I had to order dessert because it was my birthday and I thought I would die! Happy anniversary!

              2. re: madonnadelpiatto

                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.

              3. Thank you all!

                Are any of the restaurants I mentioned above past their prime or not worth going to?

                1. Be sure to take 10-15 minutes and do searches for all the cities & towns you expect to visit. You will find many helpful recommendations already here.

                  Il Rossellino in Pienza has been recommended several times over the past few years.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: DavidT

                    Yo David, Not to be a Richard or something but it takes about a half hour to a couple hours for each of those searches if one does them more or less reasonably well. And some of those searches don't exist in an expectantly useful time frame so one has to go offsite (from CH). Just sayin' and not hassling you.

                    1. re: Tom Hall

                      As much as I disagree with it, you are welcome to your opinion. There are dozens and dozens of current/recent threads relative to Tuscany available to review.

                      For example, a search for threads that have referenced Siena in the last 30 days turns up over 30 threads. There is a gold mine of information already available here. In 10, 15 or 20 minutes, anyone can work up a list that can serve as an excellent starting point for further discussion.

                  2. I guess we're doing it backwards -- letting the food dictate where we go, as opposed to letting the towns we want to visit dictate which restaurants to go to :)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: maz819

                      you are not alone, all our holidays are like this and we never regret it!

                    2. If you travel up to Cortona I can recommend
                      La Buccacia
                      Locanda nel Loggietto
                      La Grotta

                      all are on or near the main square (Piazza Republica)

                      I've also had two wonderful dinners at Hostaria del Teatro, but on my last visit my fellow diners weren't as happy with their food

                      1. I'll chime in if not too late. From one NYC foodie to another...

                        Siena - We liked La Tellina

                        Da Roberto was a great experience overall. Its a one man show - like eating at your uncle's house. As Slow Food as it gets so allow some time

                        I Setti Consoli and La Porta were just ok for us. I would go with minchillis suggestion in Orvieto

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Ziggy41

                          Got distracted at work and had to leave (hate it when work gets in the way of food). Anyway, continuing...

                          In Montepulciano we opted for Gattavecchi instead of La Grotta and couldnt have been happier with the result

                          In Montichiello more than one local mentioned Moranda but we didnt make it.

                          Near Montalcino we liked Il Pozzo in Sant'Angelo in Colle

                          Possibly our best meal of the trip was in Guastini in Valiano Amazing food in a great setup... http://wp.me/p2zSmJ-LR

                          Enjoy

                        2. I would say that da Roberto is a "don't miss" but do call ahead. He sometimes closes at random times.

                          And, although it is decidedly touristy, we had a fantastic lunch at Latte di Luna in Pienza.