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Umbria


SuY
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Heading over to Umbria at the end of Sept and would love any recommendations on food/lodging? Tried finding info on the forum and may have searched wrong but there was nothing post 2006? Any more recent info would be greatly appreciated!

Su

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I'm certain that I've done this litany several times, but I'm always up to noting my Umbrian favorites. I usuallly base at Le Case Gialle, about five or so km west of Bevagna. Bevagna is large enough to have a couple of good macelerie and alimentari plus a fresh pasta and a good wine shop.

In the center of Bevagna is Osteria Piazza Onofri, a pleasant place with good local food and wine. Sometimes eventful in the evening.

Within a half hour drive are a handful of good eats. Just south of Trevi, and on the other side of the road, is Taverna del Pescatore, alongside a stream with rapids and swans. Lunch under the big tent is worthwhile. Watch attentively for the single little sign on the road.

At the top of Spello is a nice hotel, La Bastiglia. Great views and an adventurous kitchen. Bring money.

And in the main square of Montefalco (home of Sagrantino) is l'Alchamisto. Its in an enoteca and down the basement. Fine local food and worth the effort to find. We were taken there by Mauro and Silvana from Le Case Gialle. A real find.

Perugia is nearby, and in the other direction are Spoleto, Norcia and Casteluccia.

And, although a long way away, I never fail to visit I Sette Consoli in Orvieto Alto. My favorite in all of Italy. Bring money.

Buon viaggio.

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For world class fancy dining I'd also recommend the Sette Consoli in Orvieto and Il Postale in Citta de Castello, north of Perugia. On a given day one might be better than the other, but both are excellent. Both are members of the Juene Restaurateurs de Europe group (spelling may be off here) and I've had great experiences with members of this group over the past decade or so - no others near Umbria, though.

For really good food, and a lot more fun (not always the top desire) go to Bacco Felice in Foligno. If possible go more than once. You will eat whatever the chef/proprietor, Salvatore, chooses to serve you, and you will be expected to eat a LOT of food and show enthusiasm - this is not at all difficult if you are in a receptive mood.. The food is really good, not overly refined or fancily plated (family style is the really inadequate description I would choose - just a family with a better chef and ingredients than mine) . You may have many courses of great salumi, roast chicken, super tomatoes, pasta, etc. Salvatore gets great ingredients and prepares them simply and with gusto. And he hangs out and keeps the mood of the place buoyant. Unlike the fancier places they push excellent wines at really inexpensive prices. Go hungry - lunch is a good time, perhaps after a morning in Assisi.

The walls are filled with graffiti from appreciative visitors - our teenagers really loved finding a blank spot on the wall to record their happiness. I'll try to post a photo later.

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How could I have forgotten to mention Salvatore's place, a prominent part of this weekend's conversations with an old friend from Umbria. Infact, my visit to l'Alchemista last November was because my friend, Mauro, was unable to get Salvatore on the phone because he was in, of all places, Napa Valley, giving cooking lessons.

Salvatore is an event all by himself. A local linstitution, he was the subject of a long article in one of the food mags a couple of years ago. Much of the servings are from his own farm.

In the typical Italian manner, on one occasion I laid out all my money at the end of the meal and Salvo, in his usual style, elaborately penciled all of the costs on the butcher paper table covering. The sum, of course, exactly matched my holdings.

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  • 2 months later...

In Montefalco, do not miss Spirito Divino, and I agree with I Sette Consoli in Orvieto. Both pricey but well worth it and memorable. San Giorgio in Umbertide is also quite good. If you happen to be travelling through Emilio Romano enroute to Umbria, a stop at Hotel Locando Gambero Rosso in S. Piero in Bagno (just off the Bagno di Romano exit, off the E45) is a must. Also a delightful place to stay for an overnight after a destination dinner. And Bagno di Romano is just down the road, so you can do a morning or afternoon soak in the terme (natural lithium hot springs) and come out with a smile!

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Not sure where in Umbria you’re going to be but here are a few recommendations for good dining at decent prices in and around Orvieto sent to us by a friend who has a house in the area. We stayed there this summer and only got to a few but I highly recommend Trattoria del Conte (aka the Grouch).

Trattoria del Conte

Localita Buon Respiro, 18

(Orvieto - Montefiascone highway)

Tel: 0763.217046

Cell: 349.4211355

Frumpy, grumpy and indisputably the very best food in the whole area. Our friends simply refer to this restaurant as "the Grouch" due to the chronic surly attitude of the owner. However the waitresses are very pleasant and you can't dispute the quality of the food. Reservations recommended. . I went, loved it and wrote this one up on my blog (www.abigailblake.com/sugarapple/ - just do a search for “grouch”).

La Palomba

via Cipriano Manente, 16

05018 ORVIETO (centro historico)

Tel: 0763/343395

Closed Wed

(Note: reservations a must!)

A resident Orvieto foodie friend told our friends that that after "the Grouch," this is the best food in the Orvieto area. They have been and say it is friendly and the food is delicious and inexpensive! They tried three times without making reservations and did not get in once so reservations are a must.

Mezza Luna

via Ripa Serancia, 3

05018 Oriveto

Tel. +39 0763.341234

This is a must for any short list of Orvieto restaurants. Recommended by more than one friend (several Italians who live in Orvieto).

Trattoria delle Corte

via Roma, 11

05023 - Baschi

Tel. 0744957193

(15 min drive from Orvieto in direction of Todi)

(Reservations recommended)

Outside Orvieto in the historic center of Baschi, a town that could serve as a 1930's Italian movie set today. Good, cheap family cooking in a very comfortable and picturesque setting. Make reservations to be sure to get a seat on the outside terrace.

Osteria Lo Spugnone,

via delle Terme, 4/6

Bagni San Filippo

Castiglione d'Orcia (SI),

tel: 0577.872030

Closed Tue

This one’s really in Tuscany, but 25 mins from Acquapendente on the road to Siena (The Cassia) you will find a turn-off to the small Tuscan village of Bagni San Filippo. At the foot of Mt Amiata, this village has some very interesting and inexpensive (indeed free if you like) thermal baths. It also has what this weekend became my favorite restaurant. I have been back twice! Enter Osterian Lo Spugnone and you could be in the Italy I remember from my very first visit 30 years ago. 'Quaint' does not do it justice. From the village to the venue to the menu this place is country Italian! From Rabbit cooked in milk to snails stewed four hours in tomato, pork jowl and fresh sage this place is unique. My friends were tipped off to come here by a restaurant owner in Montepulciano who said, "If you want something really unique in southern Tuscany, this is the place to go!" He was right! Take your swimsuits and spend a half day at the baths while you are there. The outdoor public baths are free and (and quite beautiful) and the private baths are less than 10 Euros.

With regard to lodging, where are you going to be? I don't do hotels, we always rent a house so that we can do some cooking with the lovely Italian ingredients. I can recommend several villas, one in Umbria about 15 minutes from Orvieto and one in a beautiful village called Torre Alfina, in Lazio. Fantastic area, almost no tourists except in a few of the larger towns like Orvieto.

Abigail Blake

Sugar Apple: Posts from the Caribbean

http://www.abigailblake.com/sugarapple

"Sometimes spaghetti likes to be alone." Big Night

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Ciao. Tuning in a bit late, but that is oh, so Italian.

Nice sagra website Sugar Apple, but its not complete. It's missing THE sagra of the season: Festa del Bosco in Montone! Oct 30-Nov. 1 all products of the woods, including truffles. It's crazy good.

Also missing the sagra list is the Trevi black celery festival which was last weekend and the Citta di Castello festa which should be the first weekend in Nov. That sagra/festa has really developed and aside from lots and lots of truffles, there is a very good sampling of the new olive oil.

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Judith: We had a wonderful Trevi black celery stuffed lasagna primo about this time last year at l'Alchemista (upthread). Had never heard of the celery before. There was, however, no secondo since the four of us demolished about ten plates of antipasti.

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