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Eating & Drinking

  • Vernaccia di San Gimignano is the characteristic white wine - crisp, full-bodied, golden-hued, and popular since Dante’s day. To round off a Tuscan fest, dip cantuccini, crunchy almond biscuits, into Vin Santo, the region’s amber-hued dessert wine.

    Tuscany’s olive oil has long been famous for its quality and excellent flavour and texture. The San Gimignano locals are passionate about olive oil, where olives have been grown locally since Etruscan times. Such is the case on the Montenidoli estates. This cru of Extra Vergine di San Gimignano is a tasty example.

    Meats are to the fore, with fennel salami often on the menu, as is rabbit. The meat dish par excellence is still the bistecca alla fiorentina, a vast, tender, juicy and succulent T-bone steak. That said, given San Gimignano’s closeness to Siena, expect plenty of Sienese dishes, too. In the Sienese countryside, the white-striped Cinta Senese breed has been producing the region’s finest pork and charcuterie since the Etruscan era. Hunting is a popular sport, resulting in plentiful offerings of cinghiale (wild boar), which come in many guises on local menus. Despite conservationists’ pleas, small birds, from sparrows to quail, are still considered fair game.

  • Cum Quibus

    Run by an enthusiastic young team, this pricey gourmet spot makes a change from run-of-the-mill tourist traps. The focus is on intensely-flavoured Tuscan ingredients, ranging from rabbit-stuffed cannelloni to chicken liver with Vin Santo or a squid-with-panzanella combination. The rustic-style dining room is at odds with an ambitious menu, one that delivers curious taste combinations that work. This is a recommended Michelin Bib Gourmand, meaning a charming small restaurant.

    Day closed: Tuesday
    Address: Via S. Martino, 17, 53037 San Gimignano (SI)
    Web: www.cumquibus.it

  • Dorandò

    This atmospheric gourmet restaurant is set in a 14th-century mansion close to Piazza del Duomo. The cosy mood is accentuated by the ancient stonework and vaulted brick ceilings, with paintings by local artists on the walls. This upmarket, stylish spot specialises in recipes from the past, such as rabbit stuffed in pasta, or crispy vegetables with San Gimignano saffron. The dishes are matched by a fine Tuscan wine list, as only to be expected in a Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant.

    Address: Vicolo dell’Oro 2, San Gimignano
    Web: www.ristorantedorando.it

  • Osteria delle Catene

    Tucked away on a side street, this friendly, mid-priced inn serves an interesting twist on the Tuscan menu, with plenty of local saffron dishes. Choose between the brick, vaulted interior and the small, sloping terrace. Fans of saffron should try the `medieval saffron soup’ (with leeks and ham) or pici, a stubby pasta, with saffron and ricotta, or a saffron chicken main course. Finish with the mascarpone and saffron tart or panna cotta with saffron and pine nuts. If you’re not into saffron, opt for hearty staples such as wild boar, sausages and beans. Typical meaty dishes include Chianina beef casserole or wild boar ragu with pappardelle pasta.

    Address: Via Mainardi 18, San Gimignano
    Web: www.osteriadellecatene.it

  • Ristorante Da Pode

    Set in a converted farmhouse 2kms out of town, the setting is charming, all beams and terracotta floors. On the menu are big portions of traditional Tuscan dishes prepared by Signora Lucia. Tuck into T-bone steak or pasta with a meaty (ragu) sauce. This mid-priced inn is also a recommended Michelin Bib Gourmand, meaning a charming, small restaurant.

    Address: Localita Sovestro 63, 53037, San Gimignano
    Web: www.dapode.com

  • Ristorante Tre Archi

    A husband and wife team run this typical, good-value Tuscan trattoria. The homely, rustic-style dining room is a backdrop for a feast of hearty ribollita soup, tagliatelle with funghi porcini (ceps, in season), taglierini pasta with truffles (in season), T-bone steak, grilled lamb or wild boar stew. Meals usually begin with a tasting of Tuscan olive oils. The restaurant is in Castel San Gimignano, almost equidistant between Colle Val d’Elsa (10 kms), San Gimignano (12kms) and Volterra (15 kms).

    Address: Castel San Gimignano, 35/B, 53034 Colle di Val d'Elsa
    Web: www.ristorantetrearchi.com

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