> SlowTrav > Italy > Restaurants > Reviews > Tuscany South

Pienza: Latte di Luna

Via S. Carlo, 2-4 , Phone: 0578.748.606

Closing day: Tuesday

Reviewed by: Jim B from USA, review #3597

When: 2010

This family eatery is one of the best value meals in south-central Tuscany.

My wife and I enjoyed one of our best meals in Tuscany at Latte di Luna in Pienza. It’s a family restaurant, not a romantic getaway with soft lighting and strings. But the food makes up for it all. Apparently others think likewise: it was a packed house on a weeknight in the off-season.

We shared a bruchetta antipasti topped with olive oil, garlic and fresh tomatoes that was delicious. Then two soups. Mine was a mélange of mushrooms in a rich broth with a hint of spicy heat, topped with crostini – I added grated pecorino cheese. Jess enjoyed a vegetable blend with canelli beans. Both were outstanding, and the vegetable soup was one of the best that either of us has ever enjoyed in a restaurant.

Jess had a simple but tasty primo of fresh pici and tomato ragu; I had the secondo of rabbit in rosemary and white wine that was fall-off-the-bone tender and eye-rollingly good. We shared a side of what we thought was going to be plain mixed vegetables, but turned out to be a zucchini & broccoli soufflé. Moans of pleasure all around.

For dessert we swapped plates of tiramisu and hazelnut semifreddo. Both were just fantastic. Our neighbor let us taste from her mix (mista) of semifreddo, including orange and coffee; we were hard pressed to pick a favorite. And this was our third tiramisu in three days, including the one we made in cooking class at Podere il Casale. A nice touch: the tiramisu was topped with top-quality grated dark chocolate instead of the traditional cocoa powder.

The one disappointment: we gambled and ordered the house red wine; it was unimpressive and didn’t pair well with anything. In hindsight, we should have ordered a half-bottle of white.

The service was friendly: prompt, without the feeling of being pushed out for the second seating. For 50 euros, our dinner at Latte di Luna has been our best value meal in Tuscany to date.

Reviewed by: JDeQ from Canada, review #2969

When: 2008

A popular spot on the edge of the historic section of Pienza that offers good regional fare at reasonable prices; be sure to make reservations!

Grilled Steak with Mushrooms, photo by J DeQuetteville

Many on slowtravel love this restaurant so it made its way onto our list of restaurants to try when we were in the area in May. Palma made reservations for a group of us to go one Monday night. Thank goodness for the reservations because we saw many folks turned away.

The crew of the film, English Patient, which was shot near Pienza, frequented the restaurant. You will see many pictures of Ralph Fiennes and other stars posted on the walls. Strange that no one rushed out with a camera to snap our photos!

This family-run trattoria has a pleasant, simple dining room and an outdoor terrace shaded by market umbrellas (presumably only in the warmer weather). We were seated on the terrace and certainly enjoyed the atmosphere.

Most of the reviews that I have read stress that Latte di Luna serves simple, home cooked meals and I would agree. You won’t find inventive preparations here nor fancy plate presentation. You will however, be served tasty local specialties and charged reasonable prices.

The menu is not extensive, featuring five or six primi and secondi. There are a number of specials each day I would suggest checking them out. Note – if you arrive later in the evening you may find that the kitchen has sold out of the specials as it had the cinghiale we wanted to order. One of the pasta specials was pici with cinghiale ragu; of course both Paul and I HAD to try that. The pasta was delicious and the ragu one of the best I’ve tried (and we eat a lot of cinghiale ragout whenever we are in Italy!)

The menu seemed to feature either roasted or grilled meats for the secondi. Paul ordered roasted duck with a sauce studded with black olives. The duck was well cooked and the skin crispy. I had a steak which was grilled top a perfect medium rare and served with mushrooms that tasted as if they were from a can. I didn’t think that that was allowed in Italy! We shared a salad and an order of crispy potatoes. Others at the table absolutely raved about the roasted pork – I would definitely give that a try.

The wine list wasn’t extensive and we had trouble deciding upon something we all were interested in so we just ordered the house wine. It was one of the less palatable house wines we enjoyed in Italy this trip. It wasn’t awful; it just wasn’t as good as the others we drank. Those who were drinking the house white did not enjoy it either. It may have been an off night. . . however, to be safe I’d order something by the bottle.

We were all too full for dessert but the treats being served to the tables around us looked delicious.

My only significant complaint with the restaurant was with the service. At times it seemed as if we were being ignored. It took some time for us to be able to order. Later, John’s grilled sausages never arrived with the rest of the meals, and when the waiter was asked where they were he explained that the sausages took longer to cook because they were being grilled ‘out back’ (although he didn’t mention this up-front when John placed his order). They were brought out about 10 minutes later when most of us had finished our meals. Then we had to ask 4 or 5 times for our bill – I expect to have to ask at least once; this is Italy after all, but 4 or 5 times was a bit much.

The restaurant does not take credit cards so take enough money with you. We split the bill amongst the seven of us and the meal came to about 27 euro.

Reviewed by: Doru from Canada, review #2773

When: 2007

Good food, great atmosphere, good friendly service. A busy, happy place.

Directions: Entering Pienza from Porta Al Prato, follow Corso Rosselino to its end.

The entrance and garden of Latte di Luna, photo by Doru

During our stay in Pienza we went to the well reviewed Trattoria Latte di Luna twice, in quite differing circumstances.

The first time, we hosted there a friend from Milano who came to Pienza to spend a few days with us and tour with us the region. We chose Latte di Luna for the first evening of his visit, and we were not disappointed. We had an early reservation but the restaurant was full quite quickly, with a mix of patrons, most of them Italian: at 7:15 the place was empty, by 7:30 it was all full, all on reservations! There was an atmosphere of joy and relaxation in the air, with the waitresses attentive to our questions and requests and service prompt but not rushed at all. A cheerful spot but I could see how for some it may feel crowded.

The food was delicious. Between the three of us we had an order of crostini; three different pici, a thick, hand-rolled pasta, cut in strips of varying length: ragù, all’aglione (a garlic sauce) and alla boscaiola (a sauce with a variety of mushrooms and herbs); maialino arrosto (roast piglet); melanzane alla parmigiana (slices of grilled eggplant with a tomato sauce and parmigiano cheese); contorno of faggioli lessati (boiled white beans and olive oil), and panna cotte. The feast was completed with ½ liter of house red, mineral water and coffees. Everything was excellent and we had a great time.

The bill, when it came, was one more pleasant surprise, as the cost for all that food and the enjoyable service was just 20 euro per person, for a total of 59.50 euro!

The second round of our acquaintance with Latte di Luna took place a few days later, when eight Slow Travellers came, some of them from quite afar, for a Pienza get-together lunch. This time we sat outside, on a beautiful sunny day. Once again the food and service were great and relaxed, and around us the same full and happy tables, which seem to typify Latte di Luna. I did not keep track of what was ordered since my table companions had my entire attention, but from the bill I can see that we had eight primi, some contorni and antipasti, a couple of desserts, a couple of bottles of wine, and another of mineral water, a few coffees and the total cost amounted to 97 euro, or circa 12 euro per person.

Highly enjoyable, a place that makes its patrons happy, highly recommended.

Reviewed by: Fur Kids Mom from USA, review #2502

When: 2007

Food is excellent, just as it was last year!

I thought this would be a repeat review--we were there last summer (2006), and shame on me for not submitting a review before now.

We went twice this trip (June 2007)--and I ordered the same thing I ALWAYS order--it was as excellent as I remembered from last year: bruschetta con pomodori, roast suckling pig, insalata mista, and semifreddo.

It was too cool both evenings we went there, so we have yet to dine outside on the terrace. Reservations were absolutely necessary. We tried same day, early I might add, and no go. So, be sure to plan ahead and make your prenotazione!

The service is adequate, could have been a bit friendlier one night--but this is one very busy, hopping place. The wait staff are extremely busy.

We'll be back next year!

Reviewed by: Kevin Clark from Italy, review #2398

When: 2007

Another repeat review - we had two more great meals here on our recent trip. I still think their maiolino is one of the best dishes I've ever tasted!

We ate here twice on our last trip, once for lunch and again for dinner (a mini-GTG with Sue S from CA). Latte di Luna remains one of our favorite restaurants in all of Italy - the food is great, the terrace is a very pleasant place to eat, and the service is friendly. Sure, it's touristy but that's just about impossible to avoid in a town like Pienza and it doesn't take away from the quality of this restaurant.

At lunch, the weather was nice and we were able to reserve a table on the terrace, right at the corner where we could watch the world go by. Mom & Dad started with salads, a very nice insalata mista that they said was the best they'd tried in Italy. Kim and I both had the pici con ragu di cinghiale, one of the day's specials. Another great ragu, and the homemade pici were excellent. We all then had maiolino - four portions - which arrived on a huge platter which we all agreed we had no chance of finishing. Needless to say, we DID finish it - every bite! It was every bit as good as we'd remembered. Even with all of this, we still couldn't resist the semifreddi - I had the arancia and Kim had the misto (arancia, cioccolato, nocciolo). We splurged on a nice bottle of Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico Riserva which was excellent. With water and coffee, lunch cost just 100 Euros - a great value.

A couple of days later, we returned for our mini-GTG. We didn't know Sue prior to this evening, but had a very nice time comparing travel notes and enjoying another great meal. It was a cool evening, so we ended up eating inside which was more crowded and noisier than outside but still a pleasant meal. One note - we'd been told that they serve in two seatings in the evenings, but this was not the case on this night. We arrived at 7:30 and pretty much closed the place, and there was no evidence of any attempt to turn tables. Mom & Dad again started with salads, while Kim had tagliatelle con tartufo and I had my favorite of their pasta dishes, the pici all'aglione. Kim and I both had the maiolino again (I'm not sure I will ever order anything else there!) but her parents both had the anatra con olive which was also excellent. Again we shared a couple of orders of the semifreddo di arancia - the dash of Grand Marnier over the top is the perfect touch! Coffee followed by a complimentary grappa/limoncello provided the finish to another fine meal. We drank house wine on this visit, so the meal was slightly less expensive - around 80 Euros plus a nice tip.

Reviewed by: Kevin Clark from Italy, review #2104

When: 2006

Our favorite meal of the trip - the maiolino (roast suckling pig) was incredible. Be sure you make a reservation.

Directions: At the east end of the main street in central Pienza (Corso Il Rossellino) near the gate

This was without doubt our favorite meal of this two week trip. We certainly had fancier meals in Tuscany but none that were better this. Fortunately, we had phoned ahead earlier in the morning to reserve a table because when we arrived a little after 12:30 on a weekday in September all of the outside tables were either occupied or reserved. The inside filled up quickly too and they turned a lot of people away.

The terrace was a very nice place to eat, though it was a blustery day and we worried at times that we might have to make a run for it! Like the rest of Pienza, it was full of tourists from all over - Australian, German, French, Dutch, British, American, and others we couldn't identify.

I started with the pici all'aglione (a spicy garlic and tomato sauce). It was my first encounter with this dish which quickly became one of my favorites. Kim had tagliatelle with truffles to start, since she can rarely pass up pasta with truffles. Both were excellent, but I think my pici were better! We then both had the maiolino (roast suckling pig) which was absolutely heavenly. We ate every scrap and were looking for more. We didn't really have room for dessert, but I had to try the semifreddo that is a house speciality, so I had the orange version with a little Grand Marnier on top, which was the perfect finish to the meal. With wine, water, and coffee lunch ran us €55, a bargain for such a good meal.

We will definitely be back (maybe to live next door and have maiolino for lunch every day?). Here's hoping!

Reviewed by: Russell Wayne from CT, review #2099

When: 2006

A great place to have lunch in a most pleasant village.

Directions: Via San Carlo 2, east end of main street, inside the gate

We had lunch in Latte di Luna in September, 2006. It was a lovely, warm afternoon in late September. After visiting a few churches and other local sights, we looked for restaurant recommendations and noted Latte di Luna in two of the guidebooks we were carrying. Not that guidebook recommendations are so dependable, but in this case they were right on target. Latte di Luna is about two minutes' walk from the main square. It's easy enough to find and, fortunately for us, there was still one table open. We were in the mood for pasta and salad and that's exactly what we got. Pici is the local pasta specialty and it was great. The salads, too, were fine. Our lunch with two primi, two salads, mineral water, and coffee came to 32 euros.

Most of the patrons were English-speaking and it seemed clear to us that Pienza, a lovely, Tuscan town, was considerably more touristy than the towns in Umbria that we had been visiting. That's an observation, not a criticism in any way.

We higly recommend Latte di Luna and would gladly return.

Reviewed by: kaydee from TN, review #1677

When: 2005

Popular restaurant in popular Pienza, with a very nice outdoor terrace. Great meal but wish we had ordered the maialino (roast suckling pig).

Directions: On the end end of the village, just inside the gate

Latte di Luna terrace, photo by

This was another restaurant on the TuscanHouse restaurant list, and once again we weren't disappointed. We ate here on a Friday in early June, as the tourist crowds were beginning to build. We spotted the restaurant mid-morning and liked the menu posted outside. Charley went ahead and made a reservation, and we were able to get a table on the terrace. Meanwhile we continued our exploration of the village. During our meal we saw walk-up people get turned away.

We didn't have a big meal. We all had some variation of "pici," the thick homemade pasta that's a specialty of this area. For dessert Charley and I shared peccorino cheese with honey. That became a staple of our diet the rest of our month in Tuscany.

During our meal I noticed several tables getting big platters of pork that looked absolutely wonderful. Later I learned that one of the specialties of this restaurant is "maialino" or roast suckling pig. I wish we had ordered that instead, or maybe in addition to, the other good food we had.

I don't know the specific price of our meal, but I know it was very reasonable and the environment was especially relaxing. We would eat here again.

Reviewed by: AlliK from DC, review #1296

When: 2005

A good place to stop for lunch with lovely outdoor seating

We reserved a table for 2 ahead of time for our day trip to Pienza, so were able to claim one of the outdoor tables in the lovely piazza at the end of the main drag through town. We split a bruchetta al pomodoro, then each had pici (one with ragu and one alla boscaiola - the ragu was better, as the mushrooms in the boscaiola were frozen) and big mixed salads (sharing would suffice). The pici were very tasty - homemade with such a great texture. Observing other diners' meals, I would probably opt for pici or tagliatelle with truffles in the future! We drank the house red, and total for the meal for 2 came to 32.50 euros.

Not a knockout in terms of cuisine, but more than adequate for a nice sit-down lunch to rest the legs and refill the tummy for more touring!

Reviewed by: Pauline from NM (moderator), review #204

When: 2002

Lovely restaurant in the historic center of Pienza. Nice outdoor seating. Great food.

Directions: East end of main street, just before the gate.

Reserve to get a table outside. Recommended by Zak from TuscanHouse and the Carla Capalbo book.

June 2000: We had a wonderful dinner here in June 2000. They are famous for their semifreddo desserts (get one of each flavor - hazelnut and orange).

Fall 2001: Another fabulous lunch here sitting outside. This time we ordered the mixed semi-freddo desert - a piece of each type.

September 2002: Another great meal - dinner with Zak and Gary from TuscanHouse. The restaurant is not that large and it can get quite noisy inside. I can't remember what we ordered, but it was all great.

Reviewed by: David from NY (moderator), review #205

When: 2001

Great trattoria meal. Carla Capalbo's recommendations of pici all'aglione and the semifreddi desserts were great.

We arrived late for lunch -- about 1:45 -- so none of the tables outdoors were available (actually the indoor tables were taken at that point as well). As it turned out, we arrived just after the "Completo" sign went up but the hosts were very gracious and accommodated us (as well as some others who had formed a line behind us!).

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

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