Our 2013 Retreat began in Lucca this year and after five nights, we boarded a train to Monterosso al Mare in the Cinque Terre, about 1.5 hours away. Although I’m still in Italy I will continue sharing some highlighted moments, and of course they often involve food and my favorite Italy Restaurants.
A couple of my favorite Restaurants in Lucca:
The restaurants I choose have vegetarian and/or seafood choices.
Da Pasquales: Fusion of Tuscan and Sicilian food and 6 small tables inside but large area in the outside back courtyard, even though one of the women in my group thought we were eating in an alley. I guess it seems like that but it was a courtyard with large potted plants all defining the space, outside in the back of the restaurant. I prefer eating outside whenever possible.
This is a restaurant for foodies, but not for vegetarians. Pasquale worked on cruise ships for many years, and he is an amiable hospitable host who visits each table with a smile. We shared a five course starter of the chef’s creation that night – appetizers, polenta cake with puree of cod, ricotta mousse with shrimp, purple potato with grilled polpo, a potato stuffed with quail egg. (Pictured here is the polenta cake appetizer).
Our choices that night focused on seafood and other succulent dishes. The first photo above is baked potato stuffed with quail eggs and ricotta, with slivered truffle. Beautifully presented and subtly flavored. I could dine in this alley for the rest of my days.
Pictured below is sea bass on mashed potatoes with tomatoes, olives, and deliciousness at Da Pasquale Restaurant. It sounds simple, but the flavors remind me of sunny Mediterranean beaches.
This is just a sample of some of the plates served that night. And oh. Pasquale shared a jar of very expensive and special olives from the region of Puglia.
Be sure you make reservations ahead, as they are only open for dinner starting at 7:30, and never for lunch.
Cantine Bernardini Osteria-Enoteca-Museo, Fine Food in Piazza Bernardini about 4 blocks over from Piazza San Michele. You must go around to the back of the building or through the front door to the back outside and downstairs. Look for this green door with a dinosaur in front of the building in Piazza Bernardini. Great traditional choices here including Tuscan vegetarian soup, greens, and pastas, and of course lots of meat choices.
The food was delicious, and not overpriced; the friendly staff gave us a tour of the wines in the ancient cellar, and then brought out birthday candles to celebrate Pam’s birthday.
The sign in front of Cantine Bernardini announces that they have
gluten free choices (senza glutine).
Happily celebrating Pam’s birthday on our second day of the Retreat. Che belle donne!
Antipasto of honey and jam with delicious pecorino.
Traditionally we are not supposed to order un cappuccino in Italy Restaurants after lunch, but we did! A great way to start your day in Italy, and begin your afternoon adventures.
Then of course, every day is filled with walking and exploring–looking for shopping bargains, gelato, or some great spot to snap a few photos.
What are some of your favorite foods savored in your travels to Italy?
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