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VivreManger

Umbria Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations

94 posts in this topic

Seeing the tower of Pisa was an awesome experience—in context (Campo dei Miracoli), it's just staggeringly beautiful. It's definitely worth a visit.

Plus you get to take the picture of your SO holding up the Tower (or pushing it over).

Yeah, but that's so silly! :raz::raz:

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We are in the process of planning a trip to Tuscany and Umbria for 2 weeks, the first half of June next year. I am trying to decide where to headquarter ouselves for the 2 weeks, as we plan to rent a villa/farmhouse for the entire time and do daytrips from there. The last time we were there we stayed east of Arezzo and visited Arezzo, Siena, San Gimignano, Gubbio, Cortona, Assisi, Firenze as well as many smaller lesser known towns near us or on the way to and from other destinations. I loved the smaller lesser known towns, I also really liked Siena, Cortona and Gubbio. San Gimignano and Assisi seemed too touristy (at least when we were there, July). Firenze is great, but I think that will wait for another trip. .........

You have pretty much done a lot of Tuscany - You could try and stay in San Giovanni - I'd suggest San Gimignano, but then you considered it too touristy. You will be a tourst no ? even if you stayed there for two weeks ?

Actually on another site, we normally ask or post what our daily budget per person is - that way one can get a perspective on the trip-logistics.


anil

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You have pretty much done a lot of Tuscany - You could try and stay in San Giovanni - I'd suggest San Gimignano, but then you considered it too touristy. You will be a tourst no ? even if you stayed there for two weeks ?

We have done a lot of Tuscany, but we are going with some people who have never been so it will all be new to them. And we like Tuscany/Umbria so I am looking for a place to stay where we can explore some other parts of the area that we haven't been to. As I mentioned above the 2 options that are most appealing right now are southern Umbria (Todi, Orvieto region) or north west Tuscany (around Lucca).

Where is San Giovanni? I couldn't locate it on the map, although I don't have my good map with me right now.

The whole tourist thing is a bit of a conundrum. Of course we will be tourists--we are whenever we travel and are very aware of that. My goal when traveling is to try to balance doing the typical tourist things (museums, castles, ruins, etc.) with getting a feel for the way the residents of the area live their lives. We do this by wandering lesser known towns and neighborhoods, trying to stay in one place for more than a couple of days so that we can become temporary "regulars" at the local coffee bar, trattoria, butcher etc. Sometimes we do this by renting a place with a kitchen so that we can take advantage of the markets in the area.

San Gimignano, although it looked like a beautiful town, had too many tourist busses and I couldn't avoid the feeling of being herded long enough to relax and enjoy the town.


Fred Bramhall

A professor is one who talk's in someone else's sleep

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A fantastic place to stay and eat in Umbria is the Villa Roncalli in Foligno. They have several simple rooms and a good size swimming pool, but the best part by far–and the reason to go–is dinner, which is exquisitely prepared Umbrian fare. Don’t eat much during the day, though, because after this four-hour, multi-course meal you’ll wonder if you can even make it up the stairs to your room. My wife and I have eaten there a few times, but only on the first did we order off the menu. Best to let chef owner Maria Luisa chose for you and your guaranteed one of the best meals of your life. If you staying there, be sure to make a reservation for both the room and dinner and to confirm it. The last time we went they had our room reservations but had neglected to tell us that they were having a wedding that night. But no matter, after some discussion we were told to come back after nine and then, sitting with the other hotel guests by the pool (and away from the ceremony), were treated to each and every delicious course of the wedding feast. By the way, Spoleto, which is only a few towns over, is a beautiful little ville with some very nice food and wine stores in the town center. There’s also an tiny Enoteca (the name of which I can’t remember, but you’ll know it when you see it–it’s tucked into a corner under an archway), with communal tables and a Scottish-educated man serving fine wine and his mother’s home cooking (really, she’s in the back slaving away while her son is out front smoozing). And if you like hiking (or feel you need to work up an appetite for the Villa), Spoleto’s got some great uncrowded trails where you can take a lazy stroll to a picnic table with a bel vista or a strenuous climb to the mountain top. Have fun.

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I live in Rome right now, and am pretty familiar with most of the areas you discuss.

Norcia and Volterra, while nice, are kind of off by themselves in remote corners. Better for a day trip than a base.

We stayed in a villa near Lucca this summer, and while Lucca itself is a wonderful town, I kind of agreed with my friend who sniffed, "The area around it is like Appalachia." That's not strictly true -- but the countryside is much less protected (i.e., there are ugly modern buildings and factories) than other parts of Tuscany/Umbria, much more heavily populated, much less pastoral. I would not return to stay in the countryside there. There just isn't that much of it.

It personally love the Orvieto/Todi area for a base. Spoleto, a great town, is at your fingertips, you can scoot up 45 to Spello,Bevagna, Montefalco, or down to Narni, taking a dip into Lazio, visiting the interesting Viterbo, Tuscania, Bomoarzo, etc. And then, to the north, you have the best part of Tuscany -- the Sienna province -- with Montepulciano, Pienza, Montalcino, etc. -- all within easy A-1 daytripping distance.

Also, the area around San Casango di Bangni (sp?) is some of the most beautiful countryside I've ever seen. Ditto the drive between Todi and Spoleto. Do not miss.

R.G.

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It personally love the Orvieto/Todi area for a base.  Spoleto, a great town, is at your fingertips, you can scoot up 45 to Spello,Bevagna, Montefalco, or down to Narni, taking a dip into Lazio, visiting the interesting Viterbo, Tuscania, Bomoarzo, etc.  And then, to the north, you have the best part of Tuscany -- the Sienna province -- with Montepulciano, Pienza, Montalcino, etc. -- all within easy A-1 daytripping distance. 

Also, the area around San Casango di Bangni (sp?) is some of the most beautiful countryside I've ever seen.  Ditto the drive between Todi and Spoleto.  Do not miss.

R.G.

R.G.--Thanks, I am really leaning to the Orvieto/Todi area. It just sounds like a nice region with a lot of options for day trips. There is a villa that we're looking at just outside of San Casciano Dei Bagni, although that's a little farther removed from Todi/Orvieto.


Fred Bramhall

A professor is one who talk's in someone else's sleep

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I don't know your price range or the number in your party, but the nicest villa I have ever rented was called the Villa Molninazzo, from Daniel Morneau at Vacanza Bella. It sleeps 10, all with en suite bathrooms, and it's near both Todi and Orvieto. The pictures on the internet don't begin to do it justice. I wrote a review of it on the Slow Travelers web site.

R.G.

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Although it is the right size, Villa Molinazzo is a bit more money than we are hoping to spend. Too bad, because it looks perfect, but we are footing the bill for this one on our own rather than sharing with the other folks involved. I think I had already read your review of it on Slow Travel, small world eh.


Fred Bramhall

A professor is one who talk's in someone else's sleep

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Was hoping for some advice / recommendations for restaurants in Umbria?

Specifically, we (large group of friends) have hired a holiday in mid-June in Umbria. My geography is pretty poor but I think that the nearest village is called Collazzone (sp?) and so therefore we're very close to Perugia (35km?), Assisi and Spoleto - and Deruta. It's my first visit to that region so we're planning various day trips to those places (assuming we can drag oursleves away from the poolside!)

I'm hoping that the quality of basic ingredients in Umbria will mean we don't get any awful meals - but am interested in what is considered particularly good. Particularly as we are a large group (15 adults - age-wise anyway if not in behaviour) ... and it can be really annoying to spend hours pffaffing about where to have lunch.

Does anyone have any recommendations? Think most of the time, we'll be looking for good reasonable food in a mid price range for lunch (random guess of 20 - 30 EUROS - without drinks) - but info on stellar establishments would also be appreciated - there are a few of us who will be glad of the chance for some indulgence.

Any guidance will be much appreciated!

Cheers

Yin

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We have eaten twice (over a 10 year inerval!) at Taverna Del Lupo in Gubbio (not incredibly far from Assisi) . Both times the meal was excellent. It is rated in tourist books, but not crowded for lunch and large enough for a good sized group. Also, we find Gubbio well worth a visit. The details are:

TAVERNA DEL LUPO: V. Baldassini 60 - 06024 - Gubbio (PG) - Tel: (+39) 075 9274368

Mike

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I thoroughly enjoyed I Sette Consoli in Orvieto (Piazza Sant'Angelo). The kitchen is run by a talented woman, who until recently had a *.

In Torgiano, near Perugia, the restaurant in the Hotel Tre Vaselle was quite good. Torgiano is also home to the Olive Oil Museum, which is worth a visit.

At any moment, you're sure to hear from DaleJ, who will rightly sing the praises of Taverna del Pescatore, just south of Trevi. Pretty difficult to find, but definitely worth the trip.

€30 won't get you very far, but Vissani (**) is on the road from Orvieto to Todi.

If you make it as far east as Norcia, be sure to try Granaro del Monte (lentil soup rocked).


Edited by cinghiale (log)

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I also can highly recommend I Setti Consoli in Orvieto, which has excellent food and very gracious service. I cannot understand why they lost their Michelin star. This is a very fine place.

My absolute favorite (so-far) in Umbria is Il Postale di Marco e Barbara in Cittá di Castello. The tasting menus are superb -- very fresh ingrediants and innovative, and is a very good value for what is offered (a well deserved Michelin one star). If the weather is nice, you can eat in their pleasant garden.

On the outskirts of Perugia, I can recommend the restaurant Gîo Arte e Vini, which is in a modern hotel. They offer regional menus and also great wine pairings, also a good value.

In Assisi, I had a very nice meal at San Francesco, located just across the piazza from the Basilica di S. Francesco. What I remember most about this place is having a wonderful antipasto plate.

(All the above suggestions are based on meals I've had in the past 20 months.)

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Ciao! Have no fear, you will eat very well in Umbria. We tend to get short notice in cook books, but trust me, we eat very, very well! :cool:

Vigna: where exactly in Citta is il Potale?? We are there all the time and I just can't seem to find it. Ridiculous I know! If you wind up near Citta, stop in to Montone. Its a very beautiful, walled medival village, and you can eat extremely well at Erbe Luna which is one of the 2 bars in the Piazza. The front is a regular, but very fun and colorful bar, with a restaurant in the back. Depending on what's happening in town, lunch in the piazza is entertaining as well as tasty! My husband has a long pony tail, and speaks terrible Italian to everyone, you can't miss him!! :laugh:

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I'm embarrased to say I cannot name any restaurants, but everything I ate in Orvieto was outstanding, to say the least. We were there for one week in late winter, and never had a bad meal. Umbria is so beautiful, I hope you enjoy your trip. Check out Civita di Bagnoregio if you have the time. It's a fun day trip. We ate in the lower town and it was good too!


Edited by emmapeel (log)

Emma Peel

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I'd recommend a trip to Norcia. It's a longer drive (maybe a couple of hours from near Perugia), but well worth it to visit the town of pork butchers. The dining room in the Grotto Azurro (not sure if that's spelled right, but it's the main hotel in the little town, just off the central piazza) is quite good. If you're willing to go farther, a pilgrimage to Castelluccio for lenticchie is also time well spent.

Jim


olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

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I second that emotion of the Taverna Del Lupo in Gubbio

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Il Postale is one of the best restaurants in Italy. It has a Michelin star and a Gambero Rosso food rating of 51 from their 2004 guide. For the level this restaurant is on it is a remarkable value; were it in, say, Rome or Florence it would cost at least twice as much. This is a post of mine about it from another board in December of 2002:

http://www.chowhound.com/boards/intl4/messages/15993.html

In reading the above post I note prices at Il Postale in dollars. Please bear in mind that the exchange rate in December of 2002 was about .93 to the Euro. Today it is 1.29.

I believe that my wife and I were the first to visit it and to write about it. Since then I've seen many, many people on several websites rave about their experiences there. You should give serious consideration to visiting it. And, don't miss DeRuta either, which, with the current exchange rate may be nightmarishly expensive.


Edited by Joe H (log)

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Thanks to all for their contributions and advice thus far - it is very much appreciated.

Had seen mention of Il Postale elsewhere - and have now located Citta di Castello on a map so that's a start. However, have not had any luck in googling for a website - does anyone have a direct link?

Gubbio sounds like a good idea - may have to work on some friends to persuade them to Norcia if a little further.

I can see I am going to be very well-fed this holiday!

Further thoughts still welcomed

Yin

X

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Thanks to all for their contributions and advice thus far - it is very much appreciated.

Had seen mention of Il Postale elsewhere - and have now located Citta di Castello on a map so that's a start.  However, have not had any luck in googling for a website - does anyone have a direct link?

Gubbio sounds like a good idea - may have to work on some friends to persuade them to Norcia if a little further.

I can see I am going to be very well-fed this holiday!

Further thoughts still welcomed

Yin

X

This is their website. The first page is in English although the menu (E 50 is the most expensive prix fixe!) is not:

http://www.ristoranteilpostale.it/index_eng.htm

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As noted above, I heartily recommend Taverna del Pescatore in PIgge. We were there a couple of weeks ago for both lunch and dinner a couple of days apart. The restaurant is now operated not by Sr. Menichelli, but by the son of the man who built the restaurant. So it is no longer closed on Wednesdays but now, I believe, Sunday evening and Monday.

The current chef is, I think, trying very hard to please and the outdoor dining area under the big tent is still spectacular.

Please also consider my current favorite restaurant in all of Italy: I Sette Consoli. We lunched there again a couple of weeks ago, too. In fact, I rented a Hertz car instead of Avis because Avis has closed their Orvieto office. Orvieto is a perfect place to return a rental car because the train ride to Rome is only an hour long.

I Setti Consoli is, for my money, the best in food, wine and service. The chef is an aquaintance and fan of Lidia Bastianich and her presentation (and product) is sensational. Unfortunately the outdoor dining area was not open this early in the year, but its worth asking for when the temperature rises.

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Now that I have your attention I will nominate another enjoyable dining experience: Il Bacco Felice in Foligno. I don't have the address, but its in the center of the town. I'm sure most anyone can direct you since Salvadore is a memorable man. His exuberance is legendary and his tiny place hums at lunchtime. Everything is local from the olive oil (from a friend of ours) to the Sagrantino from nearby Montefalco. Worth looking into.

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Thanks to Joe H for the website link, and to Dale J for further recommendations.

Hope to try and make a booking for Il Postale next week (will I be too late for a mid June booking?). Am hoping their website front page in English means they can cope with taking my reservation in English - am afraid my Italian is non existent unfortunately.

re: I Sette Consoli - Orvieto seems eminently reachable from our villa - and therefore it sounds like another great option for later in the week. Suspect more of the group will join us here since Citta di Castello is probably about 1.5 hours drive for us - which they think seems a long way to go just for lunch. :blink::biggrin: Admittedly, a few of them are vegetarian and weren't sure if they could be accommodated

Have googled for I Sette Consoli ... but again no success in finding a restaurant website (or at least one where the link isn't broken). Does anyone have a weblink?

Regards

Yin

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I don't have a website for I Sette Consoli but it is easy to find. I recommend that you park at the train station in Orvieto Basso. It has a large parking lot and the funicular to Orvieto Alto is right there. I Sette Consoli is only a few blocks from the top of the funicular.

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I think your fine for mid-June at Il Postale.. I just made a reservation for next weekend.

Uh-oh. Vegetarians in Umbria. :wink: Has anyone told you the translation of "Umbria" is land of meat and salt....(except in the bread, no salt there..)!!

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only time for a quick note right now but wanted to say thanks to all who recommended I Sette Consoli in Orvieto and Taverna del Lupo in Gubbio - my friends and I had two lovely lunches at these places and intend to return as soon as possible!

In particular, I Sette Consoli was particularly fine as we were lucky enough to be in the gorgeous garden inder the canopy/gazebo. Just beautiful :wub:

Will try and compose a more detailed post later

Cheers

Yin

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