Montepulciano (Italy) - Some Places to Eat

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Lightbox (122) Tags: alcoholic-drinks   europe   food   italy   montepulciano   restaurants   traditional-cuisine   tuscany Posted: Feb. 3, 2011 by Bysilot

As a small town, Montepulciano does a good job with feeding crowds of tourist invading the place. In this installment of my notes about Montepulciano, I want to describe some options available to visitors looking for places to eat and drink in this town. To do that, I invented my own scheme to group places to eat you can find in Montepulciano.

1. Fine Dining

Fine dining is at premium in Montepulciano, both, literally and figuratively. Indeed, such places are more expensive (however, still affordable), and there are few of them. I am aware of only two:

La Grotta is located across the street from Chiesa di S. Biagio - outside the walled part of Montepulciano. It is mentioned in Via Michelin and Michelin Green Guide Italy travel as one of good places to eat in Montepulciano. It offers a traditional Tuscan cuisine. This restaurant is rather expensive.

Le Logge del Vignola is not far from the old town center. The restaurant specializes in authentic Tuscan dishes with a touch of modern creativity. It is listed in the Michelin Red Travel Italia. The service is friendly and efficient but without being annoying. Although both, La Grotta and Le Logge del Vignola, offer excellent food prepared from top quality ingredients and good wine lists, the latter has clearly an edge in almost everything. I consider Le Logge del Vignola the best restaurant in Montepulciano.

2. Regular Lunch and Dinner

In this category I placed all restaurants where you can find decent food at good prices. At the top in this group are

  • Trattoria A Gambe di Gatto (Via dell'Opio nel Corso, 34) (A Gambe di Gatto on map). Trattoria A Gambe di Gatto is a small family run place with good food and good prices. If you come across this place and want to eat, do not hesitate - you will not be disappointed.
  • Ristorante La Briciola (Via delle Cantine, 23) (La Briciola on map). Although rather popular among locals and tourists, La Briciola seems to be more pretentious than any other place in this group.
  • Trattoria di Cagnano (via dell'Opio nel Corso 30) (Trattoria di Cagnano on map). This place is often recommended to tourists as a good place to eat in Montepulciano. While you can certainly feed yourself there,Trattoria di Cagnano is very far from the place to enjoy the best Tuscany can offer.
  • Ristorante Pozzo di Pulcinella (piazza Michelozzo, 7) (Pozzo di Pulcinella on map). This restaurant usually does not enjoy good reviews. There are two reasons I mention it here: (1) they offer good pizza at any time of the day and (2) they may be open when many other places in Montepulciano are closed.

3. Cafes and Bars

Obviously, you can find many places in this category in Montepulciano - almost undistinguishable from each other. However, Café Poliziano (via di Voltaia nel Corso, 27) (Café Poliziano on map) is a place... well, let me put it this way: if you are in London, you would not pay much attention to something like this. But in Montepulciano, it is a phenomenon, at least as far as its decor is concerned. Unfortunately, the service is often not at the level of the ambient this café offers. I can say the same about the overall value of the place. Still, if you are an explorer, why not to try?

4. Special Interest

I created this category just because of one place I did not know what to do with: Osteria Acquacheta (via del Teatro, 22) (Osteria Acquacheta on map). The problem with this place is that you will either love it or hate it. The first thing to tell is this osteria certainly has reasonable prices and a cute rustic atmosphere. It is that atmosphere that can be a problem. If you like a simple place with shabby furniture, tight spaces, house wine and big pieces of good (it's true) meat - that's the place for you. But if you are not up to the exotics and rules of the place - be warned!

5. Other Places

As everywhere, restaurants and cafes are not the only place where you can eat (or drink) in Montepulciano. The most popular alternative comes with small food shops where you can often buy a sandwich (panino) and drink a glass (or more) of wine. There many places like this in Montepulciano. I would like to mention only two I like:

  • Cantina Contucci (via del Teatro, 1) (Cantina Contucci on map) - not exactly a place to eat, but to drink for sure. Since Montepulciano is in the center of one of the largest wine producing areas in Italy, tasting wine is almost a must for visitors. So, do yourself a favor and visit wine cellar Contucci located in the very center of Montepulciano. Among other things, enjoy listening and talking to Adam Pallecchi, Contucci's most valued and trusted cellarman - in my view a true philosopher and the connoisseur of life.
  • Fattoria Pulcino (via di Gracciano nel Corso, 96) (Fattoria Pulcino (outlet) on map) - actually, this is not exactly a fattoria (which means a small farm) but rather its outlet in Montepulciano. And who knows - maybe after visiting this shop with excellent choice of various Tuscan foods, you will decide to visit the fattoria itself!

Below is a small photo gallery that can give you better ideas about places I mentioned above and atmosphere and setup they offer.

Explore piazza Grande and its surroundings. Not a surprise, you will find a lot of places to eat like this Merenderia bar.

Le Rime - enoteca, gelateria and pasticceria. It is located off the bitten path on via delle Farine not far from Porta delle Farine in the southeast end of the town.

Ristorante Ai Quattro Venti (At Four Winds) is located on piazza Grande (Montepulciano, Italy). The name is not accidental - it seems like the spot where the restaurant is located is an epicenter of sometimes strong winds that blow on piazza Grande.

Inside Ristorante Ai Quattro Venti (At Four Winds - Montepulciano, Italy). It is not the best in town but certainly is a good place to eat.

Osteria del Borgo on via Ricci, 7 is next to Palazzo Ricci (Montepulciano, Italy). In addition to food, the place offers rooms and apartments with prices from €150 to €250/night.

This terrace with excellent panoramic views on Tuscan landscape belongs to Osteria del Borg (Montepulciano, Italy). Most tourists are very happy with both, accommodations and food.

Place2B Degusteria on via di San Donato - I have never tried this place just few steps away from the main square in Montepulciano, Italy. But it looks good and inviting - perhaps worth to visit.

Another bar - Bar Podernovo - on via San Donato in the proximity of piazza Grande and Palazzo Comunale.

Osteria Acquacheta, Via del Teatro 22, Montepulciano, Italy. Your experience in this restaurant can be fun (shared tables and fast pace), but for many something not to repeat.

Osteria Acquacheta at night. The restaurant is small and noisy. Their specialty is meat (Fiorentina); otherwise the food is good but nothing exceptional. Reservations are recommended.

Ristorante La Grotta (Via di San Biagio, 15). This restaurant is located across the street from chiesa di S. Biagio. It is geared towards the fine dining and priced accordingly. Many locals consider it the best restaurant in Montepulciano. Whether it is true or not, the place is good (both food and service) and worth trying.

Restaurant Pozzo di Pulcinella on piazza Michelozzo - the same square where Church of St. Augustine (Montepulciano, Italy) is located. This is a restaurant with low prices.

Piazza Michelozzo and the restaurant Pozzo di Pulcinella at daytime.

Inside the restaurant Pozzo di Pulcinella (Piazza Michelozzo 7, Montepulciano, Italy)

Entrance to Ristorante Il Cantuccio (Via delle Cantine 1, Montepulciano, Italy) is under this arch.

Ristorante Il Cantuccio (Montepulciano, Italy) - this restaurant is on the usual tourist path.

Inside Ristorante Il Cantuccio (Montepulciano, Italy) - reviews are not good.

Another arch on via di Gracciano nel Corso (Montepulciano, Italy) and another restaurant: La Briciola Pub di Marconi R. (via delle Cantine, 23)

La Briciola is much more popular among locals and tourists than its neighbor, restaurant Il Cantuccio.

La Bottega del Nobile on via di Gracciano nel Corso (Montepulciano, Italy) is the place to buy Nobile di Montepulciano wine.

Fattoria Pulcino (center, fattoria means small farm) and trattoria Diva e Maceo (right) on via di Gracciano nel Corso, 92 (Montepulciano, Italy). Both offer typical Tuscan food.

Inside the Fattoria Pulcino store in Montepulciano (Italy).

We are almost at the very end of via di Gracciano nel Corso - you can see the gate (Porta al Prato, the work of Sangallo il Vecchio, 16th century) through the external town wall. On the right side of the phot is restaurant and enoteca (wine shop) Porta di Bacco. Both are worth trying.

Trattoria di Cagnano (via dell'Opio nel Corso 30, Montepulciano, Italy). Together with food they offer rooms.

Inside Trattoria di Cagnano (Montepulciano, Italy)

Inside Trattoria di Cagnano - this place is rather popular among tourists. I say it is OK but nothing extraordinary.

Caffe Poliziano on via di Voltaia nel Corso, 27 (Montepulciano, Italy)

Inside Café Poliziano (Montepulciano, Italy). The Caffé Poliziano is an antic Liberty Café opened in 1868 and reopened in 1992. The eclectic decor of this café and restaurant is unusual for the medieval Tuscan town - the interior is a classic late 19th century reproduction typical for big Italian cities such as Rome, Naples, Palermo.

Inside Café Poliziano (Montepulciano, Italy) - dolci on display. But if you are hungry, you can have the whole lunch or dinner.

Inside Café Poliziano (Montepulciano, Italy) - if you are lucky, you may have this rather romantic table with wonderful views on Tuscan countryside.

Insdie Le Logge del Vignola (Via delle Erbe, 6, Montepulciano, Italy). I consider it the best restaurant in Montepulciano. It is listed in the Michelin Red Travel Italia.

Le Logge del Vignola has excellent wine cellar (including this excellent Capogiovanni 2001 Brunello di Montalcino). It specializes in traditional Tuscan recipes adding occasionally new taste, using local suppliers.

Cantina Contucci Via del Teatro 1 (Montepulciano, Italy). All the wines produced by the Contucci estate are matured here.

Contucci cellars are visited daily by many tourists. Here you can taste wines; guided tours are available with booking.

Cantina Contucci occupies three floors offering a interesting opportunity to see real wine cellars. Wine aging takes place in oak casks and in cement stainless steel vats (storage tanks). You can find here : Vino Nobile (classic, Pietra Rossa, Mulinvecchio, Riserva), Rosso di Montepulciano , Il Sansovino, Vin Santo and Bianco della Contessa.

About 60% of wine produced by Contucci is sold directly from the cellars. The rest is sold to hotels and restaurants and exported to many countries including Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Holland, Belgium, Sweden, Czech Republic, Poland, Japan and USA.

Part I: Montepulciano (Italy) - Coming to Town
Part II: Montepulciano (Italy) - Churches
Part III: Montepulciano (Italy) - Some Places to Eat

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