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Pienza: La Buca di Enea

Via della Buca, 10 , Phone: 0578 748653

Reviewed by: Fur Kids Mom from Italy, review #3227

When: 2009

Small, hole-in-the-wall spot for a tasty lunch or dinner prepared and served by its very friendly owners, Antonio and Gabriella

We have eaten at La Buca di Enea no less than 25 - 30 times during the last 10 months - we just love it here, especially the friendliness of Antonio and Gabriella. It is our very own "Cheers", where everybody knows your name, Tuscan-style.

The place is much more of a restaurant than an Italian bar, but it isn't quite osteria or trattoria either, and certainly it is not an Italian ‘ristorante’. There is a pub-like atmosphere here, and it is tiny - there is only room for 12 diners, maybe 14 or 15 if everyone really squeezes in!

Something very unusual about La Buca di Enea is that they stay open all day - once they open up at 11:30 am for lunch, they remain open until 10:30 pm at night. This is one place you can go for an early dinner - at any time of the afternoon or evening. Also, they are open 7 days a week, whereas most Italian restaurants are closed one day a week. Antonio speaks German and Italian fluently, and just a tiny bit of English.

For such a small place, and unbelievably tiny kitchen, it is amazing how large the menu is - full of antipasti, first and second dishes. The first time we were there, I simply had no idea what I wanted, and looked (probably rather) imploringly at Antonio, and he suggested one of his favorites on the menu, the vegetariana crepe (YES, a crepe - something you do not see in Tuscan restaurants) and it just sounded right. It is SO good, so satisfying, and so delicious that I order it every time I go.... sometimes fresca sometimes grigliata--fresh vegetables or grilled vegetables. And they use Remo Monaci olive oil to drizzle over the top. The only way I can describe this dish adequately is to say that it is my comfort food--a dish I never tire of, and that just feels so great while I eat it and after I've finished it.

My husband feels the same way about the dish he always orders--pici with cinghiale. The cinghiale (wild boar) is particularly delicious at La Buca di Enea.

We enjoy the house wine--a local Orcia DOC wine. Sometimes we'll also have grilled pecorino cheese, bruschetta, or a salad. And if we want something sweet--we like the way they do a Nutella crepe because they include pine nuts and hazelnuts--this extra touch somehow makes it become an adult dessert rather than kids' food!!

A special touch that Antonio and Gabriella provide is a complimentary glass of dessert wine after your meal--usually Zibibbo, a light, clear dessert wine from Sicily (where Antonio is from). I love this dessert wine--it is not too sweet, and I think very refreshing, and the perfect touch to the end of the meal.

If you go there as a result of reading this review, please tell them you heard about them from Claudia, the Americana that lives in town. Then he won't be surprised at all when you tell him you want to try to crepe or cinghiale with pici!!!

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

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