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VivreManger

Umbria Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations

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So glad to hear you liked ISC. As I was there in the late fall, I didn't have a chance to sit in the garden. I'll be sure to request it when next there in warmer times.

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

... we're very close to Perugia (35km?), Assisi and Spoleto - and Deruta. ...

Does anyone have any recommendations?

We got back from Umbria about a week ago. My recs are too late for the OP, but I hope they'll help someone else traveling to the region.

The best meal we ate was lunch at Il Molino in Spello. This was world-class cooking at reasonably moderate prices. In contrast to the typical restaurant that does reasonably traditional recipes and executes them flawlessly using the most impeccable of ingredients, we found the menu at Il Molino to add innovativation to the above virtues. The weakest course was dessert; the white chocolate mousse was no better than good and the chocolate basket in which it was presented was poor. This was a shock after anti-pasti, pasta, and secondi that were sublime.. Unless you order fruit, skip dessert and grab some gelato instead.

Since we stayed in Assisi for a week, I have several recs for restaurants there.

Note: The restaurants in Assisi tend to shut down the first two weeks in July. This was a shock to us, having been conditioned to avoid travel in France and Italy in August. We had chosen Assisi in part because it was centrally located for exploring Umbria and in part for its good infrastructure of restaurants. We ended up eating at three of the four restaurants twice because of these closings.

San Francesco: (The ristorant near the basilica. Not Buca de...) My husband had an amazing stuffed duck dish. We shared a primi course of a lasagnetta which was probably the best pasta course we had in two weeks of eating in Tuscany and Umbria. The mixed anitpasti was delicious, too. My veal scallopini al limone was quite disappointing -- baby beef rather than veal.

La Fortezza: Surprisingly expensive wine at an othewise reasonably priced and delicious restaurant. (We drank Sagrantino for 32E at this restaurant and had the same wine the next night at for 21E at Ristorante Umbra.) Amazing duck breast dish. I'm not normally a duck fan, but my husband raved about it so much that I had a taste. Bottom line: I ordered it the second time we ate at this restaurant and loved it. My husband had their wild boar stew the second time we dined there.

Umbra: I was able to get fish at this restaurant, a rarity in Tuscany or Umbria other than during Lent. The whole dorata was delicious, but you have to know what you're doing and not be squeamish to be willing to deal with the whole fish plopped on your plate. I ordered the shrimp the next night. Fabulous sauce along with four measly, tiny shrimp. The sauce was sufficiently delicious to compensate for the ludicrous portion. Besides, after we split an antipasti and primi, we're never truly hungry by the time secondi rolls around. The lemon mousse baba with limoncello was world class. None of the wait staff spoke any English, so diners without a working knowledge of menu Italian would be hard pressed.

Tratoria Pallota: Well-prepared, homey offerings.

In Spolleto, we ate lunch at Sabatini. Do NOT order the mixed pasta lunch! We assumed we would be able to choose which three of the many appealing pasta offerings we would receive. We learned otherwise. However, there were still so many appealing choices that we weren't concerned when the waitress told us that the chef would choose and that it would be a surprise. Well the surprise was on us. With the exception of the risotto, not a single one of the pastas that arrived on our plates was on the menu. Were they left-overs of the previous day's daily specials ? Were they portions of batches of pasta that get made up in advance for the express purpose of this combo dish? While nothing was bad, nothing was memorable. We would have have done better with one excellent pasta rather than three adequate choices on the combo platter.

We had lunch in Perugia at the pizzeria portion of Cesarino. Guidebook describe this as a trattoria-cum-pizzeria; however, the reality is the trattoria bears the name Cesarino and the pizzeria is several yards away with a different name. Something -- the menu? napkins? backs of the chairs? -- had the name Cesarino otherwise there's no apparent connection. We ate next to a couple who owns property near Lake Trasemino who claimed this was the best pizzeria in Perugia. We were satisfied with our pizzas. My husband had one with black truffles and I had one with porcini mushrooms. We were supposed to share, but I found the generous puddles of truffles to be too overwhelming. (The gelateria between the trattoria and the pizzeria was quite good. Very suprising about both the pizzeria and the gelateria for such a central location on the tourist axis.)

Karen Selwyn

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i'm late to this thread, but is there still the little restaurant just up the hill from assisi called le stalle, or something like that? it was a grill place and insanely popular. but i really loved it. very rustic stuff, quail and cacciocavalo and bucatini (not all togther). i remember one hairy walk up the hill in fall when wild pig season was starting--rifle shots all around us the whole way.

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i'm late to this thread, but is there still the little restaurant just up the hill from assisi called le stalle, or something like that? it was a grill place and insanely popular. but i really loved it. very rustic stuff, quail and cacciocavalo and bucatini (not all togther). i remember one hairy walk up the hill in fall when wild pig season was starting--rifle shots all around us the whole way.

is that the one in a former barn, with a big fire when you first walk in, and lots of yummy things cooked on the open fire, like peppers, and sausage, and cheese?

Marlena


Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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I also liked il Postale, though it is very refined and often in Italy i feel more comfortable on the rustic side of life. in fact, at the rustic side of life is castello del sorci, which is just as it was 30 years ago, on a hillside with a fabulous view, family style trad local foods, heaped onto platters and served communally. crostini, homemade pasta, meat, contorni, sweets. there is no menu, rather its a set menu every day for a week; if its sunday it must be tagliatelle and polenta, mixed roasted meats, etc for instance.......its in an old castle. sunday lunch there is a hoot, whole extended families gathered together, passing babies to admire as often as they are passing platters of food, i'm sure i was passing and admiring a few babies during my lunch too! castello del sorci is right on the border of umbria and tuscany and i know they have a website. on sunday afternoons sometimes there is a flea market right outside the restaurant.

il bacco felice in foligno should be good, as i've been to a party catered by the owner who is soooooo passionate about food local trad food (the prosciutto of umbria is divine, more like jamon serrano than the paper sliced hams of what we think of as prosciutto)....

and for truffled strangozzi, there is a really excellent restaurant in spoleto, but i'm not sure completely about the name. on a little side street down from the theatre and church, maybe its called ristorante della signoria, on piazza or street della signoria. the same local foods you find on trattorie around the area, but done really well.....and i'm a sucker for truffled strangozzi!

marlena


Edited by marlena spieler (log)

Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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Marelena, funny you should mention Castello dei Sorci, we were just at the COOP in Sansepolcro and they carry their wines. Thanks for the recommendation, a Sunday lunch there sounds just fine! And a trip to Anghiari is always fun.

Ciao!

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We went to Castello di Sorci on Saturday night, and had a lovely, lovely time. Thank you Marlena.

It was just as you described, long outdoor tables, open bottles of wine and food that just kept on coming. Excellent renditions of all the classics, crostini, tagliatelle, roasted meats etc. etc. And then the music started! A very gentle Fellini movie. Can't wait to go back.

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that's exactly the one!

i'm late to this thread, but is there still the little restaurant just up the hill from assisi called le stalle, or something like that? it was a grill place and insanely popular. but i really loved it. very rustic stuff, quail and cacciocavalo and bucatini (not all togther). i remember one hairy walk up the hill in fall when wild pig season was starting--rifle shots all around us the whole way.

is that the one in a former barn, with a big fire when you first walk in, and lots of yummy things cooked on the open fire, like peppers, and sausage, and cheese?

Marlena

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that's exactly the one!
i'm late to this thread, but is there still the little restaurant just up the hill from assisi called le stalle, or something like that? it was a grill place and insanely popular. but i really loved it. very rustic stuff, quail and cacciocavalo and bucatini (not all togther). i remember one hairy walk up the hill in fall when wild pig season was starting--rifle shots all around us the whole way.

is that the one in a former barn, with a big fire when you first walk in, and lots of yummy things cooked on the open fire, like peppers, and sausage, and cheese?

Marlena

I love this place, too, Russ!

Marlena


Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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Marlena, could it be the Locanda della Signorina, in Spoleto? It's on our list for October - I read about in a New York Times article.

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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

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

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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.

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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:

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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?

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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.

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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...

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

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

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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.

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

Keep those ideas coming!

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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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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

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

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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.

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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

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