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La Piazza: Osteria alla PiazzaLocalita La Piazza , Phone: 0577.733580
Closing day: Monday
Reviewed by: Kevin Clark from Italy, review #2089
One of the highlights of our trip - excellent food in a great location. Scenic views of the Chianti countryside from the terrace.
Directions: A kilometer or two off the highway (S222 Chiantigiana) between Castellina and Panzano. It's fairly well signposted on the highway.
This was one of the 2 or 3 best meals of our two week trip. The Osteria is a little off the beaten track on a hillside above the Chiantigiana. There's a nice terrace where we ate with great views of the countryside as well as a couple of nice dining rooms inside.
We were there for Sunday lunch, showed up without a reservation and got one of the last free tables on the terrace. I'd strongly recommend booking to ensure a table with a nice view. The other diners were a mix of tourists, largely American, and Italian families out for their Sunday lunch. Service was friendly and well-paced, not too fast but also not one of the 3 or 4 hour Sunday lunches you often find.
We started by sharing an antipasto of pecorino sandwiched in eggplant slices, sort of a variation on mozzarella in carrozza. I then had lasagnette alla lepre while Kim had crespelle with an artichoke sauce. I then had tagliata (slices of very flavorful grilled beef) with rocket and rosemary. Kim had the fritto misto - a large platter of fried pieces of chicken, rabbit, succhini, and eggplant. Everything was extremely good. We had no room for dessert at this meal! We had a half bottle of Castello di Volpaia Chianti Classico (we were going from here to the wine festival in Greve, so we didn't want to have too much wine beforehand), water, and coffee and the bill was €85. Highly recommended!
Reviewed by: LINDA from Scotland, review #1175
A perfect place for lunch
We have returned to this restaurant several times for lunch on various visits to Tuscany in Winter, Spring and Summer (our first visit was in 1997) and we have yet to be disappointed by the food. They have the best bruschetta con pomodoro and raviolo aperto con zucca! The restaurant is in an idyllic countryside location, beside a small hamlet and has lovely views of the surrounding countryside - perfect for long, lazy lunches. There were 4 in our party (inc Italian speaking Scots!. It is silly to turn your nose up because some restaurants are kind enough to offer a translation of their menu! This is common in Tuscany and doesn't always mean that you will be ripped off or offered inferior food - on our last visit all the other people eating were Italian and they seemed to be having a good time!!
Reviewed by: Eli from Israel, review #1082
Had too great expectations due to past favourable reports; otherwise I would probably not have been disappointed.
We ate at better restaurants in the area, which are more authentic ("Tuscan") and more wholesome. I was drawn to La Piazza by the numerous recommendations on this site, which I assume now owed partly to a menu written in English, and to some gimmick in the restaurant's dishes.
Regarding a struggle with a foreign language menu as a challenge, and not being impressed by a thick potato soup in which 2 prawns float (the gimmick), I was much more satisfied by another restaurant recommended on this site: Il Poggio at Poggio S. Polo, near Lecchi. The latter I will visit again each time I am in the area...
Reviewed by: Sandra Pierce from IL, review #995
A winner out in the country - worth seeking out!
Directions: Leaving Panzano, head for Castellina. Follow signs for La Piazza (about 2 km).
We had lunch here and what a fabulous meal! The terrace is beautiful with nice view of vineyards (okay, and a car park - just don't look there) and lovely linens and umbrellas. Felt very refined, but was very casual.
We had a nice bottle of Vernaccia and 2 liters of water. Kids had spaghetti and tagliatelle pomodoro. Rex started with goat cheese salad and I had crostone con fagioli and bacon. He had lasagnette al sugo di lepre - wide pasta with wild hare in a sauce that was a bit sweet with golden raisins and pinenuts (interesting combo). I had papparadelle al sugo di cinghiale - that wild boar was awesome! With 2 espressos, the bill was about €70.
The indoor dining room was very cute with little lampshades and crystals hanging over the tables. I would go back here in a heartbeat!
Reviewed by: Diane from VA, review #762
Spring 2004 Delicious soup,pasta and fried vegetables in romantic dining room.
For about €90 we (my husband and I) had soup, pasta and my husband a mixed fried entree. My soup was a leek veloute with prawns and they were very fresh; the soup divine. We both had the pasta dish (the lepre or rabbit) which was not so tasty, but I had a porcini pasta dish and with the house chianti it was delicious. We shared fried artichokes and they were delightful.
The crowning touch was my panna cotta and it was so wonderful I am sure none will ever match that experience. My husband's semifreddo paled by comparison. The waitress advised us that the wine was available from the winery on the property so we came back the next day and bought three bottles and took home the most beautiful extra virgin olive oil, too. Everytime I smell it I remember the trip.
Reviewed by: caplanco from CO, review #513
We made a special trip back to see if it is as good as we remembered. It is!
We went to Piazza for lunch in '99 after having read about it in "Lazy Days in Tuscany." We loved it and went back again on that trip. This time (May 2003) we were staying in Pienza, spent the morning revisiting Siena, and then went to Piazza for lunch. The food is wonderful and creative and the setting is beautiful. We've told many friends about this place, and all have loved it.
Reviewed by: Amy from MA (moderator), review #101
Another one of Pauline's picks. I'll second this one wholeheartedly!
Fresh takes on Tuscan staples, some different twists, some perfect renditions of the favorites. Lovely patio. And - they're very kind to children who withstand long lunches.
Reviewed by: David from NY (moderator), review #102
We had a good lunch there in August 2001, however I wouldn’t go way out of my way to go there again.
We enjoyed the view from the outdoor seating area. However we didn’t enjoy the loud neighboring couple clearly from New Jersey. We did enjoy playing with another party’s wire-haired dachshund (named "Ottimo"!) who would later enjoy a nice piece of steak.
The broad pasta stuffed with pumpkin puree was strangely subtle and sweet. Two other pasta dishes, one with with lepre and one with a game hen sauce were very salty, as if the sauces had been reducing for quite a while. Again, I know that Tuscans tend to prepare their food with a lot of salt. I usually am someone who likes salty food too, but these were a bit too salty for me. Delicious grilled porcini mushrooms served as a contorno. Nice saddle of rabbit, fritto misto – neither were too salty. Good desserts too.
Reviewed by: Jane from CA, review #103
This was very good! A charming osteria, great country décor, excellent menu, somewhat romantic in terms of setting and charm.
It is between Panzano and Castillina on a side road that wanders up quite a ways. Watch for signs along the road and you will know where to turn. Reservations suggested - at least for dinner.
Reviewed by: Jean from MI, review #104
This is a nice friendly restaurant that seems to cater to tourists.
Although we liked our food, I think we might have misordered. My husband ordered the Bistecca alla Fiorentina and thought it was bland, but he hadn’t ordered it anywhere else to know if this is the way it is supposed to be served. I wanted to try one of the dishes they are known for which is a huge vegetable filled ravioli. Although it was tasty, there were very few vegetables to be found! The bruschetta and side dishes we had were excellent.
Reviewed by: Pauline from NM (moderator), review #100
Fabulous restaurant in the middle of the Chianti countryside. Great food. Beautiful outdoor eating area with views over the vineyards.
Directions: Off the S222, in the hamlet of Piazza, between Panzano and Castellina.
We have been here several times; lunch, dinner and Sunday lunch. Great for Sunday lunch. Very close to the Parker Company - Santa Maria in Chianti vacation rentals. This restaurant was recommended in Travel + Leisure in an article that I read in 1990.
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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