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Siena: La Taverna di San Giuseppe

Via Giovanni Dupre, 132 , Phone: 0577-42286

Closing day: Sunday

Reviewed by: Kevin Clark from Italy, review #2124

When: 2006

Highly recommended - our favorite place from 2 weeks in Siena. We had two great dinners here. Reservations are essential.

Directions: Follow Via G. Dupre from the Campo for about 400 meters

Mostly because of the long climb to get here from the Campo, we put off checking out this restaurant until it was almost too late. Once we saw the menu, we booked immediately for the following night. It's a very nice menu with a lot of interesting choices. During our visit, they also had two full pages of specials, one with truffles and one with porcini. It was very hard to choose from all the good things on offer.

The restaurant is in a long vaulted room and does get a bit noisy. There are a lot of people in a fairly small space and the waiters were running constantly to keep up. Still, service was very prompt and friendly. Other diners were mostly tourists early in the evening, but by around 9:00 most of the new customers were Italian; many seemed to be regulars.

On our first visit, Kim started with involtini of melanzane and porcini and I had a marvelous platter of finocchiona and pecorino. Kim then had gnocchetti of ricotta and potato with spinach and pecorino which was outstanding. I had malfati of spinach and pecoroni with ragu di chianina - a sort of dumpling rather like a ravioli filling without the pasta. The ragu was wonderful. With dinner we had a bottle of 2000 Castello di Bossi Berardo Chianti Classico Riserva which was very nice. Amazingly we had room for dessert. I had a very nice warm torta di cioccolato and Kim had the torta casalinga (a pear filling topped with cream). We were also served a complimentary grappa. With water and coffee, dinner was 90.

Before we left that night, we made a reservation for dinner a few days later as our final dinner in Siena. The owner and waiters clearly remembered us and gave us a warm welcome. We began with a complimentary glass of prosecco (the start of a theme). We knew we wanted to make it to the secondi this time, so we split a starter - the same platter of finocchiona and pecorino I'd had on our first visit. I love finocchiona, and this was some of the best I've had anywhere. We both then had tagliolini with black truffles, since we knew this would be our last chance to have truffles for a while. We then had tagliata (sliced grilled beef) with olive oil and rosemary - wonderful beef cooked perfectly. With dinner we had a bottle of 2001 Badia e Passignano Chianti Classico Riserva, which is one of my favorites from that region. For dessert, Kim had the torta di cioccolato and I had something called a cornetto casalinga con mascarpone e salsa di cioccolato, an amazing creation of pastry, cream, and chocolate. With dessert we were served complimentary glasses of a very nice moscato (there's that theme again). We then had coffee, followed by complimentary shots of grappa (the third and fortunately last variation on the theme, as we struggled a bit to walk straight on our way home!). All of this marvelous food and drink cost just over 140, the most expensive meal of our trip but also certainly one of the best.

Reviewed by: jgk from FL, review #1352

When: 2005

Had bad waiter and less than perfect food (malfatti, not totally cooked). Some food (chicken diavolo) fabulous! Worth it for the setting. 110 for 4 with wine.

Reviewed by: valeria from Italy, review #1139

When: 2005

Unspeakably good experience, the best dinner of our journey!!!

, photo by

It was the best restaurant of our journey and we experienced it the last night we stayed there, just to end up our stay with a worthy conclusion!!! It's a lovely place, but the atmosphere is not very intimate, there's only one room, few tables, and a lot of noise... But the food is supreme, next to ecstasy!!!! I can't find the proper words to express such an experience, but believe me, it's really worthy!!! And it ain't even expensive! We were two and took an appetizer (a little cake with onions, pecorino and salsiccia), two primi (malfatti with truffle and maltagliati with pecorino and spinach - divine!), a dessert (creme brule), two glasses of red wine, a coffee: 44 in all!

Reviewed by: Tessa from Greece, review #436

When: 2003

This restaurant has a particularly warm and refined atmosphere. The true fiorentina of meat chianina.

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

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