Vacation rentals in Italy (villas, farms, estates, agriturismo, apartments)
Montepulciano: A Gambe di GattoVia dell'Opio nel Corso, 34 , Phone: 0578.757431
Closing day: Wednesday
Reviewed by: JerryG from TX, review #3494
Unique oasis in Montepulciano
We just returned from a two week stay in Tuscany, a magical place in its own right. When we travel, we try to meet and spend time with real people and avoid the tourist mainstream. After all, it’s all about the people you meet and the relationships you develop!
We had been fascinated by SlowTravel reviews of A Gambe di Gatto in Montepulciano – a place that relies heavily on the tourist trade. So, we made a concerted effort to find the place. EVERYTHING that was touted about the restaurant, and more importantly, about its owners, host, Emanuel, and his wife/chef, Laura, was true in spades! Our visits to this captivating spot were the dining highlights of our trip, and we ate in some great places.
What sets this spot apart is, simply put, the people. Emanuel is an incredible gentleman with enormous food and wine knowledge, and the exceedingly gracious and humble Laura is a master in the kitchen, making every item from scratch and to order. Their personalities double the dining experience.
Everything we had read about Emanuel’s passion for wine and olive oils was true and more. He has relationships with small producers of some incredible wines from all parts of Italy, many of them organic. He will let you (more like insist that you) taste as many as you like and offer complete, verbal wine making and tasting notes on each – time in barrels, type of oak, etc. for comparison purposes. Then, when you choose your favorite, the price per glass is ridiculously fair, much less than at the myriad of tasting rooms in the area. The same goes for olive oils, about which Emanuel knows much. He suggests several to taste with every course that put the dish on steroids! Amazing! He even asks you what music he should be playing. No matter how many others are in the 16 seat bistro, it is as if you are the only customers. This is a gift.
Laura’s menu is not like the seemingly identical menus in most places in Tuscany. A number of the dishes look familiar (e.g., the omnipresent pici al ragu), but each has a different twist, a different flare. For example, the sauce on the heavenly ravioli pillows was green and yellow from zucchini … not a tomato in sight. It was ethereal! When we came back for our last meal in Tuscany at A Gambe, Laura had come in early to make us a special meal, having concluded that we were vegetarian (we are not, but, having had many typical Tuscan meals loaded with beef and cinghiale, we had pounced on the other options on her menu). Suffice it to say that the pici she made with hand rolled bread crumbs and anchovies was beyond description … and a personal gift to us!
We had such a wonderful experience that we were compelled to beckon folks in off the street so that they could enjoy some of the magic! Don’t miss this oasis in the middle of Montepulciano!
This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.
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