Restaurants Reviews

Here is a list of our favourite restaurants in the area. There is nothing like a free lunch, so I will in. It will be then up to you to find them. Do not get scared by our irony and have courage, because they are all worth a visit and the experience. You can start dieting when you get home, because when in Umbria, do like the Umbrians do. Live to eat, and not eat to live...


Ristorante Masolino, known by everyone as Da Belfico, in Panicale
Written in1997, Updated 2003

Mamma Bruna and her children run this simple Trattoria in the town walls of Panicale. A recent refurbishment resulted in tasteful setting, with medieval and Etruscan stones coming to light. You do not come here for the environment, however. You come here because of the food. And if the setting is good, then all the better. The owners won a gastronomic prize in Florence for their crown jewel, the peasant on Rye (Crostino alla Faraone). All the pasta is home made, with the wild boar sauce, (Salsa all Chingiale) being my favourite. A couple of years ago, if you asked for the menu, Stefania would reply "You are looking at it". If you asked for the wine list, she would look at you strangely and ask red or white. That has changed, and they have invested in English menus and a wider range of wines. If I were you, however, I would not go mainstream. If you stick to the house red or white and have Stefania act out the menu, you can be sure to leave happy and satisfied.


Il Casale, just outside Paciano
Written 2004

Situated on the top of a hill, Il Casale is the restaurant to go to if you are looking for good views and truffles, truffles being one of the main ingredients of their cooking. A very popular local restaurant, it is also frequently mentioned in local and international press reviews. The food is excellent and you will go a long way to find a better Tortlini with Pesto, although they specialize in meats grilled over an open fire and of course truffles. Run by Pina, this restaurant is without doubt, (after the unfortunate closing of la Rocca Buitoni), the best in Paciano. So it is a shame that many visitors miss it because of its location. To find it, leave Paciano heading for Chiusi. You will see it to the left, on the top of the hill. There are signs where you have to turn.

The Picture is not of the restaurant.
Castiglione Del Lago

La Cantina, in Castiglione Del Lago
Written in 1997. Updated 2003

Run as a co-operative, this is the ultimate Italian experience of chaos and disorder. It is located in the old part of town in Castiglione Del Lago, inside the walls. The food is good, but what makes this restaurant deserve a visit are their Pizzas, my favourite in the area. They are baked to perfection in a wood-burning oven using only fresh produce. The down side is that you can expect long waiting times both in high and low seasons as the waiters do not have a clue over what they are doing. They are so disorganized that everything takes twice the time it should take, no matter if you are alone in the restaurant, or if all the rooms and the garden are packed. In 1997, their will to improve the chaos took a turn. They invested in high-tech infrared remote controls. Upon ordering, they typed in the code of the dish and the table number, pointed the device towards an old PC, and press enter. A second later, you heard a matrix printer by the pizza oven print your order. Do not be surprised if the people sitting next to you get your pizza, or if you get charged for some one else's grappa (Or they charge yours to some one else). That is what regularly happens to us, and many of the tables around us. Even if you are alone in the whole restaurant, they are bound to mess it up some how. They are not out to cheat any one, but thanks to their cluelesness, ordering can be like playing roulette. So come here for a good show, lots of good food and excellent Pizzas. (The Pizza oven is only lit in the evenings.) Reports, some as recent as 2003, tell us that they have learnt to use the remote control machines, that the matrix printer is still working, but that they are still messing up the checks. Enjoy the food and the show, have a laugh, and check your bill!

The Picture is not of the restaurant.

La Solita Zuppa, Chiusi
Written in 1997

La Solita Zuppa, conveniently located for the Macchione farmhouse, is located in the old part of Chiusi. It is a small family run restaurant built in a converted old horse carriage depository. You will find excellent food, friendly service and a pleasant environment. A must if you are in the Macchione farmhouse. If you are staying in Panicale or Paciano, it is slightly further than the other restaurants I described, but a must if you have the time. A possibility would be to eat here after having visited Montepulciano and its wine cellars or combine it with a visit to Chiusi's Etruscan museum (The second largest in Italy). As they only have 12 tables, it might be a good idea to book. Their number is 0578 21006. Just don't use it to ask for directions.

Da Gino, on the Shores of the Chiusi Lake
written in 2004

Tucked away on the edge of the Chiusi Lake, Da Gino is the kind of restaurant you would pass by on first sight. But the faint of heart should not be put off, either by the caged peacocks, playground and swings or the uninspiring look of the large, nondescript building. Da Gino is not a place for fine dining, but you will find good typical dishes of the area often not available in the more tourist orientated restaurants. Dishes such as Brustego, lake perch cooked over burning lake reeds and served with parsley and olive oil. Pici Pasta with a sugo di pesce (fish sauce) from the nearby lake or their crown jewel, the Tegamaccio, a dish of different lake fishes in a tomato sauce cooked for 24 hours. For this reason, although a very typical dish of the area, it is very hard to find. (Rather like the restaurant). To get there from the Macchione Farmhouse, go past Porto and take a left on the road towards Chiusi. From Panicale, get on the N326 between Chiusi and Montepulciano (not the 146 which goes through Chianciano). After this keep an eye open for signs with the name of the restaurant, on the right, if coming from Panicale and on the left if approaching from The Macchione farm. Follow the road towards the lake and bypass La Fattoria, a more upscale, sophisticated restaurant. Don't forget your map and do not be afraid to ask, most locals will know where this is. Da Gino is closed on Wednesdays.

The Picture is not of the restaurant.
Other Areas

Trattoria Bruno Coppetta, Citta Della Pieve
Written in 2003

Finding this restaurant was the typical exercise in staying out of tourist traps whist ensuring a delicious meal. I was in the more touristy Citta Della Pieve, home town of il Perugino, and in-between his frescos, the church clocks remind you it is time for lunch. I ask a local if they could recommend a good restaurant, and indeed they could, as they had worked there. Looking on the menus on the door, however, I spot that they are serving crepes for dessert. A sign or warning further confirmed by the fact that they served Pizza at lunchtime. No Italian restaurant with self-respect who caters to Italians serves pizza at lunchtime. (The reason is old fashioned it was too hot to have the wood-burning ovens on during the day. With electricity and forced ventilation, that is not the case any more, but as you can't teach an old suborn dog new tricks. You will rarely see Italians having pizza for lunch. So on I go, and walk by the second restaurant. They take American Express and Diners. In rural Italy, where retired people still go to the post office every month to cash in their pensions hiding their money in their mattress, a little alarm should go off. Beware. Visa and Mastercard are accepted in most places, but cessssrtainly not Diners and American Express. So on we go, and find a very anonymous glass door, with an anonymous sign stating that there is a restaurant in there. No menus, and no prices. We walk inside and are confronted with neon lights, tasteless furniture, and a room packed with people. We knew we had hit the jackpot. We were sent upstairs and seated in a room with frescoed ceilings And were served the most amazing home made ravioli with butter and sage sauce, spare ribs that melted in your mouth with a side order of perfectly sauteed spinach in olive oil and garlic. These restaurants exist everywhere, but you need to be brave in order to find them! Trattoria Bruno Coppetta is closed on Mondays.

Da Faliero, between S. Arcangelo and S. Savino.
Written in 2003

Save this restaurant for the day you drive around the Lake Trasimeno. It is located on the right when driving anticlockwise following the shores of the Lake Trasimeno, between the towns of S. Arcangelo and S. Savino. You enter a restaurant and get a numbered ticket awating your turn. When your number is called (There are screens, so there is no need to learn to count in Italian), struggle to the front and order. They are famous for their torta al testo, thin pizza like bread baked in a wood oven, and filled with fillings such as spinach, cheese, or prosciutto crudo (cured ham). Other specialities include stuffed olives, pasta with lake perch (from the Trasimeno) or the more typical home made talgiatelle with wild boar sauce. Waiting times can be long, especially in the summer, but the possibility to sit outside overlooking the lake makes up for this. Once you have ordered, your food will be served almost immediately, and you will be pleasantly surprised by the bill. Use the waiting time wisely trying to figure out what to order, as menus are scattered around the room and might be hard to grasp the first time around.

La Cascina, in Panicarola
Written in 1997

La Cascina is run by a couple from the area, who in real Italian style, always argue. After several years in Switzerland, they returned to their home town of Panicarola. It is worth visiting it every Thursday through Sunday, as you can eat fish of all sorts, both from the ocean and from the nearby Lake Trasimeno. We have the address and phone number of this restaurant, but for the sake of continuity, we are not giving it to you. After all, getting lost in Panicarola is even harder than getting lost in Panicale.

The Picture is not of the restaurant.
Reviews By Our Guests

These are reviews written by our guests...

Bar Gallo, Panicale
Written Wed Oct 17 13:02:42 2007 by Ann & Raymond Favreau-Hubbard

The Gallo Bar, Pizza Umbert I, Panicale, is a good place for lunch or coffee. The owner was most helpful when we had problems phoning France and were caught by the rain. He insisted on driving us to the Casa Tanaquilla.

Trattoria Bruno Copetta , Citta de la Pieve
Written Wed Oct 17 13:01:55 2007 by Ann & Raymond Favreau-Hubbard

Another restaurant we recommend is Trattoria Bruno Copetta located in La Citta de la Pieve where casual and very good meals are served. We went there twice.

Il Casale,
Written Wed Oct 17 13:00:40 2007 by Ann & Raymond Favreau - Hubbard

Another favourite was Il Casale, in Nearby Paciano, where we also ate more than once. We enjoyed talking to the owner-chef and to one of her daughters. The food was almost too good. The restaurant has a terrace with a wonderful view.

Ristorante Masolino, , Panicale
Written Wed Oct 17 12:59:27 2007 by Ann & Raymond Favreau - Hubbard

We ate several times in the Ristorante Masolino, Via Roma, 7, Panicale, where the food is good and the service friendly.

Ristorante Caffe Lillo Tatini, Panicale
Written Wed Oct 17 12:58:00 2007 by Ann and Raynond Favreau-Hubbard

The one we would rate as the very best, located in Panicale, was The Ristorante Caffe Lillo Tatini, Pizza Umberto I, 13, where the cuisine is refined without losing touch with tradition and the owner is charming. We ate there three times.

Albergo & Ristorante Masolino, Panicale
Written Mon Oct 1 17:46:16 2007 by k. verdi

excellent food, warm welcome every time, patient in trying to meet our dietary requirements and listening to our italian. we ate here 3 times in our week in Panicale and enjoyed it every time. highly recommended, and reasonably priced

La Solita Zuppa, Chiusi
Written Wed May 16 22:14:36 2007 by Nancy Hauswald

Lunch here, in April 2007, was one of the two best meals we had on our Italian holiday. It's hard to say what we enjoyed the most: the personal service by Roberto and his wife, the charming decor, or the food and wine. Oh, OK. . .the food and wine. Do NOT despair because no menu is presented. Trust Roberto -- his descriptions of the food are delightful (This was the first time I've ever eaten food whose provenance I've known!), his choice of wines perfect. Relax, sit back for a few hours, and know that a meal at La Solita Zupper is truly a "MasterCard" moment!

L'Oca Bruciata, Paciano
Written Tue Sep 19 10:23:35 2006 by J. Ashman

This family run ristorante and pizzeria is located in Paciano a small village about 3km from Panicale. Mama does the cooking and her daughter serves the tables. You can eat inside or out on the terrace. It is frequented by the locals and their children and has a great atmosphere. The pizzas are excellent but we tucked into the best streak we'd had in Italy. Excellent house wine by the litre. Realistic prices. We ate there three times and were never disappointed.

Rosso de serra, San Filiciano
Written Tue Jul 25 12:29:20 2006 by Steen Eske

Very good restaurant, surveing a little harbour. Check the opening hours. Very good fish dishes, moderate prices.

Da Sauro, Isola Maggiore
Written Tue Jul 25 12:23:51 2006 by Steen Eske

Good restaurant with many fish dishes and the best 'potato fites' I have tastes for a long time. Lovely for lunch. Take the boath fra Tauro (10 minutes) or from Castiglione.

Lillocatina, Panicale
Written Tue Jul 25 12:15:30 2006 by Steen Eske

Wery exclusive restaurant. High prices. The food does not always justify the price.

Molino, Panicale
Written Tue Jul 25 12:13:16 2006 by Steen Eske Chirstensen

Good restaurant with a fiendly atmosphere. Service is sometimes a little bit slow, but the fod i good and if the weather is fine, the little balcony has a wonderful view. Wery friendly landlord.

Il Casale, Paciano
Written Tue Jul 25 12:08:37 2006 by Steen Eske Christensen

Good restaurant, but the service is slow and sometimes not too kind (strangely you have to keep your knife from dish to dish!). Dont be confuses by the menucard. It looks like a cheap cafeteria and the illustrations and the text does not match completely, but the food is worth waiting for at the view is lovely.

Masolino, Panicale
Written Tue Jan 10 23:56:24 2006 by Veronica Vago

We ate at Masolino's many times during our stay in Panicale and were always treated with such friendliness and consistently wonderful food. Andrea and his family are the essential key to the success of Masolino's.

Masolino, Panicale
Written Thu Jun 9 17:39:56 2005 by Don and Becky Sciglimpaglia

Write you review here... Masolino's was our very favorite restaurant in Umbria. We ate there twice, and would have done so even more, except that we forced ourselves to try other places. The people, the service, the location, and the food were all wonderful.

Trattoria Latte di Luna, Pienza
Written Wed Sep 15 11:30:11 2004 by Kim and Besty Rode

Trattoria Latte di Luna in Pienza was our favorite restaurant. It was friendly, welcoming and had wonderful local dishes and very attentive waiters. The outdoor dining area was particularly attractive with awnings and hanging plants making it feel very private; certainly a place we would return to when in the area again. Betsy Rode.

Masolino's, Panicale
Written Fri Sep 3 21:31:36 2004 by Brendan Meehan

Write you review here... Good food, reasonable prices, good atmosphere. Riccardo is correct about the roast lamb.

Locanda Al Castello di Sorci, San Sepolcro
Written in 1998 by Frank & Catlin L

I can recommend an amazing place to eat just outside northern Umbria if you are ever near Sansepolcro. It has the very glamorous name of "Locanda al Castello di Sorci" (The Inn of the castle of rats). They serve lunch and dinner alla familia, the menu is set and the food never stops coming. There is some history attached to the location and they boast of having celebrities eat there such as Miss Italia's step mother??? They also sell the best Vin Santo I've ever tasted (of course my experience on that matter might be questioned, I'm no connoisseur). But maybe I like it because on the label are a couple of drunk nuns : ). I will hint the location, I know this spoils the fun but it's in the country and hard to find. Exit at San Sepolcro drive west there will be signs pointing the location way.

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