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Umbria Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations

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93 replies to this topic

#91 ghostrider

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 07:07 AM

We found 2 fine places in Spoleto. This was close to 10 years ago so things may well have changed. I can't tell you their names or precise locations (though I could walk you drectly to both if anyone wants to fly me over :biggrin: - my brain is wired that way, I can always find my way back to anywhere). One was on a street off the square where they hold the market, off to the left if you're walking uphill - sort of a modern looking trattoria, reasonably priced, distinguished by the best tomatoes that we had in Italy that year. One of those "every bite a revelation" experiences.

The other was still in the upper town but way down the hill near the edge. Small owner-run place - one guy seemed to do everything. A bit cheaper than most places in town, no doubt due to out-of-the-way location, which made for the most affordable truffle dishes we encountered. Also, cruets of the most marvelously green & fragrant olive oil on every table for pouring & dipping bread. This one we found in one of my guidebooks so I probably have its name somewhere. The first one wasn't recommended, it just looked inviting & had something on the menu that I wanted to try, though I forget exactly what that was now. But I remember the insalata.
Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

#92 arni psito

arni psito
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Posted 21 March 2007 - 02:47 AM

Spoleto really is full of great restaurants, and truffles are everywhere! I remember a dinner at my landlord's one summer, bruschetta swimming in truffles, and then strangozzi (the local pasta) drowning in truffles. I had no idea how lucky I was back then. That was also when you could get a bottle of brunello for about 20,000 lire or less.

#93 cinghiale

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 07:07 AM

Four-year (!?!) bump -- but then again, some of us have engaged elsewhere in a discussion of the "lousiness" of Umbrian restaurants. :hmmm:

Had a most enjoyable meal last Sunday at Il Postale, which recently turned down a 500% rent increase at its old digs in Città di Castello and took its Michelin * down to the eastern outskirts of Perugia in the beautiful, historic Castello di Monterone. The restaurant is small, with just five tables, and retains some of the trappings of the old castle (inscription above the fireplace read "Fortebraccio", hathor) with a pleasing, modern overlay.

[apologies for the blurriness]
postale 02.jpg

The evening was warm, and some diners elected instead to eat outside under an elegant covered portico.

A wedding was winding down as we arrived, and that delayed service a bit. We were ushered into a sitting room and promptly served an aperitivo.
postale 01.jpg

In addition to à la carte, two tasing menus were offered: "Dall'Acqua" (fish) and "Sensazioni" (sorta Greatest Hits 1997-2008). We decided to each order one and share each dish, giving us 10 plates to try.

Amuse was a scallop.

DA first: Battuto di scampi, salsa al campari, gelato limone e basilico (camera failure here). Though paper-thin, the scampo was really rich and held up nicely with all the other flavors at work here.

S first: Baverese di bufala, crema di pomodoro, pesto di basilico, croccante di alici
postale 03.jpg
This was one my favorite dishes of the evening. The mozzarella had the consistency of a flan (a "Bavarian creme"), the tomato broth was delicate but really flavorful, and the anchovy bits added a nice touch of salt.

DA second: Calamaro farcito con verdure croccanti, purea de melanzane al nero, peperoni in tempura
postale 04.jpg
A bit difficult to eat, flavors weren't really there for me. The tempura was a nice touch, though, imitating the squid's tentacles.

S second: Millefoglie di lingua di bue, fegato grasso, crema di cipolla de Cannara
postale 05.jpg
A bit of a misnomer, but delicious all the same. Ox tongue and fois gras -- why don't I do this at home? The onions are a variety local to Umbria and, fwiw, recognised by Slow Food.

Midcourse: Carbonara distrutta
postale 06.jpg
Deconstructed carbonara, one of Chef Marco Bistarelli's signature dishes and really not to be missed. The egg in the bottom of the dish was kept warm by the spaghetti atop it. You compose your own forkful of guanciale and noodle and swirl in the egg. Really good.

DA third: Cappesante in potacchio, aria di finocchio
postale 08.jpg
Perfectly braised scallops, nicely paired with the fennel "foam".

S third: Pappa al pomodoro e trippa di vitello all parmagiana
postale 07.jpg
Not much to look at, but really good. The tripe was soft as butter.

DA fourth: Ravioli di seppia e piselli
postale 09.jpg
I found these to be somewhat underdone. The filling was light and summery, though.

S fourth: Tortelli di alici, zuppa di ricotta e mentuccia, uova di aringa
postale 10.jpg
Standout of the night. The tortelli were perfectly cooked, the anchovy filling was delicious, and the combination of ricotta, mint, and herring roe was really, really outstanding. The gold leaf was a tad much, though my dining partner's son, a 10th-grade science nut, was amazed that one would actually eat gold.

DA fifth: Gabillon al vapore arrostito sulla pelle, gazpacho di pomodoro, olive taggiasche, chips di calamari
postale 11.jpg
The pollack was very good -- delicate yet flavorful -- as was the tomato and olive broth.

S fifth: Piccione arrostito con la sua coscia farcita, scaloppa di fegato grasso e verdure croccanti.
postale 12.jpg
No big surprise of preparation here, but accomplished well.

Desserts were competent. A tasty semifreddo with pineapple and lime and a "mojito" and raspberry sauce
postale 13.jpg
and a tagliata di limone, liquirizia, grattachecca di caffé -- I liked the coffee sorbetto part quite a bit
postale 14.jpg

My dining partner doesn't drink, and since I was driving, I indicated I'd drink open wine. This was waved off, and I was presented with a choice of two whites from the wine list (I opted for the Grechetto, hathor, which I have been missing). Midway through the meal, I was poured a Lautizio red from Spoleto, which is made with the ciliegiolo grape and does taste distinctly of cherry.

Service was impeccable. Chef Bistarelli passed regularly through the dining room to check on how we were doing.

With mignardises, coffee, digestivo, water, etc., bill for two came to bit over € 200.

I'm looking forward to a return visit.

Edited by cinghiale, 01 July 2011 - 07:08 AM.

#94 Man

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 11:58 AM

Very enticing dishes! Thanks for this report, it's an area of Italy I know very little, gastronomically and otherwise.