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Badia di Passignano: Osteria di Passignano

Phone: 055.8071278
Closing day: Sunday

Reviewed by: Jane from CA, review #2142

When: 2006

This osteria is upscale fine dining - a culinary experience - and fairly expensive. It surpasses the designation of "osteria."

Directions: Just find Badia di Passignano on your map. The Osteria is right next to the Abbey.

, photo by Jane

Osteria di Passignano is worthy of being a destination dining choice. The menu is intriguing with many unusual choices, indicating the creativity of the chef and his understanding of complimentary foods. For vegetarians there were some excellent offerings. It is very, very difficult to make selections but probably not possible to make bad ones. The presentation of food is artistic and beautiful.

The bill for four people for lunch, including vino, was €160. Going for dinner and having more courses would increase the bill noticeably. The picture is of the complimentary chocolates at the close of the meal - so unless you crave desserts, don't order one.

Reviewed by: Wendy and Rob from CA, review #758

When: 2003

It is very simple....Y U M ! ! ! !

Directions: In the small village of Badia di Passignano - located between Sambuca and Greve.

Oh my G-D! An absolute meal to die for. Mia dio!

This is one of only 5 Antinori Restaurants worldwide at this time. We knew about the Osteria before, but it was cinched as a definite go-there when one of the chefs from Osteria di Passignano was a guest chef for a week here at one of the other five restaurants, which we are fortunate enough to have in our hometown.

The Osteria also is home to the bottega which sells the numerous Antinori wines, vin santo's and grappas. The selection is close to mind boggling IMHO. The prices at the bottega seemed fair. We picked up a couple of bottles of their Badia A Passignano 2000 Chianti Classico Riserva, The Marchese Antinori 1999 vin santo del Chianti Classico and a couple of grappas.

Now to the Osteria! We drove up to the small hamlet around 11:30 looking for the abbey and the Osteria. The abbey is closed for renovations that may take forever according to one of the chefs at the Osteria, and the restaurant itself opens at 12:15. The interior is lovely with soft yellow walls and a white linens. The tables are set beautifully with the heavy linen knapkins rolled and tied with raffia. Of course very nice glasses sit atop the table. The feel is welcoming and the light is soft but very light. We ate lunch on this trip. They serve dinner, reservations absolutely neccessary. They do not change the menu between lunch and dinner, if they did we would have returned for dinner while we were in Tuscany. This is a "must do" stop, IMHO.

Now on to the food! After we were seated we were both presented with a small wood tray with some strips of lightly toasted bread and a sampling of their own olive oil. The flavor was as light as air with a hint of artichoke, (we were told :-) ).

After that: We started with splitting the antipasti Il Chianti-Classico(small samples of traditional Tuscan flavors). On the large white charger plate sat a sampling of: 1) the lightest chicken patè with vin santo, even Rob ate it and enjoyed it, and he DOESN"T do liver in any shape or form. 2) porcini mushrooms, 3) salami w/ fresh figs which was a very nice coupling 4) and small cubes of pecorino and pears in a very light olive oil w/ walnuts. The pecorino was delightful with their oil and thin pear slices.

For our primi: I had Le Paste fresche farcite al pecorini di 'Corzano'- a sampling of three different raviolis/pastas-light as air and had the definite taste that HE himself had had a hand in the making. All three versions were heavenly. Rob started with Spaghetti con cipolline fresce, fagioli zolfini e santoreggio- a spaghetti with fresh spring onions, beans and santoreggia cheese. mmmmmmmmmmmm

For our secondi we both had the veal with potatoes and porcini mushroom gratin. This was the thickest cut of lightly spiced veal about 4 inches thick. It was so tender that we literally could cut it with our forks. We didn't...but we could have.

When it came time for desert we passed. We were already experiencing Nirvana. We did order a couple of espressi with grappa and they brought to our table a tiered platter with various cookies and one each of a bite size ice cream wrapped in foil. We did seem to find room for those and a couple of the cookies to go with the coffee and grappa.

Our choice for wine: We decided to try a sampling of their wines with our three (yes I said 3!) hour lunch. We were one of the first to be seated and one of the last to leave. We asked the manager Marcello Crini, who also served us, to pair the wines for us with each of the courses we had ordered. He chose: With the antipasta a glass of Bolgheri Vermentino 2002 With the primi/pasta a glass each of the Chianti Classico Peppoli 2001. (Peppoli is the restaurant we have on the Monterey Peninsula.) And with the veal he poured for us glasses of Chianti Classico Riserva Badia a Passignano 2000. This was exceptional and it is the wine we bought 2 bottles of in the bottega.

The wines just flowed with the food and we were very happy with our choice to ask Marcello to put everything together.

Our total bill came to €129, plus a €15 tip.

Pricy for lunch, but absolutely worth every cent. And really not that expensive considering someone heaven sent created a meal to die for. I can't wait to go back. In Oct. 2004 we will be going there for dinner. Oh let the clock tick away so we can get back there to taste those tastes and savor those scents.

mmmmm mmmmmmmmm good. This turned out to be our very best meal on the entire trip through Italy and the Mediterranean for 2003.

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

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