A Week in Lucca, September
My wife and I will be in Lucca next month. While we have day tripped there this is our first stay. While I have culled a few restaurant names from various sources I'd appreciate any favorites from you all. Thanks.
We have lived in the Lucca area for 3-6 months for the past 10 years. Because we live there, when we want to dine out, we decide on the basis of what we want to eat. This is different from the average tourist’s point of view which is to eat at a restaurant recommended by a guide book. I will list the dish and restaurant and if there is another dish that we find note worthy, it will also be mentioned. Unfortunately since none of these restaurants are inside the Walls of Lucca, a car is a necessity. Price ranges include the house wine.
Il Soggiorno located in Pedona.
Also try: Pollo-the coscia.
Excellent view of the mountains from the dining room.
40-50 Euros for 2
Il Castello located in Castello/Santa Maria Albiano.
Also try: Grilled rabbit.
Most restaurants do not want to take the effort to grill a rabbit, but prefer to chop the rabbit into small pieces and then mix with chicken pieces and fry.
The dining room is a little weird, but when the food arrives, the room disappears.
35-42 Euros for 2
Zuppe di faro:
Lo Spietato located in La Pieve, Camaiore.
Portion size is very large.
A good all around ristorante/pizzeria
Also try: pizza and pasta dishes
30-40 Euros for 2
Ceru located in Gombitelli.
An albergho/ristorante which has a wholesale/retail side specializing in pork products. For lunch (and dinner during the summer) their outdoor seating gives a spectacular view of the Versilia from Viaregio to past La Spezia.
Also try: house antipasto
50-60 Euros for 2.
(other than traditional tomato or meat sauce)
Bamboro located on the Via Provinciale Sant'Alessio just west of Lucca.
Spaghetti alla bottarga or Spaghetti cacio e pepe
Also try: Stinco di maiale or Baccala
If either of these two dishes isn’t on the menu, ask for it and the chef/owner will oblige. 35-45 Euros for 2.
Especially good for Lunch (Pranzo Lavoro-workman’s lunch)
La Vecchia Posta* located in Ponte San Pietro .
Many choices of Primi and Secondi with various seafood
10-13 Euros a person for 2 course lunch
Also open for dinner
Emphasis on Meat:
Il Ciancino* located in San Macario in Piano
They will happily show you your cut of meat before it is cooked
10-15 Euros per person.
Also open for dinner on weekends
* Both of these restaurants differ from the usual workman’s price fixed lunch because instead of having a limited choice of usually three items per piatto, the entire menu is available.
OUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT in Lucca area:
Lombardo located on Via della Pieve S.Stefano 4801, 55100 Lucca.
Traditional and unique Tuscan offerings, always with the best seasonal ingredients.
If the weather at night is still warm, request a table on the terrazzo and you will dine over-looking the Tuscan hills with a view south to the harbor at Livorno. The restaurant is located in an area with many tourist apartments, but even in the height of the tourist season over 50% of the conversations in Italian.
Since the wine list ranges from 18 to over 200 Euros, your bill can vary significantly.
Our bill for two is usually 90-100 Euros with a 28 – 38 Euro bottle of wine.
This is where we have our first meal when we return and the last meal before we leave Lucca.
We spent a month in Lucca in early 2013 - loved it. Some restaurants we enjoyed within the walls are:
- Buca di Sant Antonio
- La Nonna Clara (pizza oven hot at lunch)
- Gigi Trattoria - by the SPAR
We ate at L'Imbuto in the art gallery - at the time it was highly recommended (still is) but we thought it was still a work in progress. Worthy of consideration.
Outside the walls (need a car -- both an easy drive from Lucca on the same road)
- L'Antica Locando di Sesto - a restaurant we returned to often on both our visits to Lucca. Lovely family who own it and delicious Tuscan cuisine.
- Ristorante Butterfly - we had a stunning lunch there---beautiful setting and excellent tasting menu. We chose the meat (land) menu but there is also a sea menu I believe.
I'm just back from five days in Lucca. We ate cheaply and very well, almost entirely pasta, both for budgetary reasons and because main courses seemed to be mostly large lumps of sauceless meat.
Favourites were Da Giulio, near Porto San Donato, for both food and atmosphere. Particularly good antipasto. And Piccolo Mondo in Via Paulino, where I had divine pasta (on the menu as maccheroni, but it turned up square) with gently stewed porcini and my friend had delicious spaghetti vongole. The Local Food Market (obviously aimed at American/English tourists but most diners were Italian) had quite exceptional salume but unexceptional other dishes. They have a good shop.
The best ices I had were at Di Colatello, though a friend swears by Grom's pistachio.