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Chiusi: Osteria La Solita Zuppa

Via Porsenna, 21 , Phone: 0578.21006
Closing day: Tuesday

Reviewed by: Donna and Burns from USA, review #3286

When: 2009

Some of the best food in all of Tuscany. We felt like family when we left and cannot wait to return. This place is a must visit when in Chiusi.

The atmosphere if warm. The staff is gracious. Roberto the owner is charming and welcoming. A perfect place for a meal you will not soon forget.

Reviewed by: cetona from france, review #3182

When: 2008

Great dining experience

Directions: It's on the main street in the old upper town, not the newer town by the train station.

I read some negative reports about this restaurant on this website and I want to put the record straight.

We've been going to La Solita Zuppa for more than 15 years. The food is great, the wines are well chosen, the service is friendly, and the price is reasonable.

Some people complained that they couldn't order just a pasta and a salad. That's not how this place works. It's basically a set menu, with a different wine chosen for each dish. Yes, I know, many Italian trattorie are very relaxed about this and are ok with different people at the table having a main dish or not, or splitting dishes, or having a pasta as a main dish. This is not one of those places. It's a full meal and a full evening, and if that's not what you are after, don't go (a good choice would be La Fattoria down near Lago di Chiusi). But if you are seeking an evening of inventive Tuscan food and interesting local wines, then I can't recommend it more highly.

They are very accomodating for children. Our daughter and her cousins have been going since she was born. Yes, not having a written menu may be off-putting, but that is the traditional way in Italian osterie. And I agree Robbie's language skills may not always be up to every explanation. But just relax, have fun, listen to his suggestions, and don't worry about the bill. We always ending up spending between 40 and 55 euros a head for a full meal with plenty of wine. I've never tried to work out how they arrive at the bill. It's never worried me.

Reviewed by: Ken & Nancy from USA, review #2537

When: 2007

Eat here if you want to be treated badly. Good food! Rude owners!

We had two dinners at La Solita Zuppa. The first night, there were only a few other diners. Laura and Robbie were very, very friendly. The food was excellent. We didn't really like having the menu recited to us and having to make our choices on the spot but decided that the fine food was worth this minor irritation. We made a reservation for the following evening.

The next evening, the restaurant was fully booked. We were the first diners to arrive. We were shown to our table and Robbie again recited the (same) menu. We each chose primi and secondi piatti. Robbie insisted we order appetizers. We demurred. He insisted. We said we would share one. He said the appetizers were too small to be shared. We said, in that case, we would skip appetizers and have dessert instead. He was visibly angry.

Our food was brought to us from the kitchen. Robbie never returned to our table to take the coffee and dessert order. Long after all the dishes had been cleared from our table, we sat and watched Robbie fawn over all the other diners who had been seated after we had but who had ordered the required four courses instead of three. We were being shunned. The longer we sat there, the more uncomfortable and unhappy we became. After 40 minutes, it became clear that he would not acknowledge us. We asked another staff person our check. When it came, we left our money on the table and walked out.

There are at least five other restaurants in Chiusi Citta. Go to one of those.

Reviewed by: Kevin Clark from Italy, review #2400

When: 2007

The worst treatment I've ever received in a restaurant in Italy or anywhere else for that matter. DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT eat here.

I can't review the food of this highly regarded restaurant because we never got that far. In all my years of travelling and now living in Italy, I have never been treated this poorly. The service was rude, unpleasant, and eventually insulting. This restaurant is highly regarded, including a couple of earlier ST reviews, so we were extremely surprised and disappointed.

It's a cute place, in a small piazza a couple of blocks from the Museo Etrusco. There's a nice looking menu outside, almost none of which was available on the day we visited (a Sunday lunch). There were a couple of other customers, but the place was hardly busy. The woman who seated us was pleasant enough, if a little over the top, which perhaps should have been our first clue.

The waiter, however, took the prize. First he told us that there was no printed menu despite the one we'd seen outside (OK - fair enough, that's not all that uncommon and has sometimes led to some outstanding meals). Then he announced that he would recite the day's menu, but would only do it in one language - and without giving us a choice he proceeded to recite it in English, even though we're all capable of understanding Italian. Despite his generally good English, a lot was lost in the translation ("little pieces of meat" is perhaps not the best way to describe tagliata, for example!).

When we started to order, it really got ugly. We all ordered a first course. Kim's parents have small appetites by Italian standards and we knew we were going out for a big dinner of bistecca fiorentina later, so they tried to skip the second course. No, we were told, the second course is mandatory! They then tried to order a salad or a vegetable as a second course. This wasn't acceptable either - they were told that they must order a full second course. He told us over and over that this was a "traditional Tuscan restaurant" and that multiple courses were a mandatory part of that experience. Funny - we've eaten in dozens of "traditional Tuscan restaurants" and had never before been told by a waiter what we had to eat!

In the end we were told to order the full meal or to leave, so naturally we left. We offered to pay for the water and bread we'd consumed, but were told to "get out". Even this wasn't enough for the waiter, who followed us out of the restaurant yelling at us.

The experience was truly amazing! When we described it later to Nico (of the Sant'Antonio resort where we were staying and who also runs a restaurant), he couldn't believe it either. Two weeks later I still haven't really gotten over the surprise and shock at being treated this way. Fortunately, we walked a block up the street and had a very nice lunch with some of the friendliest service we've experienced (see my review of Ristorante Kantharos), so there was a happy ending.

Just please, please take my advice and avoid La Solita Zuppa like the plague! Even if the food is the best on earth, anyone who would treat a customer in this way should not be in the restaurant business.

Reviewed by: Tracey Smith from TX, review #1860

When: 2005

One of our very favorites! Can't wait to go back!

Osteria La Solita Zuppa, photo by R. Neumann

A delightful dining experience....the best of this trip! We had been reading good things about this wonderful little Osteria and couldn't have been more pleased. Family owned and operated by Roberto and Luana Pacchieri, this little corner of heaven exudes charm and the food is, well, simply to die for!

Roberto himself explains the menu, makes suggestions and takes your order in fluent English, French, Spanish, German or of course, Italian. He'll remind you of Roberto Benigni with his enthusiasm and charm and when you leave, you'll feel as though you are family.

We first found this great little place in March of 2005, returned in October of 2005 and look forward to many, many more visits. Just recalling some of the courses as I write this review, makes my mouth water and my tummy long for more!

On our last visit, we started with dishes of diced fresh pear and cubed mild pecorino, seasoned with fresh cracked pepper, topped with toasted walnuts, served with a glass of fruity muscat. The three of us shared the freshest, most delicious ravioli I have ever eaten, served simply but elegantly with parmesan, fresh sage and butter; an incomparable soup of cauliflower with orange zest topped with a swirl of fresh olive oil; another soup of artichoke hearts with Tuscan white beans and mint. We opted for the house red and it was a winner as well. We couldn't decide which of the mouth watering desserts we wanted so we ordered all four and again, shared! All were wonderfully delicious, but most memorable was a poached pear served in an apple aspic with a dash of cinnamon and what we think was a splash of Calvados liqueur. Espresso followed, served in adorable, custom made pottery.

The Osteria is located in a centuries old charming building with a brick vaulted ceiling... just as you enter the old part of Chiusi. La Solita Zuppa is small, about 10-12 tables so it may be best to call ahead. We didn't have any trouble getting in but we were there in the off-season. We intend to go back every chance we get...but it won't be soon enough!

Reviewed by: ellens from NJ, review #752

When: 2004

Wonderful, small restaurant with great food and friendly owners.

Directions: In centro storico

Our group of 15 ate lunch here on a Monday afternoon and enjoyed a variety of different selections - all served with friendly flair. This seemed to be a popular spot with locals - we were the only obvious tourists in the place. A multi-course lunch with wine came to 25 euros per person.

Reviewed by: Cheryl from CA, review #176

When: 2002

The ambience was sweet, and diners were all treated very specially. This place is special, don't miss it.

Did I mention the wonderful restaurant we stumbled upon in Chiusi? They had a refreshingly different country cuisine, and the couple that owned it (and worked it as well), so enjoyed feeding their clientele that it made it all the more delicious. The name is Osteria La Solita Zuppa and they, of course, specialized in dozens of luscious soups, etc. I had a pear/cheese/hazlenut antipasta (not dessert), w/that lovely Orvieto sweet (Maffuto) wine, as the accompanying wine, and oh my God, what a way to start the meal. The zuppa I chose was magnificant ... chickpea/porcini/tomato, w/herbs to garnish. My daughter had leek/potato w/olive oil & aceto, and sliced almond garnish - mmmmmmmmmmm.

There was more, but you'll have to go and taste for yourself. it was very French country in decor, and I think the woman was French, herself.

Reviewed by: Pauline from NM (moderator), review #177

When: 1999

Small restaurant, tucked into a corner near the city walls. It is run by a modern young couple. Lots of vegetarian selections. It was all great.

Also recommended by F. Cesarini (Panicale rentals).

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

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