Restaurants, Food & Wine

EATING OUT. Where do I want to go?

There are so many great ristorante’s, trattoria’s and pizzeria’s to eat in the Lucca area to suit everyone’s taste and budget. We are a foodie family, so would also love to hear your discoveries. There are so many wonderful places serving fantastic local & seasonal food but last year I thought that some of my favourite places were in the humblest places like Il Chiocciolo, Il Botteghino & Osteria di Valgiano. We have been fortunate to have eaten in some of the world’s best restaurants, often pressurised by our foodie children (even though they would deny it) but last year one of my favourite dining experience was having a pizza at Il Chiocciolo, a bustling white van man’s hub serving great simple food surrounded by smiling chatty locals… Sometimes the best things in life are not always the most expensive.

We would recommend drinking the house reds, they are generally all local & organic. Italians don’t usually tip as they see this as another tax (& they don’t like paying tax). However if you like to tip then please do. Buon Appetito

Aurelio Barattini’s porchetta

Our clear favourite is:

ANTICA LOCANDA: Situated on our side of the river, just before Ponte A Moriano. Via Ludovica, 1660, 55100, west side of Ponte a Moriano.

Tel: (0039) 0583 578181 Closed all Saturday & Monday lunch.

This is a family run trattoria, originating back to 1368. A trattoria traditionally is where tractor drivers ate, although now it rather more comfortable with better home-grown local Lucchese seasonal food. ‘When you have been on your travels it is always so nice to come home’ and returning to our favourite restaurant is like coming home. We have been eating here for over 20 years and love it.

This is a really fantastic restaurant, very simple and run by a very special family where the eldest son, Aurelio is the Head Chef and makes all the wines & olive oil too is perfection, Lambi is in charge of the service in the restaurant with his charming Mama, Raffaella, who also makes the desserts, chocolate and pasta. The menu is changed every season and is always Lucchese; you would never eat a carbonara here but instead you would have some wonderful local alternatives. The staff  and ambience are charming. For families with babies there is also a nice outdoor dining area

Maitre d’it Lamberto and Head chef, Aurelio Barattini. What a charming pair of brothers.

The food is excellent, one of our favourites in the world, seasonal & local – Lucchese; it’s famous for grilled meats, which chef Aurelio cooks on his wonderful olive wood fired grill. All the pasta’s, desserts etc are home made. The Vino & Olive oil are wonderful – why spend more – the vino rosso della casa is fantastic.

Pappa di Pomodoro is such a wonderful simple dish. In the Autumn it becomes heartier with more bread and is cooler and fresher in the summer. Try with a drizzle of Antica’s amazing olive oil

Chef, Aurelio has been cooking all over the world this year, recently in the Monaco F1, NY, Israel & California.

Delicious ravioli stuffed with aubergine and tossed with the sweetest cherry tomatoes from their farm, Maolina

One of the great pasta dishes served by the youngest son, Lamberto who is front of house with his mother Raphaela. This is one of the great pastas, Spaghetto pasta tossed with rendered down Cinta Senese pig cheek in a pan, then poured and mixed in a wheel of Pecorino – truly amazing.

Bistecca cooking over olive wood. We’ve never eaten better meat than here.

Head chef, Aurelio is famous for his beef tagliata

Aurelio’s mother Raffaella & nonna, Ida, who make the pasta & desserts

Home-made pasta with Cinta Senese pork sausage made by Aurelio’s mother.

Home-grown and home-made fig crostata.

Italian food at its simplest and best. Wonderful. If you find a better restaurant, we want to know where it is!! 11/10

BUTTERFLY. Michelin starred for over 20 years, run by a husband and wife team and only 10 – 15 mins from Casa a Corte, near the roundabout by Esse Lunga. As you would expect the food, mainly fish is superb although the environment is a bit chintzy for our taste It has a wonderful garden, so please don’t be put off by our person personal taste. Tel: (0039) 0583 307 573  SS.12 del Brennero, 192 Marlia, Lucca.

Very popular local pizzerias/ trattoria’s are…

Il Chiocciolo (the Snail) is immensely popular with the locals, especially the white van man. It is packed out every night. They do great pizzas, anti-pasti board, local seasonal food – Lots of locals eat there and during our last visit we had a wonderful pizza out with friends, probably our best meal out, including some of the wonderful restaurants we have. It’s a really busy evening haunt. tel: +39 0583 406285 Closed – Sunday, Saturday lunch.

Anti-pasti board

Sausage & mushroom pizza

It’s positioned on a corner in Saltocchio, 5 mins from Ponte a Moriano railway station, car park behind if no spaces in front.

All restaurants are child friendly!!

Another favourite, 10 mins beyond Il Chioccolo is Osteria di Valgiano which has a set menu with water & wine for €25/ person. It’s amazing value, great views (can sit outside in the summer). Once again you have to book, PLUS also confirm your booking on the day or the day before (boring but essential!). You don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy good food. Definitely worth a 20-25 mins drive Closed Monday. Tel: +39 327 594 0281 via di mezzo 3, Valgiano, 55100 Lu.


Valgiano is a beautiful 30mins drive east of A Corte.

View over Lucca to sea at Viareggio

Anti pasti – Osteria Valgiano

Mushroom salad antipasti, Osteria Valgiano

Friday Fish anti pasti

Friday fish – secondi, frito misto at Osteria Valgiano

DA PINZO): Via Nazionale, 1207 – Ponte a Moriano (Ponte A Moriano Square) is a bit soul-less, over lit but very practical & cooks a good pizza. This is a locals hangout serving good home cooking at a cheap price although not as popular since 2020. The family owners don’t appear to enjoy the restaurant business so much any more. It serves excellent pizzas baked in a wood oven, local Tuscan dishes as well as take-aways, plus it has a daily menu board. It is not a romantic old fashioned trattoria as it is very brightly lit (Italian’s love a BRIGHT restaurant!), but very popular with all the locals and also other villa rental guests. Tel: 0583 577 760. Closed Wednesday. Take aways including pizzas. Emma, the owner is from Mastiano and so the lovely red wine & olive oil is all from their land.

Bianca pizza – procuitto with marscapone cream. It is fantastic, you can have a version with a tomato base & also cooked prosciutto (cotto) but i prefer it raw cured ham (crudo).

ERASMO:  On the other side of the river. Via Nazionale, 1782 Ponte A Moriano, Tel: 0583 406362. This restaurant is one of the oldest restaurants in the area, dating back to 1760. It is a very simple and traditional with a lovely spacious garden on the river to eat on during the summer months. It does very nice anti-pasti & nettle pasta. Main courses are very average. Closed Mon. Park 30m behind restaurant.

IL BOTTEGHINO: This is a simple restaurant with no written menu but serves wonderful pasta and one of our favourites. The waitress recites the daily dishes (very quickly). Anti-pasti is good, pasta is wonderful – maccheroni ai fungi (this mushroom pasta is one of the best you will eat in the area!!), tordelli a ragu (Lucchese speciality), piccante (spicy) – and in season there is a seasonal vegetable soup – we often ask for a selection of pasta to share. For main course the rare roast beef is a real winner, served pink, finely sliced with a drizzle of olive oil. There is often a fish dish, probably Baccala (salt cod), fried meats – chicken, rabbit, maybe tripe & bistecca /and a very good beef tagliata steak at a cheap price. Great selection of pecorino (ewe’s milk) cheese.

Although their beef tagliata will never compete with Antica Locanda, at a third of the price it is pretty good.

Closed on Tuesdays. Via di Matraia 1505, San Pancrazio 55100.  Tel: 0583 406 406

Sausage pasta at Il Botteghino

Il Botteghino, beef tagliata

Tordelli, local pasta from Lucca, veal & pork mince in a ravioli; it is delicious. I think this osteria makes the best pasta. There macheroni di boschiola (mushroom from the woodland pasta is amazing and always on the menu).
Cacciucco di Livornese, translates as stew from Livorno, a large Tuscan port. It is similar to bouillabaisse, lots of fish, shell fish and tomato; it is only served on Friday evenings

In Ponte A Moriano we have a good fresh food & basic clothes market on Tuesday mornings, a superb Gelateria, called Sauro’s Gelateria on the river (wonderful ice cream open until 23.00). This is also a lovely place to have an aperitivo on the balcony. Their ice creams are the best in the area. What is so good is the ageless, classless society. You can also buy a box to put in our (outside) freezer. During our last visit we also had lots of cocktails including a wonderful Pinacola made with fresh coconut ice cream. I know this sounds very 70’s but they were delicious.

On the other side of the road to the Gelateria is an excellent Butcher – Fabrizio and son Georgio, who speaks a little English (learned from WWF wrestling & rugby) – they do wonderful prepared meat and pasta sauces, DIY shop (Maurizio speaks superb English), Pharmacist, Green Grocers, Cafes etc.

Just passed the square on the right hand side is a Gastronomia Antichi Sapori, a deli that serves daily dishes to take-away. Tel: 0583 579 296, Open Mon – Fri 08.00 – 14.00 / 16.30 – 19.30, Saturday 08.00 – 16.30, Sunday 09.30 – 13.30 It is also now open in the evening Tuesday – Saturday

Basically all the working locals go there for lunch and now it is open in the evenings Tuesday – Saturday for anyone to eat in or on their terrace. It is very relaxed, paper plates but their food is very good.

Anti-pasti served at dinner

Anti-pasti – Baccala mayo, fried baccala with pickled veg.

Anti-pasti – seafood, and seafood spicy rice. They also cook some wonderful pastas followed by frito misto.

We absolutely love this place, restaurant quality cooking to eat at home without getting your fingers dirty. Alessandro & son Lorenzo cooks fantastic pasta sauces, lasagnes, sliced meats – superb rare beef, meat, fish dishes – baccala & frito mist etc on Friday whilst girl friend, Romena serves behind the counter. If you are going to re-heat it in the oven at home ie lasagne, ask for it in a tin-foil dish as opposed to a a plastic one – al forno (oven), then you do not need to transfer it. To see what else is on offer look through the little window behind the counter  – Alessandro is a lovely chubby character & loves to please.
Friday is very fish orientated. My wife’s favourite is his Roast Beef Sirloin with a drizzle of meat jus. He will also cook anything you would like, just ask.

Aubergine parmigiana take-away to eat at home

Chef Alessandro, his girlfriend Romena works behind the counter.


Tordelli, the local Lucchese pasta, heavy and full of meat with a ragu sauce re-heated at home.

Wonderful fresh seasonal produce in the Tuesday morning market.

SUPERMARKET, ESSELUNGA, which you probably passed on the roundabout on the way to the house, near Ponte a Moriano is a really good supermarket. It is open 7 days a week, 08.00 – 21.00, 09.00 – 20.00 on Sunday.You will need a Euro 1 coin for the trolley. Esselunga is on the East side of the new bridge over the river towards Marlia, 1.5km along the river, south of Ponte a Moriano.

Wonderful grocer with fresh vegetables and fruit, fresh daily cooked bread (& pastries) from our wonderful artisan baker using wood-fired oven, deli, local wine and general supplies in on the main road in ‘Ponte di Moriano di Sesto’. Why go to the supermarket when on holiday when you have wonderful local shops like this one?


Il Piazza del Giglio 2, Lucca Tel: (0039) 0583 494058 A true gem, excellent town traditional restaurant with excellent service – the food, especially risottos are wonderful, they cook some unusual dishes which are very good and also the grilled meat & fish; I feel the price is very fair although prices have recently increased. Book the lovely traditional room inside. Closed Tuesday evening & Wednesday lunch. The restaurant has 3 young chefs trained at Noma & Japan and won a Michelin * in 1999 It has a traditional & alternative menu. The service & cooks are wonderful with influences from Japan & Copenhagen. I believe they make the best risottos in the world!!

Pasta with porcini

Delicious parmigiana risotto with Chianti reduction. Il Giglio serves the best ever risottos.

Scallops with ginger & strawberry dust

Sweetbreads on parsnip puree & coffee – dining room (below)

L’IMBUTO, Lucca, Tuscany. If you only ate in one restaurant in the world I would recommend L’imbuto. This is really special, drawing inspiration from the Lucca Center of Contemporary Art in which it is located, a stunning location. The cuisine proposed by eccentric chef Cristiano Tomei is firmly rooted in traditional home cooking but so creative and complex that it provides museum-goers with a not-to-be-missed gastronomic experience. This is a wonderful addition to Lucca & Michelin starred in it’s first year 2015 +39 331 9308931 

Closed: Monday & Tuesday. Open: 7.30-9.30pm Wednesday – Sunday

GIGLIOLA is a tapas restaurant which is cool for a younger crowd and where you can eat outside. It is the younger sister of the Michelin *Ristorante Giglio. Tel: 0583 392818. Closed Tuesday lunch & diner & Wednesday diner

CANULUIA TRATTORIA, situated behind the amphitheatre – very good young chef who has a twist on his menu & charming wife who brilliantly runs the dining room also has a good garden. (+39) 0583 467470 Closed Monday

RISTORANTE OLIVIO, Lucca – one of the best restaurants in central Lucca (+39) 0583 496 264

OFFICIANA DEL GUSTO In the centre of Lucca, this has been recommend by local Lucchese foodies

BUCA DI S.ANTONIO  Via della Cervia 3, Lucca Tel: (0039) 0583 558 81 Well known, very good Tuscan restaurant, sister to the wonderful Ristorante Giglio.

BURALLI: Piazza S.Agostino 10, Lucca is another good restaurant with a more alternative menu. Tel: 0583 950 611

WINE BAR – Vinarkia della Pavona.

This is a very good wine bar on Via Fillungo 188, Lucca. Tel: 0583 152 5357. Open 18.00 – 1.00. Kitchen closed on Monday


CASINA DELLE ROSE: is situated under the huge aquaduct, on the south of Lucca – Via dell’Acquedotto, Sorbano del Giudice, Lucca. Tel: 0583 946 41.

The Padaletta {a big bowl of mussels and shell fish with bread tucked in the sides to absorb the broth} is the perfect dish for a hungry fish eater. Closed Monday & Saturday lunch.

A new discovery this year, with a wonderful garden is BAR TAMBELLINI Via di Sant’Alessio 1403, 55100, Lucca, Italy. Tel: 0583 342 077. Closed all Sunday, open for lunch Monday – Saturday, dinner on Friday & Saturday. The food is less meaty & fresher. It is situated 1km outside the walls of Lucca, our side of the bridge by Borgo Gianotti & approx 2km left (you would have turned right towards Camaoire when you drive towards our house)

VIPORE: Positioned in a lovely country location, a 25 minute beautiful drive away at Pieve Santo Stefano (west of Lucca). Tel: 0583 394 065. This restaurant had a good reputation in the 80’s but perhaps now the  lovely drive & views are more memorable than the food which is average at best altho’ the fried potatoes are delicious!

VIGNA ILARIA: Another restaurant near the Vipore, Via Per pieve S.Stefano 967/C S. Alessio. Tel: 0583 332 091 Closed Monday. We really enjoyed our meal on our first visit, although I was a bit suspicious the menu needed a 20 minute description by the Maitre d’it, as We felt the food should stand up for itself without the explanation. My ravioli parcels filled with Baccala looked good but didn’t really have much flavour.

Calamari mixed with lemon & olive oil, then cooked in the oven in a tiny jar and served in its container looked and tasted fantastic. So simple, all with the aid of a little twist.


Ilaria is an alternative type of restaurant to the typical traditional Tuscan trattorias & has a fresh approach to Italian cuisine. It has well sourced local ingredients such as modafinil online (only Tuscan native pig breed to avoid extinction). On our 2nd visit we were very disappointed. Once again, we had the 20 minute explanation, which was then followed by fairly tasteless food. It is always well reviewed on Trip Advisor, so perhaps it’s us!



TRATTORIA BUONAMICO: This restaurant was recommended to us by the lovely lady at Dalia Beach club is situated 2km inland from the beach, Via S.Andrea 27, Viareggio. Tel: 0584 943 266 This is a very well run trattoria with wonderful daily specials (lots of fish) and a perfect way to end the day after the beach. Excellent.


Strong, pungent tomatoey fish stew from the port of Livorno, Cacciucco, similar to the French Boullabaisse soup

Delicious light delicate tuna at Buonamico


Another family favourite. Superb & recommended fish restaurant on the port in Viareggio with daily changing menu. We really enjoy the hot & cold anti pasta, great pastas & Cacciucco – one of our favourite fish restaurants. Closed on Monday. Ask to sit in the room over looking the kitchen. Have a look at the huge supa-yachts designed outside in the port.

Tel. 0584 384065 |




Our neighbour designer Paul Smith’s favourite place to eat. You can eat outside or inside in the wine shop. It is not cheap but the quality is very good. Arrive early to avoid disappointment or book, as it is very popular with the Milanese. The restaurant really captures the arty Mediterranean atmosphere and is very trendy Tel: 0584 791 962 La Cantina dell’Enotecca Marcucci, Via Giuseppe Garibaldi, 40, 55045 Pietrsanta Closed Monday

Italian food is very simple, grilled tuna steaks or bistecca’s cooked over charcoal to perfection

LA PINETA – “ It looks like a beach shack but it has a Michelin star. The sea permeates Luciano Zazzeri’s fish dishes, served raw, or with a tomato sauce, or simply grilled or pan-fried.”
This is a wonderful restaurant, that will have to be booked in advance. The sea views are fantastic. 90 mins journey from A Corte. Sadly the former head chef and father Luciano has recently died but the restaurant is still wonderful.

Wonderful views (take your trunks & bikinis)

Baccala, 3 ways

We are very spoilt with Florence only an hours journey on the train, plus wonderful restaurants on the coast. If you want a once in a life time treat you could try chef Massimo Bottura’s 

or voted the best Trattoria in Italy This is based a short train from Bologna and is superb

Pan fried veal chop wrapped in Parma Ham served with a 36 months old parmesan cream sauce. It was wonderful!!


Buca Lapi is a wonderful trattoria 10 mins from Florence station and 10 mins walk from the centre. it is in a former wine cellar and is a wonderful traditional trattoria. 

Closed Lunch & all of  Sunday. Te: 0039 055 213768. Via del Trebbio, 1r, 50123 Firenze

For those who enjoy wine, I have to say we are extremely fortunate at A Corte, not only do we have a great wine shop, Lucca Vini on the bridge at Ponte a Moriano. They sell wonderful local wine €12.3 for 5 Litres (some friends prefer Sicilia to the Toscana) the as well as local olive oil, lemoncello & spirits. The charming owner is very helpful.
In Lucca, we have one of the best 2 wine shops in Italy Piazza S. Salvatore, 7, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy Tel: They have the most amazing cellars and wine is available to drink with a plate of food on their private terrace on the street. All the finest, Barolo, Sassicaia, Chiantis are available to be shipped all around the world.

Paolo washing his bottles in the marble fountain outside his Enoteca – you won’t find this in many places!!

TENUTA DI VALGIANO is 30 mins drive east and is a wonderful vineyard run by an English lady, Laura & her aristocratic Italian husband. Tours of the vineyard & tastings with food are extremely popular but have to be booked in advance

If you love Sassicaia, then drive to Bolgheri in southern Tuscany and have lunch in their wonderful vineyard

PRIVATE DINING: We have used a wonderful English speaking local Italian, Fabrizio who prepares the food at home and cooks it at Casa a Corte. He is very popular with guests cooking local season food. Many of the guests may be New Yorkers returning to Lucca where they were born, so not the easiest group but they loved his food.