The Best Restaurants in San Gimignano, Italy

Piazza della Cisterna is a stunning place to stop and eat
Piazza della Cisterna is a stunning place to stop and eat | © Irina Crick / Alamy
Luca Marchiori

Rising out of Italy’s Tuscan hills, San Gimignano is home to a mouthwatering range of restaurants serving home-cooked fare – from traditional ribollita to hand-rolled pasta and wild boar stew.

Approaching San Gimignano, you’ll understand why it has been dubbed the Medieval Manhattan. Its extraordinary skyline is filled with dozens of centuries-old towers, constructed by the town’s over-competitive citizens. These days, they’re just as proud of their food. While you’re here, be sure to make the most of it at these fantastic restaurants – from pizzicherie to traditional Tuscan osterie.

1. Linfa

Restaurant, Italian

Linfa is the newest member of Italy’s Michelin-starred family. At wooden tables under a vaulted ceiling, Puglian chef Vincenzo Martella shines a southern light on traditional Tuscan fare. Dishes including onion soup with almonds and liquorice, and ravioli with pistachio, mussels, cheese and pepper, form part of five- or seven-course tasting menus.

2. Al 43

Restaurant, Italian

Located at the Locanda dell’Artista, a few miles outside the centre of San Gimignano, Al 43 offers the Tuscan country dream. Whether in the wide-windowed dining room or on the terrace, you’ll be surrounded by greenery while sampling the very best farm-to-table food the region has to offer. Many dishes, such as the mackerel with rocket, goat cheese and hazelnuts, and the Tuscan pork with apricots and spinach, are also gluten-free.

3. Il Ceppo Toscano

Restaurant, Italian

The dishes at the traditionally styled Il Ceppo Toscano are as central to Tuscan cuisine as the restaurant is to San Gimignano. Meat is definitely on the menu with specialities such as peposo – Tuscan black pepper stew – and local fillet steaks, while their home-made pasta dishes, such as pici with duck ragù and spaghetti cooked in a Chianti wine sauce, are Tuscan with a capital T.

4. La Vecchia Nicchia

Restaurant, Italian

La Vecchia Nicchia describes itself as a pizzicheria, a place where you can snack on a bit of this and a bit of that. The “this” and “that” in question are typical Tuscan salamis, cold meats, olives, bread and cheeses. It’s a great place for a light bite or to get to know the products Tuscany offers. Additionally, they have more than 300 wines – mostly Tuscan – to try.

5. Le Vecchie Mura

Restaurant, Italian

restaurant le vecchie mura, san gimignano, tuscany, italy
© v. arcomano / Alamy

Le Vecchie Mura is situated on the city walls of San Gimignano and that means one thing: some of the best panoramic views the town has to offer. The food – Tuscan favourites such as ribollita or white bean salad – tastes good, both on the terrace and in the intimate, barrel-vaulted dining room. They also have an extensive coeliac menu, with one of the best selections of gluten-free pasta in the area.

6. Lo Spuntino

Restaurant, Italian

Lo Spuntino means “the snack”, and it offers exactly that – it’s one of the most popular San Gimignano pizza-slice outlets for eating in or taking away. They also do a range of pasta dishes, bruschetta and filled rolls which, like the pizza slices, are great if you’re planning a picnic. The signature Tuscan stonework makes it pleasant to eat inside as well as out.

7. Osteria della Catene

Restaurant, Italian

Hosts Gino and Virgilio are aficionados of the slow food movement, so here you can expect quality, tradition and taste, all for an affordable price. The gran tagliere dell’osteria, a large mixed antipasto for two, cannot be beaten. Follow it up, if you can, with hand-rolled pasta with ricotta and saffron, or wild boar stew. Leave room for a home-made dessert – apple pie with saffron and turmeric for me, please.

8. Tenuta Torciano

Wine Seller, Wine

Torciano Hotel Vecchio Asilo_5854c5a9
Courtesy of Torciano Hotel Vecchio Asilo / Expedia

No trip to Tuscany would be complete without a visit to a winery. Tenuta Torciano offers a wide range of wine-tasting experiences, with or without lunch or dinner, and there’s no need to worry about getting home afterwards – they have an on-site hotel in a stunning 11th-century villa. Local truffles are a speciality in the restaurant, with the menu changing according to availability and season.

To explore more of Italy, discover the best hotels in Gubbio, or the best hotels in Positano – they’re bookable with Culture Trip. During your stay, explore must-visit attractions in Rome, and discover the best things to do in Cefalú, Sicily. Make sure to also visit at least one of the best restaurants in Montepulciano to sample some delicious Italian dishes.

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