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Siena: Osteria La Chiacchera

Costa di Saint'Antonio, 4

Reviewed by: Jeff Whiteaker from CA, review #2590

When: 2007

This small osteria, located on a steep hill in Siena, offers an unmissable and precarious outdoor seating experience along with good food at cheap prices.

Yes, the tourists are all on to this place, but that has more to do with its close proximity to Siena's popular Alma Domus hostel and its frequent mention in tour guides as a good cheap eat, than anything else. It's located off the beaten path down a narrow and very steep side-street. I can confirm that yes, the food is good and the prices are quite reasonable. This is definitely a place to sample good, simple Sienese staples if you're on a limited budget.

I've been here twice, and on my most recent trip here I tried their Pici with Funghi Porcini; Siena's own thick take on spaghetti-shaped pasta, with rich, fresh funghi porcini in a cream sauce. Although this is not the best funghi porcini dish I had (which can be found across town at Gallo Nero), it was still quite enjoyable. My girlfriend tried the Ribolita, which was quite tasty as well.

For the secondo, we split a dish of Rabbit Cacciatore and a salad. Again, although not the best example of this dish we tried, it was still quite good. The carafe of house red did just fine as well.

Of course what makes La Chiacherra all the more charming is its precariously balanced outdoor seating along the street in front. Set on a gravity-defying steep hill, they've fashioned wooden, L-shaped wedges to keep the tables and chairs level and from sliding down the street. Things might be a bit wobbly, but these wedges do seem to work. Once you can get over the fact that you and your food won't go crashing down the hill, it's the perfect place to take in the view of this beautiful and quaint section of Medieval Siena, especially on a warm Spring evening. (Note: the outdoor tables all seat 4 - if there's only two of you, you're likely to share your table with another couple, which makes this a great place for hearing about other peoples' travels, if you're so inclined.)

So, to sum up, I can recommend Osteria La Chiacherra if you want to have good, traditional Sienese food without breaking the bank. No, it's not a life-altering culinary experience, but the food ranges from good to decent, and you could certainly do far, far worse.

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

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