> SlowTrav > Italy > Restaurants > Reviews > Tuscany North

Lucca: Canuleia

Via Canuleia 14

Reviewed by: Jeff Whiteaker from CA, review #2534

When: 2007

Without question the worst food of our entire 3 1/2 week trip to Italy. You'd have to go way out of your way to make food as bland and bad as this.

So, why did we go to Canuleia? It was recommended by a few sources, and there was a Gnocchi with seafood dish on the menu posted in front that seemed appealing and a bit unique.

Plus, Canuleia, located just a block or so away from Lucca's Anfiteatro, looked very quaint and unassuming from the front. As soon as we were whisked inside and taken out back, however, we started to worry. Not that it looked bad - far from it. Out back is a gorgeous, large patio lined with trees and lush foliage, which was an incredibly nice setting to eat dinner on a warm, May night. But we realized immediately that the clientele consisted solely of tourists - even the Italians.

The Gnocchi with seafood (pieces of fish in a very light sauce) was fresh and well-prepared, but also disappointingly bland. My girlfriend ordered Ravioli stuffed with Cinghiale, which again was fresh while managing to be thoroughly dull. At this point we were hoping that maybe pasta just wasn't Canuleia's thing, and that the meat-based secondi is where they would shine.

But sadly that was not the case, as the secondi only added insult to injury. I ordered a steak in a pear and balsamic sauce. A truly awful cut, the sad hockey-puck of steak was like trying to cut through a thick, soggy washcloth; tough as leather and relentlessly bland, while the sauce was an uneventful grey-brown mush.

My girlfriend ordered rabbit rolled around carrots and some other thinly sliced veggies, which she said felt oddly like eating soggy slivers of cardboard wrapped in a bicycle tire. The food was so bad that neither of us even remembered if the wine was any good.

Canuleia may look nice, but don't be fooled. It's an appallingly bad, overpriced, chi-chi tourist trap that attempts to be innovative with Tuscan specialties, but winds up coming off like an embarrassingly amateurish immitation of California cuisine. I wholeheartedly do NOT recommend this place, and would never wish such horribly prepared food to cross anyone's palette. Avoid like the plague!

Reviewed by: Gavin from Australia, review #143

When: 2002

NOT RECOMMENDED. It is listed in both Cadogan and Rough Guide travel guides, but Gavin had a horrible meal summer 2002.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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