Tuscany

Continued (page 2 of 5)

ROSSINI
Lungarno Corsini 4, Florence
Tel. 055-239-9224

These very glamorous dining rooms with vaulted ceilings, red-slipcovered armchairs, big French windows and little round tables are run by a Harry's Bar alum—hence the sexy little piano bar. The mod-Tuscan menus change all the time: Tangerine-scented lobster and gnocchi with cauliflower and truffle are typical dishes.

PANDEMONIA
Via del Leone 50/R, Florence
Tel: 055-224-002

If you want to experience a simulation of being Florentine, borrow the Brogi family for the duration of dinner. Sit in the back room—the cutest enclosed garden with tiny lights and lemon walls—and let yourselves be guided through the short homemade menu and appropriate wines. This is also the place for steak.

TRATTORIA TOSCANA
L'Andana, Tenuta La Badiola, Località Badiola, Castiglione della Pescaia, Grosseto
Tel: 056-494-4800

Not only is this new (summer 2005) hot spot in the Maremma set beautifully in the restored granary of this aristocratic estate but the food bears the stamp of the great Alain Ducasse—in rustic mode, as interpreted by protégé Christophe Martin, whom you can see working in the open kitchen. Though there is a discernible French accent, the menus are firmly Tuscan, and not too elaborate.

BUCA DI SAN FRANCESCO
Via San Francesco 1, Arezzo
Tel: 575-23271

If marveling at the Piero della Francesco frescoes in the Basilica of San Francesco gave you an appetite, cross the street to this exquisitely atmospheric 14th-century palazzo cellar for excellent Aretino dishes: local salami and other antipasti, and the signature beef braised in Chianti, stracotto al Chianti.

BUCA DI SANT'ANTONIO
Via della Cervia 3, Lucca
Tel: 583-55881

With its forest of copper pans hanging from the beams and a cotto floor beneath your farmhouse chair, you may worry you've wandered into the worst tourist trap in town. But don't: Since the 18th century, this sweet place has been serving classic Luccese dishes such as rabbit with olives and spit-roast kid to locals as well—not to mention Puccini and Ezra Pound!

DAL GRECO
Via del Molo 1/2 Porto Santo Stefano, Grosseto
Tel: 564-814-885

In the less fancy but arguably more lively of Monte Argentario's two main towns, this is the place everyone sends you to—and with good reason. Its portside trellised terrace is a great people- and yacht-watching perch, and it's the source of the best and freshest seafood for miles.

LA TAVERNA DI MORANDA
Via di Mezzo 17–13, Monticchiello di Pienza, Siena
Tel: 578-755050

In this perfect medieval village, stone arches and beamed ceilings make a fittingly ancient setting for fine local cooking. All dishes are made with produce from the taverna's own estate. Try the venison, the stuffed pigeon or the hand-rolled irregular spaghetti called pici. The desserts are unusually good: The Italian chef-owner's wife—a pastry specialist from France—makes them.

 

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