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Dinner in Monetcatini near Tuscany

lgprice,

Glad you liked my itinerary. I will send more info tomorrow, ok?

Yes, take the train to Florence.Very easy. I spoke to a Italian who told me about train and it was best due to traffic. Great because all the other days we had to deal with parking. Nice to have a break. And we could have some wine with diner and make the 7 ish train back and enjoy life.You can buy your train ticket ahead at little tobacco places in Montecatini( our hotel told us about this) Do be sure to find the place we ate for lunch. It was just wonderful. Many Italians and the servers were super helpful and nice. Long lines form as it is so popular. We got there before tables opened at noon and waited . So we got a seat. A seat is a must if you are tired from walking all day.WE had a huge platter of hams , cheeses etc. Then the Market was a wonderful experience. You can pick and chose from many vendors and get just what you want from pizza to full bore meals of meat or pasta.

I arranged wine tour on line.( Castello di Gabbiano) Place is a bit hard to find, just so you know. But a wonderful experience and we liked not being at a place with huge bus loads of tourists.

More later

Feb 21, 2015
clarkgranny in Italy

Dinner in Monetcatini near Tuscany

I have a minute and just remembered a letter to a friend I wrote who helped me with my trip. He was born in Florence but lives now in the States. His 90 year old Mom still lives there and he goes back several times a year. I think the letter explains most of what we did each day in good detail:

"I wanted to give you some feedback on our trip to Italy on Thanksgiving Day. Everything went well and much of the reason was because of all your wonderful advise.

Arrived Friday at Milan airport about noon. Grabbed a bite at airport and got our rental car. Drove 4 hours south in pouring rain. Got parked by our hotel after a search (Montecatini crowded as a special Santa event was going on for whole weekend). Ate at another old hotel restaurant called La Pecore Nera , which was within walking distance to our hotel, Grand Hotel Plaza, a quaint old place. Perfectly acceptable lodging right on main square.

Our first full day, we drove to San Gimignano, a pretty town, and as you said an hour was about all we needed. Next we headed to Siena. After finally finding parking (the place I had directions for was closed for construction), we ate at a restaurant( Antica Osteria da Diva) that took a bit of finding. LOL. But it was very good (I had pasta with truffles.) Next was the “Gates of Heaven”. I could only book a tour in Italian as the English tour was only offered the day we arrived in Milan. But it was ok just to be up there. As you said, it was fascinating and wonderful to look down at the cathedral and see the views. We left Siena about 4 PM and had dinner back in Montecatini at Pellegrini’s Osteria Moderna. Just ok, but after a great lunch it was fine.

Oh I forgot to tell you that before our drive to Siena we had to get our car out of the parking lot near the train station. The darn machine wouldn’t take all of our money needed. We were stuck and no one was around on a Sat. at 7 AM except an old guy sweeping the streets. We asked him to help and with my limited Italian we finally got a paid ticket and got out 45 minutes later! Lost 15 extra euros too. Oh well.

Second day was Florence. We took the 7:15 AM train. Got there in plenty of time for our tickets to see the David at 9 AM. No line; so we had almost the whole place to ourselves. David was magnificent as was much of the rest of museum. Next Medici Palace; then a brief walk along river. A marathon with 9,000 runners was happening right in town , which was fun to watch too as I am a runner. Then lunch at your “Hole in Wall place, All’Antico Vinaio”. It was a great experience. We sat at a table inside (feet needed a rest) and had a board of cheeses and meats to die for. We let the waitress guide us. Such fun. Then several other museums and last off to the Central Market for wine and dinner at various booths. We were there for a few hours before our 7 PM train back to Montecatini. 12 hours of walking and I was pooped.

Third day was wine tour day. Beforehand I couldn’t arrange to go on wine tour as well as see the Machiavelli place. Logistics were off. So we skipped that but had an 11 AM tour at Castello di Gabbiano as you suggested. We were the only ones on tour and our guide had very good English. Enjoyed the tour and wine tasting very enlightening. We bought 6 bottles to bring home as carry on. Next was lunch at Rinuccio. It was such an extreme contrast between an old winery and a new. Wonderful lunch. We had a Florentine steak and a bottle of their wine. Great view as you said. We were supposed to then drive through Chianti country north to the restaurant where you said had the best steaks. But we knew in our hearts we couldn’t get there and drive back to Monetcatini late at night. Driving a bit stressful for us and if we had wine it would be impossible. That is why we had the Florentine steak at Rinuccio. So after lunch we headed back to Monetcatini for dinner( just pizza). We didn’t need much as we had steak left over from lunch.

Fourth day we drove to Pisa for a 9:45 reserved ticket to climb tower. I had heard there were long lines and it was wise to book ahead. But not many there at the time we went. Again as you said it was wonderful to finally see the structure in person and climbing the stairs was lots of fun too. We had taken a shuttle from the outside parking lot, but decided to walk back. Well somehow we got horribly lost. LOL. Luckily I had my GPS set for the parking lot and it guided us back after we realized we had gone amiss. But it was nice weather, so no problem. We drove next to Lucca. It was about 12:30 and we had 1PM lunch reservations at a place ( Da Giulio) a friend here on Shelter Island said to go to. He has a house not too far outside Lucca and knows the area well. We were the only non-Italians and had a wonderful meal with wonderful hospitality. I noticed two Italians were having a dessert that looked great so I asked to have it too. It was indeed great. I had them write down the name: Semifreddo Al Torrone Affogato Al Caffe. Yum! After stuffing ourselves with food and another bottle of wine we walked around the whole town on the wall. What a pretty city. The weather was balmy and we had a pleasant stroll. Next I bought some olive oil for gifts as I had read Lucca has the best in Italy. The kind we had at lunch was indeed very good. I know it was a horrible year for olive oil. Everywhere we went we heard the sorry story. It was so warm we had a coffee at an outdoor café around 4. We were sitting right on their main square and there was a carousel going around with little children and grandparents. Wonderful to watch. Dinner was back at Monetcatini( can't remember now where)

Fifth day was an early drive back to Milan. Got into town about 11:30 AM after taking train in). We went to another “Hole in the wall” place to have Milan specialty at Panzerotti Luini near the Duomo.. People lined up out the door for this fried sandwich. Cheap and ok. Fun for the experience. Then we saw the Duomo; then we visited the food store, Peck, and bought a few goodies to take home. The food displays were a feast for our eyes. Next we walked to a store named Schokolat that I had read about where chocolate is their specialty (I am a chocolate addict). We had gelato (chocolate and rum flavor- divine) and coffees. Next a walk to see “The Last Supper”. I had gotten our tickets ahead, which was good as it was packed. I think to see this artwork was the highlight of my trip. I am not particularly religious but seeing this in the flesh was really awesome, a much over used word. I couldn’t believe how it has survived even the bombing of WW2. We left there to go to a swish, in place ( Nerino Dieci Trattoria) where there were very few Americans and mostly young wealthy Milanese. Another great meal and a nice way to end our trip before heading home the next day. Took a taxi back to train station (our hotel for last night was way out by the airport).

Next day we had a 3 PM flight home. We just ate lunch at the airport (Sheraton) and it really was very good- a surprise. Hard to have a bad meal in Italy, I guess. I took pictures of most of our meals so I can remember. And I only gained a few pounds, which already are gone

All in all we ate and drank well, saw beautiful art and scenery and enjoyed ourselves immensely. Thanks you for all you help. It really made the trip much more rewarding.

Feb 20, 2015
clarkgranny in Italy
1

Dinner in Monetcatini near Tuscany

lgprice- I would love to tell you all but can't write a long post until the weekend. Sorry I have a big day of work today. But I will share everything with you. I can even send my itinerary with phone numbers etc. Not sure if we are allowed to share email here or not. Might be best way. Anyway, more on Saturday

Feb 20, 2015
clarkgranny in Italy

Where to eat lunch between Lucca area and Milan ?

Ok I finally am all set for our trip on Thanksgiving to Tuscany:

Friday: arrive at 12:00; will eat lunch after long flight in airport or at 2 local restaurants I found at TA; drive to Montecatini; reservations for dinner at La Pecora Nera a few minutes walk from our hotel

Sat: Drive early morning to San Gimignano for a quick walk tour; then drive to Siena for 12:00 lunch at Antica Osteria da Divo; we have special reserved tickets at the cathedral to see the "Gates of Heaven" a view at the top which just opened.After Siena we drive back in the late afternoon to Montecatini for dinner at Officina Marina or Pellegrini's Osteria

Sunday: 7:15 AM train to Florence. 9:00 paid tickets to see The David. Then after some site seeing lunch at All'Antico Vinaio ( my Tuscan friend Sandro calls it the "Hole in the Wall" LOL); more seeing sites, then dinner at the central market ; 7 PM train back to Montecatini

Monday: Wine tour at 11 AM at Castello di Gabbiano in Mercatele Val di Pesa; lunch at Rinuccio near Bargino( both recommended by Sandro); then drive slowly north of Florence through chianti area to Fiesole for 7:30 reservations at La Casa del Prosciutto for the "best florentine steak" according to Florence native Sandro; back to Montecatini

Tuesday: Drive to Pisa ;9:40 tour of Leaning Tower; then drive to Lucca. Lunch at Da Giulio on the advice of a friend who has a house in Lucca) ; dinner at Buca di Sant' Antonio; drive back to Montecatini

Wed: leave Monetcatini early; drive to Milan airport hotel. Check in; leave car there; take train to Milan; lunch at a quick place as only have the afternoon; site see with 16:45 reservations to the "Last Supper"; then dinner at Nerino Dieci Trattoria at 7:30PM; train back to airport hotel

Thursday: early lunch near airport; then ditch car at 1PM for 3PM flight home

Whew! I have been doing arrangements and reading reviews for weeks now. I hope I made the right choices; will report back on the food when I get back

Nov 18, 2014
clarkgranny in Italy

Siena for one day: lunch and dinner

We will be in Siena only one day after visiting San Gimignano in the early morning. We are driving from Montecatini where we will head back to after our day in Siena.

I am between these restaurants:

Antica Osteria da Divo( dinner?)
La Taverna (dinner ?)
Osteria Castlevecchio maybe lunch?

Lunch can be relaxed with a good bottle of wine. For dinner we don't want to drink too much or be very late as we have to drive back to Monetcatini. Then again we might just eat nearer Montecatini and leave Siena earlier to be able to enjoy dinner closer to hotel. Not sure. If we only do lunch, which would be the best choice?

Need to make reservations very soon as getting closer now.Ideas?

Nov 10, 2014
clarkgranny in Italy

Where to eat lunch between Lucca area and Milan ?

Thanks Jen. You are right. I didn't mean for touring advice. Just trying to figure out eating advice and which places are better to spend my time. But I will do more research and look on site.

Oct 28, 2014
clarkgranny in Italy

Where to eat lunch between Lucca area and Milan ?

Gosh, thanks for great advice. I really need to get on this whole reservation issue, but have been busy at work and we went away for part of weekend.

I have 4 days to drive around Tuscany. One will be to florence, and another to the chianti region. For the other two days I am not sure but think one will be Siena and maybe other Montepulciano. But not sure of these days as I have to read up on what it what.

So I am not sure if we will even have time to drive for lunch to any of the places you just mentioned. Maybe a dinner if we go lightly on the wine( Lol)

Oct 28, 2014
clarkgranny in Italy

Where to eat lunch between Lucca area and Milan ?

I will check it out. Tks. Since it is on the coast do you think much will be closed in late Nov /early Dec when we are there? Not much in my guide books.

Oct 28, 2014
clarkgranny in Italy

Dinner in Monetcatini near Tuscany

Thank you , I will check it out.

Oct 27, 2014
clarkgranny in Italy

Where to eat lunch between Lucca area and Milan ?

sigh, yes the airport is a drag. But it is what it is. Part of a great package deal. We will survive!

I think I want to see Brera until close to 4; then walk to Last Supper, then head over to Duomo since it is open until 7PM. I think that is all we can squeeze in in about 5 hours after lunch.

So maybe start at Latteria and then go to Brera and then other places.

For dinner, I just don't know. Maybe easier to take Metro back to our car and drive to il Gatto for dinner which you say is close to airport. Just afraid of getting lost. Alternatively we could drive back to hotel, check in, leave car and take taxi to someplace to eat.I have a strong feeling I will be leaving dinner up in the air until we get there.

Oct 24, 2014
clarkgranny in Italy

Where to eat lunch between Lucca area and Milan ?

Ok, I just reserved tickets for the Last Supper on Wed Dec 3 for 16:45.

This got me thinking that in order to be there 20 minutes ahead of time and in order to see anything else I believe we will drive straight from Montecatini on this day and as jen suggests skip going to the hotel by the airport and just drive straight to a outer parking lot and take metro in.

So i think I will have to pass on allende's suggestions. Sorry I bothered him . But as you start to narrow down priorities( like Last sUpper and seeing some of Milan), plans have to change

If we leave early( like 6 Am or 7), we should be in Milan for lunch, see sites and have dinner there too. Maybe Latteria for lunch and Trattoria Masualli for dinner( if it is in the general area of all the sites)?

Then we could collect car after dinner and drive to the hotel. We don't leave the next day until 3PM but realistically there isn't time to go into the city a second time to see stuff. Therefore we will need to see what we see on Wed afternoon. So on Thursday we will try to grab a early lunch somewhere around there( again maybe il Gatto if easy from our hotel and easy to get to airport from there. Will check this out later.

But if we are only eating 2 meals in Milan do you think these two are best( Latteria and Masualli)? We need everything to be within walking distance. We are very fit( I am a runner) so we can walk within a few miles for someplace great. I just don't want the hassle of lots of metro rides except the one to and from our parking area.

Oct 24, 2014
clarkgranny in Italy

Where to eat lunch between Lucca area and Milan ?

Thank you! See below for more detials

Oct 24, 2014
clarkgranny in Italy

Where to eat lunch between Lucca area and Milan ?

Thank you!

Oct 24, 2014
clarkgranny in Italy

Where to eat lunch between Lucca area and Milan ?

Thank you . I remember you were very helpful on our last trip to Italy.

I think allende is probably right that we should grab a quick bite at the airport and get on the main highway as soon as we can. We will be tired, trying to get our bearings, and have a long drive ahead of us to Montecatini 4 hours away. The rest of the trip we will have plenty of good meals

Thanks for the other choices for our trip north. Actually we were interested in seeing Portfofino peninsula as we are sailors and love boats.I will check it out and see where approximately we will be around lunchtime.

One thing is I don't want to take too much time driving north as I want to see a few things in Milan. We only will have sometime before dinner( hmmm, maybe il Gatto e LA Volpe would be good for dinner instead of in town.More investigating now on this). We have a 3 PM flight out the next day. I am not sure we can get into town and back by train from our airport hotel on that day. So if I want to see Last Supper it might have to be on the day we drive north in the afternoon. I read it is about a 50 min bus ride into Milan from airport. I doubt we would drive as it is crazy in cities.

Anyway I am glad to add a few more places to dine on my potential list. I still have to figure out where we will be each day of the main stay in Tuscany and where we want to eat lunch. But I know there will be many threads going for Tuscany and Florence and I am confidant I will find good places. It is the tricky area around Montecatini and heading to and from there that is the issue.

Oct 24, 2014
clarkgranny in Italy

Where to eat lunch between Lucca area and Milan ?

Thanks again.Ok I will put Bardon on list for lunch. Today I have to make a reservation online to see the last Supper in Milan. I gather it sells out quickly. That will be a must see for us.

So much to do......

Oct 24, 2014
clarkgranny in Italy

Dinner in Monetcatini near Tuscany

Thank you for your help. Yes, we chose Montecatini because it was included in a package deal too good to turn down.I couldn't find air alone for the the price of this package with air, car and hotel. We stay at the Hotel Plaza Locanda Maggiore. TA says it is ok; a bit old but clean. That is all we care about as we only stay in a place to sleep after a long day on the road and a great dinner somewhere.

We leave on Thanksgiving Day at 10PM from JFK. Then 6 nights going via Milan.I know it is not a pretty time but again we don't like crowds. We love to drive in the countryside, have a long leisurely lunch, site see a bit more, and then have a long wonderful dinner. We are there more for the food than anything else. Throw in a beautiful church and painting here and there and we are happy.

Thanks for the info on the Caffe New York in town. We will check it out since we are from New York. And the Pasticcieria as I love sweets.

For dinner I already had Osteria Moderna on my list for the first night as it is only a short walk from hotel.Can't wait to try fettunta; yum!

I found on TA a few places just a short drive outside Montecatini . Agriturimo il Molinodi Ciapo, Da Pellegino, Tartoria le Prunecce. And one in town, that sounded nice, Officina Marina. Still investigating.

This was a sudden trip so I am scrambling to find places, put together an itinerary and then make reservations.

Thanks again!

Oct 24, 2014
clarkgranny in Italy

Where to eat lunch between Lucca area and Milan ?

Thank you for the wonderful information. I agree with you about lunch after landing. One issue solved.
Now for lunch returning to Milan. I assume you mean Ristorante Belbo da Bardon, right? Looks good and I will read up some more. But I immediately liked the sound and look of La Buca in Zibello. Sounds perfect! I read on TA that someone said Da Ivan was closed when we head North on a Wednesday. So I think it will be La Buca

As for staying in Montecatini, it doesn't matter where we are really. We only use the hotel for a place to sleep. We will leave right after breakfast and drive to sites in Tuscany. Come back in late afternoon, change and go for a long dinner. Then right to bed. I know it will not be best weather, but this was a time we could get away and we got a great deal. We love driving in Italy and just go from one good lunch to one good dinner with a few sites in-between. And we hate mobs so the off season is best.

While I have your attention, any thoughts on a great dinner in Milan? Only night there and we have never been there. The thought is we would take public transportation if possible to the main area where there is something to see( haven't even cracked guide books yet) as soon as we arrive from our trip North. We would walk around until our dinner reservation wherever. To be honest, I haven't even started to look at the postings here for Milan, except one that suggested a place called Ratana, which looked good. Still needs more exploration.

And then I have to see where we are going in Tuscany and where we want to eat lunch. So much to do! Thanks again.

Oct 23, 2014
clarkgranny in Italy

Where to eat lunch between Lucca area and Milan ?

My husband and I are taking a sudden trip to Tuscany on Thanksgiving. So I must get going on reservations.

First we arrive on a Friday at 12:05PM. After we get our car etc we will be heading south to our hotel in Montecatini ( about a 4 hour drive). After a long flight we will want to stop somewhere for lunch fairly soon after picking up car. Somewhere easy as we will just be getting our bearings and will be jet lagged. Should we just eat at the airport? Any easy town on the way just outside of Milan where we could get a good bite?

On our last full day we leave Monetcatini to drive North to our hotel in Milan near the airport. Again I ned a nice place to stop along the way. Nice town, easy access, and good food. Maybe a detour to Portafino? Any other good stops along the coast? Or a farm meal in the country where parking would be easy?

We sort of think we will go one way south and a different way North. But uncertain at this point. Anything fantastic to visit between these two destinations where we could combine visiting and eating lunch? Best routes?

I appreciate any help

Oct 23, 2014
clarkgranny in Italy

Dinner in Monetcatini near Tuscany

Just booked 5 nights in Montecatini over Thanksgiving because I got a great deal on air, hotel and car included. We don't usually care where we sleep as we spend all day looking around and end up in our bed after a great dinner.

In the past for my 3 previous trips to Italy I have been guided by folks here and have had the most wonderful meals at non-touristy places. I need help now

Later I will ask for all the great places we should definitely see.Oh, by the way, I plan our food first and then worry about churches and sites. To my husband and I we love a long leisurely lunch and dinner with some site seeing thrown in. We also love to just drive in the country. Price is not a worry. We want great food!

I didn't see much for Montecatini on Chow and what I saw was very old. I figure if we are driving long distances to see the sites in area we need to eat dinner closer to our hotel after our long day. So where can we eat either right in the city or just outside that we could safely drive back after wine and dinner?

We could always do a fabulous lunch in the days destination and just eat a light meal back at our hotel but that is so boring.

I saw the link to Lucca and seem to be good restaurants there but I fear that might be too far late at night to get back.

Any thoughts?

Oct 22, 2014
clarkgranny in Italy

Need great place for dinner between New London and New Bedford

We usually take 95 from New London.But we can easily get off to go to a side town

Need great place for dinner between New London and New Bedford

On Thursday evening my husband and I are hauling a trailer with a sailboat after landing at the ferry in New London at 6:30PM. We will be on our way to New Bedford where we will spend the night. So we need somewhere to eat dinner where it is relatively easy to park( really can't see downtown Mystic for instance). We also don't want to go miles off the beaten path. However we don't want tourist or 95 food either, so can go off highway a bit for a great meal.In addition we will be driving slowly so I don't think we can make it all the way to New Bedford for dinner. Most likely we need to find a place for dining about 7PM ; this means we should be closer to Eastern CT or into RI.

We are open to any kind of food at any price as long as it is great. Don't care about a view etc. More about the food.

Thank you in advance

Buzzards Bay dinner

Thank you for all the recommendations. Another couple who will be traveling with us, discovered Osteria la Civetta her on Chowhound. They had dinner there last night and loved it ; so they went ahead and made dinner reservations for all 6 of us for Friday night. I just read about it here and checked out the menu. Having spent 3 nights in Bologna, which is where the food at the restaurant is based, I know this will be a good choice.

By the way, for all 3 of my trips to Italy, including Bologna, the recommendations here were simply outstanding.

So the decision is made and I know I will be happy.

Buzzards Bay dinner

I am going to Buzzards Bay for a sailing regatta( staying in Cataumet) . We have one night free and need room for a total of 6 adults. A local suggested either The Courtyard or The Parrot. Anyone tried these?

I don't see many great reviews for these places but I think the host thought they were close to the place where a cocktail party is being held beforehand. However we have cars and can go anywhere within reason. Would rather have really good food.

Suggestions?

Thanks ahead of time; I love the recommendations I get here

Dinner fairly close to La Guardia; have car

So we just ate at MP Taverna and had a wonderful time. Service was exemplary. Food delicious. We started with the bulgar salad. Fresh and delicious . Next we had the Greek sausage which was juicy and full of flavor . We also had the Grandma's meatballs which were good as well although I liked the sausage better. The toasted bread with the sausage was soo good. Next we had a special of artichoke risotto which was perfect . The dumplings filled with cheese were ok but we were quite full by now so I only ate the sauce which was quite good. We also had a bottle of wine. 91 bucks before tip was so reasonable for great atmosphere, good service and great food. Happy

Before we went to Artopolis bakery and bought all sorts of goodies for our trip tomorrow . Yummy place so easy to want to buy everything

Thanks for suggestions. All great. We had a lovely night

Dinner fairly close to La Guardia; have car

Ha ha I am not exactly a tourist. Lived in Manhattan for years. Just live out on Eastern LI now. But thank you about your advice. I decided to eat at MP Taverna based on recommendations here

Jun 17, 2013
clarkgranny in Outer Boroughs

MP Taverna early impression

Thank you all. I have decided to give MP taverna a try. By all accounts I think it will be the best for a birthday celebration.

Jun 17, 2013
clarkgranny in Outer Boroughs

Dinner fairly close to La Guardia; have car

Thank you. I will keep Tournesol in mind for my next trip but I have decided to go with MP Taverna because of the high praise here on Chow and elsewhere. Plus it just looks nicer for a birthday celebration. I will also be sure to report back after my return. I can't tell everyone how much I enjoy using this site. The recommendations are always spot on.

Jun 17, 2013
clarkgranny in Outer Boroughs

Dinner fairly close to La Guardia; have car

Thank you all. From one link above I am now settled on Greek in Astoria. Trying to decide between MP Taverna( leaning towards this one) and Agnanti

Jun 16, 2013
clarkgranny in Outer Boroughs

MP Taverna early impression

I am between this place and Agnanti for my husband's birthday dinner. Leaning toward MP, but would like a comparison

Jun 16, 2013
clarkgranny in Outer Boroughs

Dinner fairly close to La Guardia; have car

We are flying this Wed on an early flight from La Guardia; we live on Eastern Long Island so will have to spend night in hotel near airport. But that night, Tuesday, is my husband's birthday. So we thought we would drive in, eat a lovely dinner, and then drive to hotel. We can be anywhere since we have a car but don't want to be too far if we have enjoyed a bottle of wine. I know Flushing is quite close but we do not want Chinese( just had a big meal last week in Chinatown). We also do not want Indian. Would prefer French, with Italian or American second. One place that looked good that I read about here in Astoria called Cafe Triskell is closed on Tuesday. Bummer

Ideas?

Jun 16, 2013
clarkgranny in Outer Boroughs