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Umbria Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


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#61 jg488

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 12:42 PM

My girlfriend and I are going to Umbria next week for seven days. We're staying in Tuoro-sul-Trasimeno, a small town on the North West corner of Lago Trasimeno. I'd love to hear from eGulleters with ideas about great food and wine in the area.

I've read the thread on Umbrian restaurants and there's lots of discussion of outdoor dining. I presume that some or many of these places are only open duing the warmer months, so I'd love some suggestsions of places that will be open in February. We'll have a car and will happily travel for great food.

Also, we're considering taking a day trip down to Vissani. From the website, it looks like the meal costs between 100-150 Euros per person, without wine. Any opinions on whether it's worth it?

Thanks,
JR

#62 peteswanson

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 12:50 PM

Definitely go to Vissani, it was certainly one of the best meals I've had.

#63 DaleJ

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 02:56 PM

I can nominate a few places (definately below Vassari).

My current favorite in all of Italy is I Sette Consoli in Orvieto. Take the funicular from the train station to the upper town and ask anyone for directions. I return rental cars there instead of Rome just to take lunch there.

In Foliigno center is Il Bacco Felicio, run by the indominable Salvatore ("Salvo"), a hole in the wall with writing on every surface. Strictly local food and wine (Sagrantino di Montefalco).

Just south of the beautiful hilltown of Trevi is Taverna del Pescatore with a little stream running by, swans and a tiny rapids. If the weather is good there is no place nearby with the outdoor ambience. It was just purchased by the son of the man who built the place. Watch for the one tiny sign when driving south.

At the top of Spello, another pretty hilltown, is La Bastiglia, a hotel with great views over the countryside and an adventurous kitchen and wine cellar.

In the center of Bevagna is Enoteca Piazza Onofri. Local food and wine and the party sometimes lasts into the night.

#64 hathor

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Posted 07 February 2006 - 03:12 PM

I adore I Sette Consoli! And I totally agree that it is worth the drive. We had a most magical lunch there in the summer.
Citta di Castello has Il Postale that everyone loves. I have some reservations about it, but I'm in the minority. But also in Citta, in the center of town, off the Piazza is Locanda Otto Cento. Local place that specializes in game. Also has incredible gnocchi with gorgonzola.
In the Niccone Valley, if you are coming from Lago Tresimeno, towards Citta/Sansepolcro, you will come across Fattoria Gira Sole. The restaurant is simply wonderful, very inexpensive and the wines come from the vineyard across the road. Be careful, you will eat too much. We had a tortellini-ini in brodo there that was just perfect, the tortellini's were perfectly shaped and about the size of one these smiley icons. :biggrin:
Right across the border into Tuscany, near Sansepolcro is fantastic pizza at Il Paradiso (we all call it the Lesbian pizza place as its all run by women...who are totally gorgeous). Try the 'rustico salad" which is simple slices of orange, raw garlic and olive oil. Its an inspired combination.
If you make it to our little town of Montone, a beautiful small walled in village, have a meal at Erbe Luna (the pistachio crusted lamb chops are suberb) and please give Claudio and Martina a kiss for me. We won't see them until April and its killing me.
Rest assured you will eat simply, but very, very well in Umbria. :rolleyes:

#65 jg488

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Posted 08 February 2006 - 02:15 PM

Thanks for these great ideas! I'd love to hear thoughts and suggestions about wine in Umbria. Any wineries that would be fun to visit? Or restaurants notable for their wine?

#66 hathor

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Posted 08 February 2006 - 02:22 PM

Here is a pretty comprehensive listing.
Caprai is one of the largest in Umbria. Things are pretty quiet in Feb....call ahead whevever you decide to go.
All the restaurants serve local wines....many of the wines don't make it out of the region. I'm biased, but I think the wines are quite good. Not on par with some of the pricey Tuscans or Piemonte wines, but quite good with the local cuisine.

#67 jg488

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Posted 08 February 2006 - 02:35 PM

Hathor, thanks for this link. I'll check into Caprai and others and try to arrange for some visits. Have you toured any of these? Any idea of which places have people who speak some english? Unfortunately, our italian skills are almost nil - althought we just bought a phrasebook...

#68 DaleJ

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Posted 08 February 2006 - 03:07 PM

Caprai is a big deal. They're even into clothing now.

Although its not on the above listing, you should try the Paolo Bea winery right on the edge of Montefalco. There may be an address or phone number on the slowtrav website. It is a favorite of that group. I've been there a couple of times and its a real personal treat. And the wine is first rate.

#69 peteswanson

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Posted 09 February 2006 - 09:10 AM

Antinori is incredible....the sommelier there is wonderful

#70 jg488

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Posted 09 February 2006 - 09:22 AM

Antinori is incredible....the sommelier there is wonderful

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Antinori's estate in Umbria is called Castello della Sala, right? Are you referring to a restaurant on that estate?

#71 jg488

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Posted 09 February 2006 - 09:24 AM

Caprai is a big deal.  They're even into clothing now. 

Although its not on the above listing, you should try the Paolo Bea winery right on the edge of Montefalco.  There may be an address or phone number on the slowtrav website.  It is a favorite of that group.  I've been there a couple of times and its a real personal treat.  And the wine is first rate.

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Thanks for these tips. We made reservations to visit both Caprai and Paolo Bea.

Keep those ideas coming!

#72 peteswanson

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Posted 09 February 2006 - 09:39 AM

Yes! The somellier gave the tour of the estate as well. He was incredibly knowledgable, and is still in contact with my soon to be father in law (we went last June) The estate is lovely and it really is incredible to see it...well worth it, as they just started giving tours in the past few years I believe

#73 jg488

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Posted 09 February 2006 - 09:45 AM

Yes! The somellier gave the tour of the estate as well. He was incredibly knowledgable, and is still in contact with my soon to be father in law (we went last June) The estate is lovely and it really is incredible to see it...well worth it, as they just started giving tours in the past few years I believe

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Pete, do you have any contact info for the estate or the somellier? All I could find was the general email address for Antinori.

Thanks,
JR

#74 Andrew Fenton

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 04:22 AM

My current favorite in all of Italy is I Sette Consoli in Orvieto.  Take the funicular from the train station to the upper town and ask anyone for directions.  I return rental cars there instead of Rome just to take lunch there.


I Sette Consoli is quite good; just had a very nice dinner there this past weekend (including some outstanding veal cheeks with truffled polenta). Also in Orvieto, don't miss Montanucci: it's a bar on the Corso Cavour that has a first-rate pasticceria.

#75 barola

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Posted 16 February 2006 - 06:48 AM

Re Caprai---the started in the clothing biz. They make obvious, international styled wine. Totally opposite of the Bea's. Definitely drink some Antonelli and Antano as well.

Best restaurant, Il Bacco Felice (salvatore denare's spot) in Foligno. --alice

#76 vigna

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 06:06 PM

Too late for your trip, jg488, but for anyone else going to Umbria, I can suggest Il Postale di Marco e Barbara in somewhat out of the way Cittá di Castello. I had lunch their last July (my second visit to the restaurant) and it was one of the best meals of my 3 weeks in Italy. Barbara is the hostess, her husband Marco, the chef, and her brother is the wine steward; all three are very very friendly and set a wonderful mood. What is very special here is that an amazing tasting menu ("La Terre e li Mare di, Degustazione di Antipasti") can be had for only 45 Euros, the biggest dining bargain I've found in Italy, perhaps anywhere. A gift of the chef, a little ball of liver paté with candied red onions, started the meal. The first course was supposed to be a Miso broth with raw tuna and egg, but I mentioned I don't like egg in soup and was offered a dish of fois gras prepared two ways with homemade marmalade and other sauces (not a bad substitution!). Then, a dish of scallops on a bed of spinach with passion fruit and rasberry sauces (yum!). Then, a broth with shrimp and triglie (red mullet), with a timbale of a tomato puree mixed with bread and vegetables (something like a ribbollita). Then, a sort of joke: two oysters placed on a bed of mozzarella di buffala with green lima beans, made to look a bit like a terrine of pig's feet, but delicious. Then (!), a dish of rana pescatrice (angler fish) with porcini mushrooms and asparagi di mare (a delicious sea alga). And then (!!!), a small portion of guancia di vitello (sort of a rich pot roast) with puree of root vegetables. This was followed by several small desserts. I had glasses of wine to match some of the courses: a great sparkling Riesling from Umbria (La Palazola), a Grecchetto (Palazzone, 2003) from near Orvieto, and a Montefalco Rosso (they poured me two glasses of this one). Wines were only a total of 13 Euros! Not only was this a fantastic bargain, but this is really a great restaurant -- very inventive and everything I had was delicious.

#77 Judith Umbria

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Posted 21 March 2006 - 03:10 AM

"Right across the border into Tuscany, near Sansepolcro is fantastic pizza at Il Paradiso (we all call it the Lesbian pizza place as its all run by women...who are totally gorgeous). Try the 'rustico salad" which is simple slices of orange, raw garlic and olive oil. Its an inspired combination."


Oops! That is in San Giustino Umbria and is called "Il Pensiero Stupendo" after a Patty Pravo song from the 70s.
I have no reservations about "il Postale" as I find that for the price it's a great meal. Michelin one star for 30-40 € plus wine?
In C di C there is also "Buongustaio" to recommend any day but Tuesday -- on San Florido. Outside the centro on the road to San Giustino, take the first right after the Cross mall and continue to "Ristorante Pulcinella" for seafood in both Napolitano and Umbrian style. Very good vale. I reviewed it for Slow Travel website.

#78 hathor

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 06:32 PM

Yes! You are right about Il Pensiero. I have a mental block about the name! :biggrin:
I'll have to give Ristorante Pucinella a try, I'm always on the look out for seafood in Umbria.
Judith, have you ever tried La Rocca in Umbertide? Really good fish restaurant, and wonderful people. I crave the lumache....

#79 Judith Umbria

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Posted 03 April 2006 - 01:54 AM

Judith, have you ever tried La Rocca in Umbertide?  Really good fish restaurant, and wonderful people. I crave the lumache....

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I haven't and must. I am deeply lazy.
I do NOT crave the lumache. They are ruinous to my garden and I hate hate hate them! BUT not enough to eat them for it. I was very careful when planning a party at a restaurant not to get rabbit on my menu, so instead they surprised us with lumache! Erg.

#80 hathor

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 05:20 PM

Judith Umbria, we should be back in Umbria by early May (please God!) and we'll plan a dinner at LaRocca. You can taste my lumache! :laugh: (these are sea snails though, not the land buggers).

#81 russ parsons

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 06:27 PM

is la stalla still running, in the hills above assisi? that was a really remarkable little place. very plain, but great bigoli and grilled foods.

#82 hathor

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Posted 05 April 2006 - 08:08 PM

I'm sorry Russ. I've never heard of it...but, I promise to do some research next chance I get.

#83 marlena spieler

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Posted 07 April 2006 - 04:42 AM

is la stalla still running, in the hills above assisi? that was a really remarkable little place. very plain, but great bigoli and grilled foods.

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thats the place that is sort of, like, in a former barn? and has the most divine grilled thing (a big oven right in the middle of the place), and the chairs are not very comfortable? i remember fab: potatoes, sausages, peppers, roasted cheese. the owner is very gregarious, and the decor kinda silly.

but i loved that place. was the place called la stalla or la stella? you're right: remarkable.
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#84 russ parsons

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Posted 11 April 2006 - 02:27 PM

got to this late, sorry. yes, that's the place, exactly. i think it's la stalla (the stall) rather than la stella (the star). it is, after all, in the stalls. at one point, i think they were talking about doing some kind of bnb concept.

i remember one time walking up there one early evening in fall, and hearing a barrage of gunfire going off around me. first day of boar season. they also do the cacciocavallo, where they split the cheese, stuff it with prosciutto and roast it on the grill.

why has it been so long since i've gone to umbria?

#85 cinghiale

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Posted 21 February 2007 - 08:58 AM

Just south of the beautiful hilltown of Trevi is Taverna del Pescatore with a little stream running by, swans and a tiny rapids.  If the weather is good there is no place nearby with the outdoor ambience.  It was just purchased by the son of the man who built the place.  Watch for the one tiny sign when driving south.

Bumping up this thread to give the website. Googling was only giving me the other TdP. This one is La TdP.

Having eaten at the restaurant several times, I was much looking forward to lunch there last week. Alas, weather-related flight delays out of Philly resulted in our arriving at the restaurant at 3PM, just after service.

We did speak with Moreno about planning a party for 40 or so this fall. He's quite passionate about his dedication to traditional Umbrian cooking, and he was more than happy to craft a menù degustazione that embodies his style and fits our budget. As Dale mentions, the ambience is terrific, both inside and out.

#86 John Talbott

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 06:33 AM

The Osteria del Trivio, 16 Via del Trivio in Spoleto, (PG), 0743.44349, closed Tuesdays, was a 2007 Slow Food Guide aka Osterie d’Italia recommendation. It looked much like any other osteria/trattoria; widely separated tables, one man working the front room, while two female chefs were in the back, strings of garlic, sausage, dried peppers etc., over the bar. We started with very generous portions of sausages and ham and cheeses served with white pizza plus brochettas with tomato as well as olive oil and garlic self-applied – the product was spectacular, true to Slow Food standards. Then Colette had raviolis of cheese and spinach and I had a pasta with mushrooms. How good were they? So good that upon leaving we booked for dinner; when I had a stuffed artichoke and Colette the minestrone; both real, great product and homey. Then we had biscotti and another regional “cookie” with vin santo. To complete the Spoleto experience we had the crescionda, a gateau of chocolate, macaroons and mistral. Our wines were a Sangiovese and a Montefulco. Lunch was 56 € and dinner 46 €; thus a full meal for two - with two antipasti, two pastas, two mains, three desserts, and two bottles of water, wine and two grappas was 102 €. Take that Mario!

La Trattoria, Strada de Vene, 7, Campello sul Clitunno (PG), 0743.275797, closed Thursday, a few klicks from Spoleto (PG) is a real dump you might easily pass up if driving quickly – unless you had looked in your Osterie d’Italia Guide and read that it served a host of regional specialties. Which we promptly ordered. The amuse bouches were a local version of brochette, but the bread was pretty pallid – I thought it was awful but Colette insisted it was just tasteless. She ordered a pasta with wild asparagus which was OK but not great, whereas my pasta with rancetto (bacon, pecorino and tomato) was superb. Then we shared a pigeon stuffed with its innards with wine sauce and fabulous peppered potatoes roasted with rosemary. The coffee was an unexpected moka (no espresso); the house and only wine was 6 € for a 75 cl bottle (this was wine country after all); the bill 41 €.

Umbria, via S Bonaventura 13, 075.8942737, Todi (PG). “Delectat & Nutrit” the sign says; even I can figure that out, and how true it was. This dark and dingy dump with beamed ceilings in back of the Palace on the main square in Todi was a revelation. You face out over the Umbrian plains, sitting besides a big lit fireplace with a well-used pot-belly stove in the center of the room in winter or on a grape-vine protected terrace in summer. There’s a case full of proscuitto and other hams, cheeses and delicacies. That’s just the start. While not having hit the Slow Food Guide yet, Faith Willinger, an old Osterie Guide and friends were correct in labeling this one a winner. First was a plate of goose chips in bean sauce; their specialty is game; top drawer. Then Colette had braised venison with mushrooms and I a wild boar cacciatoria - terrific. She had a craving for something more and the local cheese was simply superb. The bill, with ample local wine and a grappa was 65.50 €.

Broseccheria, via Garibaldi 43/45, in Foligno (PG), 02745950548. We’d driven long, it was dark and late, we arrived soaking wet. The welcome was marvelous, our host smiling, tie and handkerchief just right; the bit of white bubbly, perfect – what a find! And, we congratulated ourselves, it possessed three primo indicators in the Osterie d’Italia Guide; the cheese, wine and slow food (snail) symbols. The antipasti delivered unrequested were generous: proscuitto, foccacia, cheese bread, meat in bread pastry, ham in bread pastry, stuffed zucchini and tomatoes, beans – all in very rich, almost greasy products. Colette was the first to express doubts; the antipasti starches were too rich, too much like lard, enough already. The lights went out, power off. I looked over at the bar and saw a sign that said Broseccheria, my bird brain must have recognized that this place was not the Bacco Felice we’d reserved at; hadn’t I asked the concierge, the neighboring hotel, indeed our host when we entered? But I was snowed, even after a one-hour wait for the pasta – hey, said I, this is slow food, you want McDo’s, you go there, this is real food. Firsts were forced choices of pastas with a “kind of broccoli” and arugula – no taste, call for cheese, a bit better, but still pretty pathetic. Now it’s dawning on us that this place defines the bottom of the scale, all food in Italy is not great, some is dreadful, even for 45 €. Out! But they don’t take credit cards – the last straw! P.S. Once back at the ranch we realize that our ideal and real restaurants were one block apart. What a difference 26 numbers on the via Garibaldi in Foligno make.
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#87 hathor

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Posted 15 March 2007 - 08:12 AM

Nice round up John! Now we have to get you to come up to the Alta Tiberina! :biggrin: :biggrin:

#88 arni psito

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 02:10 AM

As one who used to spend a lot of time in Spoleto (playing at the festival) I'm curious: can you describe where the Osteria del Trivio is--lower or upper town, near the market or duomo, on the corso? (I don't think it was there back in my day.)
Thanks.

#89 John Talbott

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Posted 19 March 2007 - 04:26 AM

As one who used to spend a lot of time in Spoleto (playing at the festival) I'm curious: can you describe where the Osteria del Trivio is--lower or upper town, near the market or duomo, on the corso?  (I don't think it was there back in my day.) 
Thanks.

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Good question. It's in the lower town, in fact we parked in the Piazza Garibaldi (where S. Domenico and the bank etc are) and walked up the Corso Garibaldi (a largely pedestrian street) about three blocks to the via del Trivio, turned left, and it's a door or two down the street. Neither Mapquest nor the Michelin Rosso are of terrific help.
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#90 arni psito

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 12:43 AM

Thanks