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Cortona: Il Falconiere

Localita San Martino, Cortona, Arezzo

Reviewed by: wendyash from UK, review #455

When: 2002

A delightful venue for a special celebration.

Directions: Follow signs from Cortona

The restaurant is delightful and I can only concur with the earlier Reviewer, it would be much nicer if the staff and proprietor weren't so stiff and starchy.

Don't let this put you off however, especially if you intend to eat there in the Summer for the garden is magical in the moonlight complete with ancient tinkling fountain. (In September we were not troubled by flying insects.) On the other hand so is the indoor restaurant in the old Limonaia. Glasses sparkle in the candlelight and you are aware that this is somewhere very special and very romantic indeed.

Silvia Baracchi has recently been awarded a Michelin star so this should set the tone for your evening. The menu is short but well balanced although you might struggle if you are a Vegetarian. Most produce is locally cultivated, sauces are delicate but you can choose a rich one if you wish to accompany your pasta. Game features strongly. Desserts are good, so is the coffee.

The wine list is world class, Silvia who is also Sommelier as well as Proprietor will help you with your selection. It should be noted that neither of the Baracchi's speak good English. Silvia's husband Riccardo inherited the premises dating back to 1600 several years ago and the young couple have done a marvellous job of converting the buildings to a small Ristorante with very good rooms. This is a Tuscan stronghold of slow cooking. Everyone should eat here at least once but better still to stay the night and enjoy all of Il Falconiere's many merits. Restaurant and rooms are both expensive, but still represent good value for money. Rooms about 250 euros.

Reviewed by: David from NY (moderator), review #225

When: 1999

Recommended in the Carla Capalbo book. Excellent, modern Italian menu. Terrific service, but formal.

Directions: Just outside of Cortona in San Martino (from Cortona you go in the direction of Arezzo (north) but turn off to the right, into the hills, almost immediately after you get onto the main road).

Il Falconiere is on the roster of Relais et Châteaux -- so it's really a hotel with rooms to rent as well as a very classy, upscale restaurant. Seating in August was outside in a lovely courtyard. There's a bit of a view over the Val di Chiana. Excellent, modern Italian menu. Terrific service. We did, however, have a bit of a bug problem. They had citronella lamps burning but for some reason the bugs loved to be at my side -- constantly. They didn't bother the others at my table -- only me. Was there a message there?

I did find this restaurant to be very formal -- in a way it was a little hard to truly relax -- the wait staff seemed to foster this kind of feeling. We were all dressed up and the others dining seemed to be exuding well-offness. Sometimes that happens in expensive restaurants -- or it just might be me...

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

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