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Montalcino: Taverna del Grappolo Blu

Scale di Via Moglio, 1 , Phone: 0577.847.150

Closing day: Friday

Reviewed by: AndrewG from CA, review #3669

When: 2010

This was one of our favorites from our previous visit to Montalcino in 2005 and it did not disappoint.

We enjoyed both lunch and dinner here. Friendly service; wonderful, fresh pastas (pinci and porcinis to make you sigh), very good contorno like ceci (chick peas), and a fine local wine list. We still highly recommend dining with Luciano in his small and rustic kingdom when in Montalcino. Enjoyed a 2005 Il Poggioni Brunello with lunch and 2005 Lisini Brunello with dinner.

Reviewed by: Kevin Clark from Italy, review #2416

When: 2007

A wonderful lunch with a varied and imaginative menu. Deserving of all of its rave reviews.

Directions: Just off Via Mazzini

We looked forward to this lunch with great anticipation after reading all the rave reviews on ST and elsewhere as well as Isabella Dusi's books in which it figures prominently. It lived up to all of them and gave us one of our best lunches of our two weeks in Tuscany.

It was a holiday, and there were a lot of visitors in Montalcino, so we went early in hopes of getting a table. We had no trouble, but the two dining rooms were nearly full by th etime we left. Reservations would definitely be in order in a busier season. Most of the customers seemed to be tourists, though many were Italian. The menu was interesting, with some traditional choices and some we hadn't seen before. Service was very friendly.

Kim's parents started by splitting an order of pene ai contadini (a tomato and zucchini sauce). Kim had ravioli (can't remember what filling) in a very fresh tomato sauce, and I had tagliatelle con ragu di carne e funghi. I hadn't seen this combination of meat and mushroom ragu before, and it was extremely good. To follow, I had the excellent salsicce e fagioli while Kim had faraona (guinea fowl) con limone. Mom & Dad both had coniglio con brunello e polenta. We shared tastes of everything around the table, and it's hard to say who won the "best choice" contest for the day since everything was wonderful. Even after all of this, Kim was unable to resist the flan di cioccolato though she did have to pursuade the rest of us to help her finish it!

We had a very nice bottle of Col d'Orcia Rosso di Montalcino with our meal. With water and coffee, lunch came to 110 euros for the four of us - a little more than we usually spent but well worth it. Grappolo Blu is definitely worth a visit (or more than one) and we will surely return.

Reviewed by: SusanCV from PA, review #1051

When: 2004

Wonderful food to match the fantastic Brunello wines!

After reading the book "Vanilla Beans and Brodo," I couldn't wait to go here. It did not disappoint!

The waiter was patient and helpful in translating the menu for us. The pasta with peppers was heavenly! The onions cooked in balsamic vinegar were fantastic! I had the beef in a balsamic glaze and it was wonderful! Each of us ordered something different, and everything was a hit! The other couple had dessert and we had the cheese plate, yummy!!

We did drink 3 wonderful bottles of Brunello, so the bill was a bit high, about €300 for 4. Reservations are a must here!

Reviewed by: Lorac from NY, review #770

When: 2004

We went here because of all the glowing recommendations and came away a bit disappointed.

We enjoyed our misto salad, salami and pasta with mushrooms, but....

My husband and I had the exact same dish for secondi, veal shank in a Brunello sauce. My meat was tender and delicious, but my husband’s was gristly and tough ... he was not happy with it at all. We did have a very nice La Prata Toscana sangiovese/merlot which we enjoyed. The service was so so.

Because my meal was very good, I would say try this restaurant. But because my husband couldn't eat his meat at all, I wouldn't go out of my way to eat here again.

Reviewed by: smile_cc from MA, review #1157

When: 2003

Our Favorite Restaurant the entire trip - delicious food.

Roberto at the Palazzina Cesira recommended this restaurant. We ate there twice and we loved everything. Many of the dishes are basic but the ingredients are so fresh and cooked perfectly. My husband and I still talk about the meals we had there. We have travelled alot and enjoy trying new restaurants and this is at the top of our list. Extensive wine list if you want to try the local wines.

Reviewed by: Jean from MI, review #188

When: 2001

We just stopped here for lunch to have some bruschetta and soup, but the food was very great.

Reviewed by: Pauline from NM (moderator), review #187

When: 1999

Wonderful small restaurant with great food. We found it by accident, but since then I have heard many other good reviews of it.

Directions: From the main street with that famous caffe from the 1800s, you go down hill a block and it is down a steep alley on your right.

We found this restaurant by accident in the fall of 1999. I am including this here to remind myself to look for it next time.

We planned on eating at La Cucuna di Edgardo, but the menu did not suit us, so we walked around until we found another restaurant. A group of Italians coming out of this place were telling another group of Italians waiting to go in how good the restaurant was. All we understood was "Stinco di Cinghiale". Does the wild boar stink? No! Stinco means "shank". They were saying it was good.

I had the best bruschetta on that trip. Soaked in olive oil. Steve had zuppa verdure - more like a vegetable stew. He looked up "zuppa" in his food dictionary and found that a zuppa is more like a stew, where a "minestra" is with more broth, like a soup. We always just ordered whichever one was vegetable, not knowing the difference - no we know! For the main course I had pinca aglione - the local thick pasta with fresh tomatoes and huge cloves of garlic (the garlic was perfectly cooked - about 10 cloves in the dish). Steve had tagliatelle with black truffles and mushrooms.

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

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