**Update on 4/10/2023: Current guest favourites are Il Fornacino, Santorotto and La Toraia, all within 5-8 minutes drive** Osmosi, a special spot on the way to Montepulciano [10 minutes away] is excellent, but you must reserve [by yourself] if you wish to eat there**
There are several excellent places to dine at night, within 10 minutes of the house, which is great for those arriving late-ish or if not keen on driving in the dark. For Lunch out, most tend to aim for places further afield, that work with their days’ adventures. If willing to travel about 20 minutes or more, there are many excellent restaurants to recommend. Dining times are pretty rigid – you can’t get lunch later than 3PM or eat earlier than 7:30PM as a rule – but quality is excellent, and prices are still very good around these parts.
La Toraia The Bull House Steak House at Tenuta La Fratta is just 1 minute away by car Simple but stylish steakhouse with atmosphere. Right on the ranch – set within the immensely significant bull house – where the first stud book for the Chianina white Oxon breed was held. Good pastas, great organic grass fed beef – and excellent cured meats. Good / well priced wine list. Principally for carnivores but one excellent vegetarian dish the ‘Tempo’ burger – as well as a couple of good local style non meaty pastas. We recommend an early table on weekend nights (from 7.30 pm) as from 8.30 – 9pm the place is packed with regular local diners slowing the service somewhat. Lunch is served weekends only 12.30-15.00* Dinner 19.30-22.30 *Book on The Fork [yourself] and get % off* We recommend : avoid the Tagliata cut steak which can be less tender. Despite being only a minute by car allow at least 25 minutes for the walk if eating in daylight [and go with very sensible shoes] do not consider night time walking, there is no lighting, no footpath, and local motorists do not expect to find pedestrians along this route at any time of day…
I Due Apostoli *Currently closed for refurbishment* The Two Apostles farm restaurant 1 minute away also within the territory of the La Fratta Ranch. Ex farm workers’ canteen a cavernous interior that’s cool year round (bring a light sweater for Spring and Autumn dining) serving pizza, pastas, and again the excellent La Fratta beef along with excellent roasted meats and some super pastas. Open from Weds/Thursday through Sunday depending upon the time of year. We recommend : this is a super lunch spot for families – or anyone who loves to get close to farm animals.
Il Brigante Gentiluomo The Gentleman Brigand Pizzeria and Trattoria is 2 minutes away from the house, on the road towards Torrita, Pienza, Montepulciano. Inexpensive set lunch menu, Pizza and other dishes in the evenings. Service can vary unfortunately somewhat depending on levels of staffing and diners but the owning family are really lovely. Closed Monday evenings only. Lunch 12-2, Dinner 7-11 We recommend: you must tell them you come from Siena House to guarantee better than ‘tourist quality’ service – this is true for most places mind you.
L’Enoteca *Currently closed for refurbishment* The Wine Bar at the Locanda Amorosa, at 2 minutes away (definitely not walkable, not even at lunchtime). Amorosa is a long established hotel with 2 restaurants including the wine bar where food is served until 19.30. Prices are not low but the quality is high both in terms of kitchen and service. Location is splendid : glamorous Tuscany at it’s best. We recommend: The cheese selection is superb, a cheese board plus a good glass of red under the cherry tree.
A little further away but still very local…
Il Forcillo The Fork trattoria in Sinalunga, 7 minutes away by car is the place to head to if you are looking for the real Italian family run trattoria feel. Extensive menu, not much English spoken, Aunties and Grandmas take care of front of house whilst sons and uncles cook. Super atmosphere – a favourite with the locals, good prices and service. Advance booking essential all week. Park on street outside (avoid the yellow painted spaces) or closer to the train station at the bottom of the hill (self explanatory once you’re there) Open Tuesday through Saturday. We recommend: Don’t arrive earlier than 8pm “unless you are planning to watch the water boil”
Ristorante Walter Redaelli at Bettolle, 12 minutes away by car. Modern Tuscan cuisine showcasing highest quality ingredients elaborated by our very down to earth local celebrity chef Walter Redaelli. Great food, super service and an award winning wine list. Outdoor dining or very comfortable interior. Open Tuesday through Sunday, Lunch 12-2.30, Dinner 7.30-9.30 We recommend: Walter pays close attention to all details and we consider this place pretty flawless. Deserts are a very strong point however in the sense that arguably in Tuscany dessert choices are somewhat limited in general – and many places don’t offer a really great desserts – whilst at Walter’s the desserts are as good as the rest of the menu.
Le Macine The Mill Stones Pizzeria in Torrita di Siena, 12 minutes away by car, hidden away behind another property, the Hotel Rottelle and easy to miss. Pizza plus other Tuscan dishes available. Friendly and informal, cosy interior with vaulted ceilings typical for the area. Pizza is recommended, thin and crispy and baked in a wood oven as it should be, fun to watch the Pizzaiolo pizza chef preparing and cooking the pizza. This place is high up overlooking the valley so long long views to be had if dining on the pretty terrace in daylight. Closed on Wednesdays, pizza evenings only. We recommend: Go for Pizza. Avoid it on Friday and Saturday evenings unless going early. Always tell the staff you came from here as otherwise you might get ‘tourist quality’ service.
Pizzeria Paradiso *Now Vegan* Paradise Pizzeria in Trequanda, 10 minutes away. Our daughter’s absolute favourite pizza but also excellent ice cream made in house. Immensely popular and very very busy on Friday Saturday and Sunday nights all Summer long as it’s right en route from the coast for the Italians returning from seaside weekends. We recommend: Get there by 8 for brisk service. Dining outside is nice in the Summer but take a mosquito repellent or go covered… be ready for a lively atmosphere with a lot of children having fun!
20-30 minutes away from the house but ideal for lunch whilst out exploring…
- La Bandita Town House Caffe, Pienza (image above) Malvin always describes this place as ‘New York meets Tuscany’ and it’s a firm favourite of ours. Modern Dining, open kitchen, commitment to fantastic ingredients and big personality.
- Buca Delle Fate, Pienza. Go for Gnocchi and Pici, with wild boar ragu or porcini mushrooms. Very Italian family run and very busy always, menu unchanged for over 30 years and Amanda’s favourite place for pasta.
- Osteria l’Aquachetta, Montepulciano. Steak and some interesting old style vegetable dishes from once upon a time. Very informal long table dining that we are assured by the boss is the ‘true Tuscan style’. Two seatings around 7 and 9 pm.
- La Grotta, Montepulciano. High end Tuscan cuisine next door to San Biagio, great location good food easy parking.
- La Porta, Montichiello. This is another charming town to explore in conjunction with dinner and La Porta is a restaurant with good reputation locally.
- Zenzero, Lucignano. A more substantial town to wander, Lucignano also has a superb gelateria so maybe skip dessert and go seek it out…
Do you need to book ahead for restaurants in our area? – yes and no… Good restaurants fill up ! if you’re very sure you want to eat at Forcillo or Toraia on a Friday night for example, these places fill up with ‘local’ diners (in truth people are driving from over half an hour away to eat at the Toraia). Places where you can eat outside – such as Relais La Leopoldina or La Grotta will tend to have space on fine evenings (inside) if you have not booked early, but in case of cool / wet weather will not. We advise our guests to make the decision in the morning for evening meals on weekends. Sunday Lunch is also immensely important in Italy and so must be booked ahead – probably by Saturday am. Some places – such as La Bandita Townhouse should always be booked. La Bandita Townhouse Cafe in Pienza is in the pretty town centre of Pienza which is always popular in the Summer and can be very busy on weekends. We advise guests heading out to Pienza in the morning to decide right away if they want to dine at the Townhouse Cafe, taking a peek at the menu and the place as they pass on their way into town, booking right then and there if interested. As town gets busy so do the restaurants. Whilst there are many good places to eat in Pienza we personally love the Bandita Townhouse Cafe and La Buca Delle Fate. In recent months guests have been really enjoying the Terrazza Val D’Orcia and the restaurant at the hotel Il Chiostro, both the latter having super views. Always tell the restaurants that you are staying at Siena House as this makes you ‘local’ and deserving of the very best treatment.
WORD OF MOUTH Siena House is in a non touristy immediate area where you can dine in excellent restaurants at good prices and eat in a room full of local diners.