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Trequanda: Ristorante Conte Matto

Via Taverne 40 , Phone: 0577.662079

Reviewed by: Jim B from USA, review #3598

When: 2010

Long on reputation but short on passion, Conte Matto doesn't make our "Favorite Tuscan Restaurant" list.

My wife and I arrived at Conte Matto in Trequanda with high expectations, after reading the rave reviews here in Slow Travel Italy and other sources. Would this, in fact, be our finest meal in Tuscany?

None of the antipasti called out to us, so we each had a primo and secondo (as always, tasting each other’s dishes) and shared a side of greens. I had gnocchi with mushrooms and shaved truffle that I thought was just OK and Jess liked a good bit more. She had a traditional zuppa of cream and chickpeas that we both thought was “pretty good.”

Both our secondi had sweet and heavy sauces that showed good flavor but became more overwhelming as the meal progressed. Mine was one that receives frequent mention: wild boar chunks topped with a cocoa-based sauce with pine nuts and raisins, served with winter squash slices. Jess had a tender beef "fillet" with a balsamic reduction, a side of *almost* carmelized small onions, and a conserve of fig and pine nuts. The onions were disappointingly crunchy. Our greens were flavor-full: sautéed with lots of salt and garlic, they reminded Jess of her neighborhood Italian restaurant on Long Island. Our half-bottle of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (Corte alla Flora ’05) made the most of the meaty mains and heavy sauces.

For dessert, we tried to communicate that we wanted one order of tiramisu split between us, but the waitress brought us two orders. Turns out it was the Right Thing To Do; it was the tastiest and creamiest tiramisu I’d had to date.

Our total bill was 82 euros. The service was genial but not particularly welcoming. We left feeling like we had been to a big restaurant that was more interested in turning tables than maintaining passion and vitality in their food. Conte Matto may have once been a “find,” but we're guessing that the increase in popularity has dimmed the brightness of the star. (We pray mightily that this doesn’t happen to our other favorite Tuscan restaurants.)

Given the quality and value of other restaurants in south-central Tuscany, we would not return to Conte Matto –-except, perhaps, for dessert!

Reviewed by: Jane from CA, review #3035

When: 2008

Excellent food, excellent view and excellent staff. This restaurant is worth finding and making a destination. It is not far from Montisi in Southern Tuscany

Directions: Southern Tuscany (Montepulciano area) The best way to find this restaurant is to follow the signs once in Trequanda. It is right along but outside of the town walls.

, photo by

Between the three of us we had three outstanding treats: lamb chops flavored with honey and lavender - quite wonderful, wild boar in a chocolate, pine nut sauce and ricotta cheese and melon ravioli with pink pepper and thyme sauce. There is no question about our returning here on next year's trip! Oh - the desserts are very difficult to resist - we didn't and they were good.

Reviewed by: JDeQ from Canada, review #2967

When: 2008

Wonderful restaurant located in the town of Trequanda serving up food that uses both ancient and inventive recipes featuring fresh, local ingredients.

Conte Matto, photo by J DeQuetteville

Conte Matto translates into the crazy count – I’m not sure what the reasoning was behind the name but I can say this ‘count’ rocks as a restaurant! This was by far the best meal that we ate in Tuscany this May. The food was a delightful mixture of traditional preparations mixed in with inventive, creative twists.

Palma, Brad, Paul, and I went here for dinner – it was close to Montisi so it made for a prefect drive. Once there we were seated on the terrace which was about half full. The views were stunning as the sun set over the Crete Senesi.

Not long after we ordered our meals (a challenge because it all looked so good!) we were brought a complimentary glass of prosecco and a plate of simple olive oil and garlic crostini. It was a perfect reminder that excellent Italian food is simple, allowing the ingredients to ‘speak’ for themselves.

For my first course I ordered spelt tagliatelle with ‘Cinta Sense’ pork ragout. It was an incredible dish – the pasta perfectly cooked and the ragout flavourful. Paul ordered ricotta cheese and melon ravioli which was served in a pink peppercorn and thyme sauce. The combination of flavours in this dish was truly outstanding. This course was a perfect example of the restaurant’s kitchen – a traditional ragout with one dish and a very inventive ricotta and melon ravioli for another.

It was a challenge to decide what to order next – everything looked so tempting. I decided upon a pork filet which was wrapped in potatoes and leeks and served with a shallot sauce and sweet and sour chicory. The sauce was so delicious that I wanted to lick my plate (happily for the rest of the group I restrained myself.) Paul ordered the renaissance style wild boar that was cooked with sultanas, chocolate, pine nuts, and balsamic vinegar. Some might find this presentation unusual but it is quite traditional and delicious.

Because everything up to this point had been so incredibly good we had to order dessert. Paul ordered the almond semi freddo with almond crunch. I had a puff pastry napoleon with mascarpone cream and strawberries. Both of these were delicious – the perfect finish to a stellar meal.

The restaurant has an extensive wine list. In fact, we struggled to decide upon one wine. In the end Paul, Brad, and I split a bottle of red wine (a lovely Casa Emma Chianti Riserva) and Palma enjoyed a couple of white wines by the glass.

Some have suggested that the restaurant is expensive. It wasn’t cheap but I wouldn’t say that our dinner was outrageous by any stretch of the imagination. The bill for four of us with wine, water (sparkling and still), four pastas, four mains, four desserts, and coffee came to 154 euro which given the inventive quality of the food, the stunning view, and the attentive service was a bargain in my books.

Reviewed by: SL Jones from IL, review #2508

When: 2007

Our favorite Tuscan restaurant - delicious, scenic and accessible.

Directions: In the very small village of Trequanda, well signposted.

We love this restaurant. We first went there in 2004 and returned several times during our stay near Trequanda. We returned in the fall of 2006 and again in June 2007.

We have never been anything short of comfortable and dazzled by the food. Service is casual but very professional. We have always eaten on the terrace, which is large, with plenty of space and a great view out over the vineyards and clay hills of the Crete.

I'm stuck in a delightful rut there. I always order the cinghiale dolceforte, which is much like a Mexican mole sauce with its mixture of sweet and savory - meat with raisins and a bit of chocolate. I love it. My husband has had the Chianina steak - huge and indulgent. All vegetable dishes are tasty. The tiramisu is "deconstructed" which may or may not please - we enjoyed it. They don't have a huge menu, but expect excellently prepared food of the region.

Reviewed by: Bill Sutherland from Italy, review #215

When: 2001

Very good cuisine. The chef here is always a little inventive in his style; not the "typical" Tuscan presentation. Recommended.

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

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