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Sarteano: Osteria Da Gagliano

Via Roma 5 , Phone: 0578-268-022

Closing day: Tuesday & Wednesday

Reviewed by: James from WA, review #3811

When: 2011

A perfect Tuscan experience!

Directions: Just off the main piazza in the old town, near the Museo Civico Archeologico

Chef Angela, Owner Giuliano Gonnelli, Waitress Jonela, photo by James E. Lalonde

After visit to the Etruscan museum and the nearby Tomb of the Quadriga Infernale in Sarteano, the discovery of the tiny Osteria Da Gagliano for lunch was an extraordinary find in itself.

As soon as we opened the door, the savory sensations from the kitchen drew us in to one of the half dozens tables – there is seating for barely two dozen fortunate diners. The owner, Giuliano, has an immediate welcoming charm and one feels like family returning home to this place. Run by Giuliano for 13 years, it is a classic osteria inside, with the traditional wooden ox yoke on the brick and stone wall to the superb selection of wines displayed in a niche, including demitasse splits of Tuscan wine perfect for a lunch.

The menus are written up fresh daily and presented in unassuming plastic covers, in Italian or English on request. The dishes they offer, however, from chef Angela, are nothing less than world class. It would take several reviews to describe the cuisine here. Our party of six enjoyed first a sampling of the small starter dishes, perhaps the most wonderful being a ‘Tortino Caldo di Porri e Zafferano,’ a golden mounded saffron torte, a delicacy so light it seemed to be floating above a tiny lake of creamed parmigiano and almond flakes; and a ‘Bocconcini di ‘Carne Secca,’ an aromatic dish made with Gagliano’s homemade Balsamic cider vinegar, fennel, olives and other aromatic citrus secrets.

Of the primi piatti, the ‘Maltagliati al Ragu, battuto a mano di Anata,’ little squares of pasta with hand cut duck ragu, was simple and yet rich and delicious. The ‘Rotolo di Ricotta e Barbabietoloa con Burro fusco e scaglie di Parmigiano,’ was a visually lovely fresh beet pasta which delivered not only the tincture but also the taste of the beets.

Of the secondi piatti, again the contenders were all first class, with the unpretentious beef and spelt meatloaf – ‘Polpettone di Farro e Manzo-‘ perhaps the best meatloaf any of us ever tasted. The duck dish, Petto d’Anatra al Mosto Cotto e Arancia,’ was merely good. Perhaps the biggest surprise was that Giuliano was quick to provide gluten free and vegetarian menu items for two of our party, and they were equal to any of the other courses. The house white wine we enjoyed was very good, the red less so, but quite acceptable.

And then came the dolce! With the presentation of little artistic masterpieces, we completed our meal with a ‘Mousse al Cioccolato Fondente,’ also known as dark chocolate mouse, and a ‘Crema calda con Pere al Vino Rosso e Cannella,’ a warm custard with pears cooked in red wine and cinnamon.

Not every dish at Osteria Da Gagliano was perfect, but most were, and the presentation, slow pacing and convivial atmosphere was ‘Five Star’ and made the day perfect. At meals end, over espressos, even before we were pleasantly surprised by a bill for only 20 Euros per person, we all sighed and all agreed: “Life does not get much better than this!”

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

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