Thursday, January 20, 2011

Lunch at Lo Strettoio

After our long, but eventually bird-tastic morning at Ponte a Buriano and the Bandella wetlands (detailed below) we were quite hungry. As we wound around into Bandella, we’d noticed a restaurant right on one of the park’s edges (it’s Italy, what did you expect--no restaurant?). It had been closed when we drove in, but the parking lot was full on the way back--even though there were only like three houses within shouting distance--which we thought was a good sign. As we walked in to Lo Strettoio, which was the name of the restaurant, we were at first a little, um, ostracized? Walking into a local spot in any rural area (I think this is worldwide phenomena) you run the risk of being given the outsider treatment, and at first we got it here: put into another room, not a very friendly waiter, some frowny stares. Then, though, a second table (three laughing Italian men) was sat in our room, and a super friendly Italian waiter (he was the owner, actually, I think, or manager at least) pulled up a chair with them so he could chat, and during the chatting he always kept an eye on us, keeping our water and wine filled wiand accompanying every stop with a huge smile and generally giving the whole room and experience a sunny feel. Of course, it wouldn’t have mattered if the food wasn’t any good (or would have mattered a little less). But the food was delish. I had a creamy porcini tagliatelle that was rich and filling in that perfect way where you know you’ll end up stuffed but happy:
Even though I’m every jolly to be diving into a cream sauce, Nat’s simple pasta with truffles made me a smidge jealous. The homemade pasta was so perfect and the slices of truffles freshly shaven off and aromatic and chewy:
Since we’d walked much of the morning, we layered on some cortoni after our pastas (even though I had that rich cream fullness, I wasn’t overfull by any means), a big plate of fagoli with fresh sage and a light tomato sauce:
and a plate of vedure fritta, or fried veggies (I’m always a fan of the fried veggies in whatever culture): cauliflower, artichokes, zucchini, and fries:
Even that (and the nice, light, white wine accompanying everything) didn’t completely sate us, however, so we split a panna cotta topped with frutta di bosco. The panna cotta was good (if not the finest ever), but the frutta di bosco was fresh juicy berries (with frutta di bosco, you often just get a berry sauce, and I thought having berries and sauce was excellent):
Overall, a great lunch at a place worth searching out (they do weddings, too, if you’re thinking of tying the knot Italian style).

*See more Italian restaurants: Capponi, Nestor's,Nonna Gelsa, Le Capannine di Sommavilla, Calagrana, Trattoria Il Saraceno, L Enoteca Wine Club, Mastro Dante, Bar Fizz, Da Cesari, Calagrana Lunch, al Frantoio, La Balestra

*See all Italian restaurants

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