There are a number of attractive small-to-smaller towns or hamlets in our valley (the Niccone valley, along the border between Umbria and Tuscany), including Liscone Niccone, which is the closest, Mercatale, which sits right up close to Liscone and which has a delicious bakery. The others we drive through on the way to Umbertide (which is larger, and where we go to internet, hit the market, and more), with the final one before the turn to Umbertide being Niccone itself. Driving through it, we always pass a cute little ristorante called Locanda di Nonna Gelsa. It looks so welcoming (as you’d expect a restaurant called the inn of grandmother Gelsa to look) that when we decided to go out the other night, it was an easy pick. It turned out to be a tasty pick, too, with only one mis-step.
We started with an antipasto vegetariana, and it was a delectable knock out. The grilled zucchini (seasoned with a slight spiciness) and eggplant melted in the mouth, the yellow and red peppers had a hint of crunch, and the mozzarella balls balanced the spice and grill taste. But the real stars were the more unexpected members of the plate: a thicker slice of grilled eggplant topped with a chunky tomato topping that mingled those two garden friends perfectly, a zucchini and spiced garlic breadcrumb casserole (well, that’s not it exactly, as it wasn’t mixed thoroughly, but that’s close), and an amazing sformatina funghi. I can’t wait to order this again, even when the picture doesn’t do it justice (I was still getting used to the intimate lighting):
*See more Italian restaurants: Capponi, Nestor's
*See all Italian restaurants