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Eating & Drinking

  • For all its history, Tuscany remains at the forefront of the wine industry, which is still dominated by many of the original noble families.  “The know-how in the vineyards today compared to even a decade ago is phenomenal,” claims Lamberto Frescobaldi, whose Florentine family has been in the wine business for 700 years.

    The main centres in Chianti Classico are Panzano, Greve, Castellina, Gaiole, Fonterutoli and Radda. Easily accessible off the picturesque route SS222, the grandest, castle-like estates have often been run by the same families since medieval times, as is the case with the aristocratic Antinori, Frescobaldi, Mazzei and Ricasoli dynasties. Our recommended wine estates are featured in each of the individual Chianti guides.

    Local dining tends to be rustic but robust, nourishing the soul and the spirit as much as the body. Legumes are a mainstay, where cannellini, white kidney beans, add a smooth texture. Yet in both Panzano and Greve meat dishes take centre stage, partly thanks to the presence of excellent butchers.

    This is just a taster to the Chianti. See our restaurant recommendations below and also see our other guides to top Chianti towns and villages, all accessed through our Destinations listings.

  • Antica Trattoria La Toppa

    This is a friendly, family-run inn set in the charming, stone-built heart of the village of San Donato in Poggio. On a summer’s day, sit outside and enjoy classic, frills-free Tuscan home-cooking. The mid-priced menu features such dishes as hearty ribollita soup, roast meats, ravioli in a truffle sauce, or pappardelle all’anatra, pasta with duck. Desserts include tiramisu, panna cotta and cantuccini.

    Address: Via del Giglio 43, San Donato in Poggio, 50028 Tavernelle Val di Pesa

    Tel: 055 8072900

  • Il Vinaio Enoteca

    This unpretentious Panzano wine bar feels like a hidden spot, with its panoramic terrace and views over olive groves and vineyards. Enjoy a fine selection of regional wines, ideally paired with a light lunch based on typical Tuscan dishes.
    Address: Via Santa Maria 22, 50022 Panzano in Chianti
    Tel: 055 852603

  • L’Officina della Bistecca

    The clue is in the name: this Panzano place is a meat-lover’s dream and the temple of Florentine T-bone steak. Although not for the faint-hearted, this Tuscan steakhouse is a memorable experience and is a place beloved by top Italian chefs. Here, the butcher Dario Cecchini is the local legend. Diners sit at a long, communal table and tuck into a meat feast, prepared on an open grill. This includes a succulent 7cm-thick steak. The vast fixed menu (itemised online) costs €50 (vegetarian version too), including wine, coffee and grappa, and with two sittings, 8pm for dinner, or 1pm for lunch. It’s best to book.

    Address: Via XX Luglio 11, 50022 Panzano in Chianti

    Tel: 055 852020

  • L’Antica Scuderia

    Just north of Panzano is Badia a Passignano, with its Benedictine abbey and Antinori wine estate.  Foodies are spoilt for choice with options. If you resist the Michelin-starred Antinori gastrodome, then try this elegant, summery spot with a terrace overlooking the vineyards. The restaurant occupies a former staging post for passing knights. The cooking is modern Tuscan, including Tuscan crostini, lamb with stuffed artichokes, or game in the form of hare, pheasants and wild boar. Grilled meat is very much on the menu, including T-bone steak. Prices range from medium to high, also depending on the wine selection. Good, inexpensive pizzas are also on offer in this child-friendly spot.
    Address: Via di Passignano 17, Localita Badia a Passignano, 50028 Tavernelle Val di Pesa

    Tel: 055 8071623

  • La Castellana

    Set in the pretty village of Montefioralle outside Greve, this small, romantic, family-run inn serves robust, mid-priced Tuscan dishes and a full range of Chianti wines. Local favourites include crostini with chicken-liver paté, grilled meats and beef stew. Specialities include the truffle and mushroom dishes, including tagliatelle or bruschetta with truffles. Lap up the views from the hillside terrace, featuring swaying cypresses, silvery olive groves and endless vineyards. It’s best to book, especially for the terrace.
    Address: Via di Montefioralle, Localita Montefioralle, 50022 Greve in Chianti

    Tel: 055 853134

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