Montalcino, Tuscany: tips on where to eat — post Brunello wine tasting!
The first time I visited Montalcino in Tuscany a few years back I remember remarking that it was the tidiest town in Italy! It’s situated about a 50-minute drive south of Siena and is perhaps most well known as being the heart of Brunello wine country. Montalcino is a lovely hilltop town in Tuscany, and is surrounded by a wall, plus has a fortress that you can visit providing sensational views across the whole area.
The town is the centre of the Brunello di Montalcino wine region, and there are many vineyards (and enoteca/wine stores in the town) to visit where you can sample the local Brunello wine variety. It’s possible to visit the bigger vineyards such as Banfi Wines situated at Castello Banfi, or the smaller ones such as Biondi Santi (where Brunello wine first started), Sesti Wines, Rodolfo Cosimi or San Carlo. I strongly recommend booking wine tasting and cellar tours in advance, especially in summer. You can obtain maps and information about the local vineyards from the Tourist Information office right in the heart of Montalcino.
When it comes to eating delicious food in Montalcino, there are many excellent choices. You won’t be left hungry! Below are a few places I visited in July this year, and I think all are well worth trying when you’re in the area.
Locanda Demetra: It’s a cooking school, farm and restaurant, and is just a few minutes drive outside of Montalcino. I had a lovely lunch with a group of friends here. The atmosphere was relaxed and the service wonderful; everyone was super friendly, and nothing too much trouble. Many of the dishes they prepare contain ingredients grown on the farm, and the rest are sourced from around Montalcino. The food was delicious and fresh! It’s possible to eat inside or out, and the property has gorgeous views across to Montalcino, and of the rolling hills below. Soon they’ll have rooms at the property available to book too. Make sure to reserve a table in advance for the restaurant.
Trattoria Il Pozzo: This restaurant is in Sant’Angelo in Colle, and is about a 10-minute drive from Montalcino. It’s a hilltop town, and one where you can also enjoy a gorgeous Tuscan sunset. The style of food served at Il Pozzo is typical to the region, including the unforgettable Fiorentina steak and they have a huge wine list packed with local Brunello and Rosso di Montalcino wines to select from. Ingredients used at the restaurant are sourced from the local area. The restaurant is a favourite of visitors and locals alike. I recommend making a booking in advance.
Alle Logge di Piazza: This trattoria/café/wine bar is open all day, and is right in the middle of Montalcino, in Piazza del Popolo. I visited a few times in July, and enjoyed every meal, drink and coffee I had! The service was always relaxed and helpful, and I think my favourite meal was the Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe. It was yum! They make a pretty good Aperol Spritz too! It’s the type of place where you can people watch, kids are able to play nearby, and you can choose to sit inside or outside.
Café Sant’Angelo: Also known as Osteria di Pino, this restaurant is found in Sant’Angelo Scalo, and is run by locals Pino and his wife Daniela. If you are looking for a truly authentic Tuscan experience, you’ll love this place. The well priced menu changes by season, with a few favourite dishes available all year round. It feels like you’re eating really good home-cooking, and as a testament to the popularity of the restaurant, it’s one many locals visit and recommended to me. The wine list is limited, however I do believe it is possible to take your own wine (check this in advance though). Bookings are recommended.
La Buca Di Enea: This tiny restaurant served myself and my friends a couple of the most enormous plates of delicious local cheeses and meats that we ate in Tuscany! It’s fair to say we rolled out after finishing our lunch! La Buca Di Enea is found in Pienza, a town approximately 20–30 mins drive from Montalcino. Pienza is a beautiful hilltop town I first visited nearly two years ago with my Mum, when we did a walking trip in the area, and it was great to visit again this year. Another restaurant highly recommended (although I’ve not eaten there) in Pienza is Latte di Luna.
Il Grifo Pizzeria: If you’re in the mood for a no nonsense, relaxed restaurant, Il Grifo will suit you perfectly. It’s in Montalcino, and the pizza’s are great. It’s a good place for friends and families to enjoy a good meal. There is an extensive list of pizzas to choose from including many Italian classics. They do also serve a range of pasta’s and other local Tuscan dishes, however we stuck with pizza. Worth booking in advance, especially in summer.
As they say in Italy, ‘si mangia bene’ and that is certainly true of Montalcino! I wish you Buon Viaggio, and hope you enjoy your time in this gorgeous part of Tuscany, and most importantly Buon Appetito!