The Greatest Restaurants in Siena, Italy

Antica Osteria da Divo has had a long, long time to perfect its cooking
Antica Osteria da Divo has had a long, long time to perfect its cooking | © David Broadbent / Alamy Stock Photo
Luca Marchiori

Within Siena’s stone walls, you’ll find a feast of Tuscan restaurants, ranging from traditional Italian osterie to contemporary Japanese fusion joints – some even offer views over the Piazza del Campo and Torre del Mangia.

For eight days a year, Siena is home to Il Palio, a Medieval horse race in which the city’s 17 districts (or contrade) compete to win a colourful banner. For the rest of the year, it’s an imposing hill town with Etruscan roots, dominated by one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Italy. Whenever you visit, take advantage of the Tuscan restaurants on offer – including some of the best in the region.

Antica Osteria da Divo

Antica Osteria da Divo can lay claim to being one of the oldest restaurants in Siena – it’s located in a stone house that dates back to Etruscan times. But in contrast to its setting, the menu presents a contemporary take on Tuscan dishes. Squid stuffed with mortadella sausage is the ultimate in surf‘n’turf, while modern ingredients tussle with tradition in the pappardelle with goat, juniper and macadamia ragù.

Tar-tufo

The view of Siena from Tar-tufo might look like a film set, but there’s nothing superficial about this restaurant. Sustainable ingredients are front and centre, and the menu changes according to the season, but the restaurant’s namesake is always dish of the day: the local truffle. Exotic ingredients, such as Persian blue salt, rub shoulders with Italian classics. Sea bream, cinta senese pork and chianina beef are frequent visitors to the menu, topped, of course, by truffle slivers.

Chianti & Pizza di Mister Pizza

Mister Pizza is a musician turned pizzaiolo who has been known to attach his CDs to his bottles of wine as gifts. He also makes a groovy pizza, one of the best-loved in Siena. You’ll catch him singing away as he slips it in the oven; if you’re lucky, he’ll perform a set with his guitar. Almost anything you like can be added as a topping and he’s very accommodating to vegetarians and vegans. Great food if you are on a budget.

Campo Cedro

A unique fusion of Japanese and Tuscan flavours awaits at Campo Cedro, ably put together by chef Kohsuke Sugihara. This is mirrored in its clean-cut, minimalist furniture, topped off by a brick barrel vault. Fish dishes abound as Italian ingredients are whipped into Japanese shape. The bass with lard, spinach and lemon sauce, as well as the pork with miso, escarole and spicy ‘nduja are particularly notable.

Il Bandierino

If you want to eat in the shadow of the Torre del Mangia — which incidentally means “Tower of the Eater” — then Il Bandierino is for you. Although located right on the Piazza del Campo, it’s neither overly touristy nor expensive. The food is Tuscan with a Roman twist, and there’s a large selection of mixed salads and ciaccini (stuffed Tuscan flatbread). The three best things about this place though? Location, location, location.

L’Ozio dei Frati

A small restaurant tucked up an even smaller sidestreet, just a few steps from the Piazza del Campo. Diners come here for the cosy, family-friendly atmosphere, and if you’re lucky, you’ll be seated in the romantic underground grotto. The pork tagliata, served with leek, roast potatoes and sweet and sour onions will have you coming back for more. On top of this, they arguably do the best tiramisu in the city.

Osteria degli Svitati

With its cute, cherub-with-a-corkscrew logo painted on the windows, Osteria degli Svitati is every inch the typical Sienese trattoria. Very close to the house of Saint Catherine, one of Italy’s two patron saints, you’ll enjoy the soundtrack of cathedral bells. The anchovies with parsley, tarragon and boiled potatoes are extraordinary, and it’s one of the best places to try Tuscan aglione, a garlicky tomato sauce served with pasta or gnocchi. Desserts include traditional Tuscan pastries – almond ricciarelli, fruit and nut panforte, biscotti – all served with a glass of sweet vin santo.

If these restaurants aren’t reason enough, discover why else you should visit Siena. Why not continue your trip up to Florence, where the culinary delights continue, on top of a host of activities. Stay in one of the best boutique hotels in the city, or relax in these luxury places to stay, now bookable via Culture Trip.

This is a rewrite of an article originally by Graziano Scaldaferri.

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