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Montalcino: Trattoria Sciame

Closing day: Tuesday

Reviewed by: Robert Rainey from CA, review #1515

When: 2005

Comfortable, casual place with great food. We went here twice

Directions: Down the street from the fortress

Great prices, great service, good wine and food for a reasonable price. Try the pici which is hand rolled pasta.

Reviewed by: Kim (moderator) from NJ, review #1442

When: 2005

I'd liken it to a "truck stop" in the US: basic food, decent prices, no ambiance or elegant service but with a surprisingly good wine list.

Directions: Near the top of Montalcino, maybe a block from the Fortezza.

We ate here twice during our trip in May 2005. As we approached the first night, we could still smell the wonderful aroma that attracted us to this restaurant back in November 2003. As we entered the restaurant, I realized what about the aroma attracted me; it reminds me of the smells of my grandmother’s apartment building in Brooklyn, always someone cooking a pot roast or a stew or something.

Remember, with Sciame, we’re not talking fine dining here. If I had to equate Sciame to anything in America, I’d equate it to a truck stop, basic (if any) décor, sometimes-gruff service, and solid basic food at some basic prices.

We found the restaurant to be warm (as in hot) and crowded, identified German, French and English spoken in this small establishment, a far cry from the Italian road workers we first found here in 2003. The menu was in all three languages, too. We were seated at a back corner table and both of us ordered the pinci con ragu to start. We both agreed that we like the pinci better at Grappolo Blu. For our secondi, I again ordered the roast chicken (leg and thigh) while Chris enjoyed the cinghiale stew, which he still believes to be the best cinghiale ever. As last time, we shared a plate of fries (though, now we think Da Renzina in Puglia may have better fries), this with a ½ litre of house red and a bottle of water cames to 45€ for the two of us. It’s not a long leisurely meal there either; we were out of there in less than 90 minutes.

We returned on Friday, our last night in Montalcino, and were seated immediately in the front of the restaurant. While I know it will be too much food I couldn't resist starting with some of their anchovies in parsley, garlic and olive oil. Yum. For my primo, I realized I still hadn’t had any cinghiale and ordered the parpadelle con cinghiale while Chris got their gnocchi con tartufo. Both are good and it might have been my imagination but the portions seemed bigger than our first night.

For our secondi, I got the roast chicken again, white meat breast this time, and Chris got the cinghiale again, which he still declared to be the best cinghiale he’s had. And of course, a meal wouldn’t be complete without a side of fries.

After dinner, the owner brought us a bottle of his limoncello which - if I understood him correctly - his sister’s friend made or his friend’s sister, one or the other. We told him we made it at home but ours isn’t as good, blaming it on the lemons. All that with a bottle of water and a liter of the house wine for 54€. We’re happy campers. I think the service was definitely better the second night, and tossed it up to his remembering us from earlier in the week.

Reviewed by: jgk from FL, review #1381

When: 2005

Some things better than others here. Best: ravioli with butter and sage. Worst: porcini bruschetta. Very crowded. Not the best service. Good not great food.

I have to admit we were starving and tired when we happened into this place. The waiter was not happy to see us even though they had the table empty. It was about 2:15.

The "ravioli" with butter and sage was wonderful. Three large hat shapped pastas stuffed with spinach and cheese. I also had a simple salad which was fine. We also had the porcini bruschetta which was probably one of the worst dishes we had in Italy. So greasy and not the usual porcini flavor. I think maybe they used dried porcini?

I think one could do better in Montalcino than Sciame.

Reviewed by: mk from USA, review #938

When: 2004

Small, charming trattoria; gnocchi with porcini mushrooms and panecotta with fresh berries were excellent.

Reviewed by: Lorac from NY, review #772

When: 2004

My husband and I both agree that Trattoria Sciame was our most memorable meal in Tuscany.

This is most unassuming restaurant with maybe eight or nine tables. The room reminded me of my grandmother’s kitchen with old-fashioned white painted cabinets and little embroidered curtains.

The flavors were astounding. Antipasti were a perfect pecorino au gratin and home-cured proscuitto toscano. My ravioli in a butter and sage sauce were the best ravioli I have ever eaten anywhere. My husband had roast pork rubbed with rosemary and other aromatic spices…the meat was cooked perfectly and very tender. We enjoyed it so much, that we asked for “seconds”…if you can believe that! We also had a very nice Il Patrizio Brunello di Montalcino. An excellent restaurant!

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

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