Assistant Manager of Travel Operations Sarah knows how to find good food in a new destination. In her six-and-a-half years at Go Ahead, Sarah has been able to explore 25 countries on six Go Ahead tours and her own personal adventures.
“I love learning about different cultures, cuisine and history,” she says, “and traveling is the best way to do that!” Sarah recently went on our Food & Wine Tour: Tuscany & Umbria, where she got a real taste of Tuscan flavors.
“Every meal on this tour was incredible,” Sarah said, but her favorite was lunch at a farmhouse in Lucca.”We ate outside on a farm surrounded by the rolling hills of Tuscany, so the ambiance was unbeatable. We ate the freshest vegetables I’ve ever had, along with cheeses, meats and of course really good wine! It was so simple but everything was so flavorful.”
In her free time, Sarah was able to visit a number of Tuscan restaurants. Here, she lists her three favorites that are worth a visit on your next trip to Tuscany.
Sarah’s must-visit Tuscan restaurants
Via del Leone, 50/R, 50124, Florence
I found this restaurant online before I left and was able to make a reservation very easily. It was a ten-minute walk from our hotel, so the location was very convenient. We ogled the menu for weeks before departure and it was not a disappointment.By the end of the meal we were completely stuffed, but very happy—here’s what we ordered (and what I would recommend!):
- Antipasto Pandemonio – Six tasting plates, all vegetarian and each one very tasty!
- Eggplant flan with Pecorino cheese – I’m not normally a fan of eggplant, but I was convinced to order this one and was glad I did. It was rich, creamy and decadent.
- Spaghetti di Cecco with fresh tomatoes and artichoke – This may have been my favorite dish in all of Italy!
- Meatballs with white beans in tomato sauce (pictured)
Piazza Il Campo 27, Siena
We found this restaurant just by walking around the main square in Siena, Piazza Il Campo. This restaurant has two parts, an outdoor bar area and an inside restaurant that can be easily missed–the entrance to the restaurant is a small door to the right of the bar area. We picked this restaurant because of the location and what was on the menu! We didn’t need to make a reservation and were able to walk right in. Here’s what we’d suggest trying:
- Meat board – We started with five different types of cured meat. Each paired very nicely with a glass of Brunello, a typical red wine from Tuscany.
- Cacio e pepe – We couldn’t resist the special that they were offering on the night we dined. This is a popular Italian dish which means “cheese and pepper.” Very simple but very delicious!
- Pappardelle Amatriciana (pictured) – This pasta has a bit of everything, including sweet onions, chili peppers, pancetta and tomato sauce. I still dream about how tasty this pasta dish was!
Al Mangiar Bene, Perugia
This restaurant is located on a small side street right off the main road in the city center. It’s a farm-to-table restaurant that really prides itself on the use of quality, local ingredients. We walked in to make a reservation for the following evening, but you can make reservations online if you prefer. When we ate, there were several locals and very few tourists dining, which is always a good sign of great, authentic food! Because this is a farm-to-table restaurant, meals vary based on what’s seasonal. Some dishes we loved:
- Fried artichokes – This was one of the specials of the day—and as soon as our waiter described it to us, I knew we had to order it.
- Meat and cheese board (pictured) – This board was huge and included three different types of cheese and six different types of meat, all from a local farm. It was served with honey, which was very tasty.
- Cacio e pepe – This version was a little bit different than the one we ordered in Siena. It had a much stronger flavor but we liked it very much.
- Umbricelli with a wild boar ragout – Umbricelli is a typical pasta in Umbria. It’s like a thick spaghetti that is made without eggs.
- Strawberry Cheesecake – We had to get dessert in Perugia, since the city known for its chocolate. We opted for a strawberry cheesecake with a chocolate crust.
Have you been on a Food & Wine Tour? What are your favorite restaurants in Italy?