Restaurants in Lucca

I am always reluctant to recommend restaurants. I once sent a group of friends to one of my favorite restaurants in Lucca and they thought it was terrible. Checking the online reviews of another well-known restaurant listed here, the first five were:

“Authentic Tuscan food in beautiful restaurant.”
“Worst meal we had in Italy.”
“Overpriced and terrible!”
“This may be the best restaurant in Lucca.”
“Value for money!”

With that in mind, here are the restaurants I know and to which I would return.

 PREMIUM

Buca di Sant’Antonio     The oldest and most famous restaurant in Lucca. Great selection of roasted meats. Gets crowded.  Right in the center of town, near San Michele. Via della Cervia, 3  Tel:  0583-55881  www.bucadisantantonio.it

Ristorante Giglio     Elegant, excellent food, outside dining.  Opposite the opera house, right off Piazza  Napoleone.  Piazza del Giglio, 2   Tel:  0583-494058     www.ristorantegiglio.com

Ristorante “All’Olivo”     Specializing in fish.  Classy interior, large sheltered outdoor dining.  Center of  town, near the clock tower.  Piazza San Quirico, 1     Tel:  0583-496264     www.ristoranteolivo.it

Antica Locanda dell’Angelo     “Since 1474”   Main ground floor dining room and a subterranean room, some outdoor tables.  Generally excellent food.  Center of town, close to San Michele and San Giusto.   Via Pescheria, 21 Tel: 0583-467711        www.locandadellangelo.it

Puccini     Good menu, erratic reviews. Can be charming. Center of town, opposite Puccini’s house, a few steps from San Michele.  Corte San Lorenzo, 1   Tel: 0583 316676   

MODERATE

Locanda di Bacco     Opened several years ago in Palazzo Orsucci.  Comfortable atmosphere, good food. Traditional Lucchese and Tuscan.  Via San Giorgio, 36   Tel: 0583-493136      

Ristorante Ammodonostro     New owners took over a couple of years ago and transformed what was one of the worst restuarants in Lucca into one of the best. Comfortable, friendly, with patio dining. Carefully prepared food. Gluten free.  East side of medieval town, between San Pietro Somaldi and San Francesco.  Via della Fratta 22   Tel:  0583-953828       www.ristoranteammodonostro.it

Da Giulio        Famous, traditional, friendly–don’t miss. The menu hasn’t changed in 25 years; why should it? If you like tartara di cavallo (raw horse meat) this is the place to get it.  Always my first stop in Lucca. Northwest corner of city. Via delle Conce, 45 Tel:  0583-55948

Trattoria Da Leo      One of the most popular restaurants in town, generally very busy. I’ve eaten well here many times.  It can be too popular; it’s better in the off-season, when less hectic. Near San Michele, in the center of town.      Via Tegrimi, 1 Tel: 0583-492236   www.trattoriadaleo.it

Vecchia Trattoria Buralli      One of my favorite restaurants, but opinions vary.  Quiet rear room, busier front rooms, outdoor tables.    Piazza Sant’Agostino, 10     Tel: 0583-950611     www.vecchiatrattoriaburalli.it

Ristorante Canuleia     Nice restaurant with outdoor dining in a pleasant garden. Gluten free pasta upon request.  I’ve eaten very well here.  Just southeast of the amphitheatre.  Via Canuleia, 14  Tel. 0583 467470     www.ristorantecanuleia.it/  

Antico Caffè Di Simo     In a category by itself. It remains unchanged since Puccini hung out here.  A good place for morning coffee and pastry or a buffet lunch, but especially afternoon tea. The hot chocolate is famous.  Via Fillungo, 58    Tel:  0583 48040   

Osteria Via S.Giorgio     Typical Lucchese fare.  Outdoor seating. Good reviews, even from Italians. Just west of Via Fillungo.  Via S.Giorgio 26     Tel. 0583 953233    

Gli Orti di Via Elisa     Plenty of pleasant space, good menu, outdoor dining.  Wood oven pizza. Very popular with Italians.   East side of town, between Porta Elisa and the medieval gate.   Via Elisa, 17    Tel:  0583-491241       www.ristorantegliorti.it         

 TRATTORIE, PIZZERIE

Rusticanella 2     Friendly, busy, efficient.  Much more than a pizzeria.  One of my staples for years.  Via San Paolino, 32     Tel: 0583-55383     trattoriarusticanella2.com

Bella ‘Mbriana     Pizza, wood oven, typical Sorrento, everyone likes it. North side of town, near the front of San Frediano.  Via della Cavallerizza, 29      Tel: 0583-495565

L’Antico Sigillo      Basic, efficient, dependable, pleasant, reasonable.  I’ve had satisfying lunches here many times, sticking to the basics:  tortelli lucchesi, zuppa di farro, salsiccia e fagioli, rosticciana.   Via degli Angeli, 13   Tel:  0583-91042         www.anticosigillo.it            

Pizzeria Sbragia     My favorite pizza place on earth.  Blazing hot wood oven. The staff are masters of efficiency. Throngs of people; it gets hectic. I can survive on their salami piccante. The wine is good, cheap, and you can buy a bottle to take home.   Via Fillungo, 146    Tel:  0583-492641

OUTSIDE THE WALLS

It is generally agreed that the best restaurants are the small ones hidden in the hills.  It is almost impossible to give directions to them.  But if you have a car, and get off the beaten path, you can make some wonderful discoveries. The following two are larger, easy to find,  and justifiably famous.

Al Covo     Specializing in fish.  Excellent.   About 30 minutes east of town in Capannori.  Via Pesciatina, 761   Tel: 0583-975853        

Antica Locanda di Sesto     Trattoria since 1368.   Traditional Lucchese food, game specialties.  About 30 minutes north of town, towards the Garfagnana, in Sesto di Moriano.  Via Lodovica, 1600   Tel: (0583) 578181   

Click on the little link under the map to see it full size with the list of restaurants. 

 

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