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Lucca: L'Antico Sigillo

Via Degli Angeli 13 , Phone: 0583.91.042

Reviewed by: Jeff Whiteaker from CA, review #2530

When: 2007

A surprisingly good find in a town that (to us, at least) seemed a bit lacking in genuinely great restaurants.

The fact that the menu posted in the window was written in Italian, English, and German prompted us to pass Antico Sigillo by initially. Seeing menus translated into English is common even among genuinely good restaurants, but places that add German or other languages to the mix often scream "tourist trap". But the menu here actually looked promising, and we'd read some very good reviews beforehand. And when precious few other restaurants within Lucca's walls called out to us that evening, we wandered back to Sigillo. By this point, they'd been open for a little while and had set up several tables outside along the narrow street, which was an absolutely perfect way to enjoy the warm, May evening weather.

Because of our menu snobbery, expectations were mixed, but luckily Sigillo proved our "tourist trap" assumptions wrong. For example, I was thoroughly wowed by my primi of Tortelli in a Truffle cream sauce. The tartufo flavor was potent and rich, while the Tortelli tasted fresh and expertly cooked. I have a serious Tartufo obsession/addiction, so I was quite happy with this dish. My girlfriend ordered the Pappardelle al Cinghiale, which was quite good, though not as good as the best example we'd had of this Tuscan specialty (which we found at Gallo Nero in Siena). For secondo, we split a large Insalata Mista and the Coniglio - rabbit served in a tangy, oily, thick tomato-based sauce with whole olives. Unlike the Pappardelle, this dish *was* the best example we found of said specialty. The rabbit was perfectly prepared, juicy and tender, while the ultra-flavorful sauce went extremely well, and was pleasantly enhanced by the olives. Overall, this wasn't the best meal of the trip, but a very satisfying experience nonetheless, and certainly one of the best meals we found in Lucca.

The service was extremely friendly (and our waitress happily filled us in on the best gelaterie in Lucca), the Vino Rosso della Casa was genuinely great, and based on this one experience, I would definitely not hesitate to come back here again. Definitely an exception to the food snob's anti-tri-lingual menu rule.

Reviewed by: Debrah from Canada, review #2407

When: 2007

A friendly and local restaurant that has a diverse menu of tasty food at economical prices.

I poked into this restaurant our only day in Lucca as they were cleaning up after lunch. The staff was young and friendly - I could see women in the kitchen punching down dough for supper treats and it looked like a comfortable place to return to for dinner. We returned (without reservations) at 7:30 and were lucky we got there when we did because locals and tourists alike started pouring in shortly afterwards.

The antipasti plates were large and luxurious and the menu included items we had not seen on other menus so far that trip. I chose Mushrooms with Polenta because I make it regularly at home and wanted to check out the Italian version. It was creamy and tasty and plentiful. My partner had a rabbit stew dish that he happily chomped his way through. We had 1 antipasto, the Polenta dish, the Rabbit, two beers and a large mineral water and two desserts and the bill came to a reasonable 38E.

We found the restaurant to be friendly with good service. The atmosphere was fun and the crowd lively.

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

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