On our recent trip to Tuscany, we headed back to where is quickly becoming one of our favourite places to spend time – Lucca. It was a gloriously sunny day and we were hungry…
After wondering through the town and enjoying perusing the windows of the stunning shops, we stumbled across a little courtyard filled with perfectly set tables and fairy-lights in the trees. A promising start for an al fresco dining experience. We quickly had a glance at the menu and all agreed this would be our spot for a special lunch. This was the Antica Osteria, the restaurant at the 5-star Hotel Noblesse, in Lucca’s city centre.
One thing I don’t think we get enough time to do in England, is dine outside. Good weather seems to come and go in the blink of an eye in this country, unfortunately. So when in Italy, it does feel like a true luxury to enjoy a good meal and a glass of wine in the fresh air.
Although it was November, it was sunny and warm, but we were made even more comfortable with a few blankets we could cover our laps with if it got a bit nippy. Nice touch.
Our heads were instantly lost in the impressive (and reasonably priced) menu and we went ahead and ordered our three courses and a lovely bottle of Prosecco. Now, in my eagerness to devour the food, I didn’t take many photos (bad blogger!), but I hope you’ll agree that the ones I did take, portray just how blimmin’ scrumptious the food was at the Antica Osteria in Lucca, Tuscany.
I adore lasagne, but I adore creamy sauces, truffle and mushrooms even more. So the porcini lasagne with truffle was the best possible combination I could imagine. I ordered it as a starter so I could be greedy and still have a main.
The fresh pasta was so light but perfectly al dente and the creamy sauce rich but not heavy. And you’d never see this amount of truffle on a dish in the UK, particularly when paying under 20 euros for it! I was in pasta heaven.
My mother-in-law went for the traditional Tuscan dish, Pappa al Pomodoro which is the poshest looking tomato and bread soup I’ve ever seen! And it was packed full of the flavour of tomatoes that you only get in Italy. Delicious.
The boys ate their starters before I got a chance to snap them, so onto my main dish. I fancied a good steak, which is exactly what I got, rare with a garlic and herb butter and side salad. That huge thing on top of the steak is a mushroom, which was nearly as meaty as the steak itself! The table shared some rosemary roasted potatoes and seasonal vegetables too.
Then onto the dessert, which was my second favourite course, after the lasagne….a pure chocolate indulgence of a light sponge, with molten hot chocolate inside, with a perfect vanilla ice cream, chocolate shavings and cocoa powder. With a few fresh strawberries to counter-act the rich chocolate, this dessert was seriously naughty but perfectly balanced. My fellow diners watched on with envy, as they’d settled for just a coffee to round their lunch off with (rookies!).
Of course this was all washed down with the obligatory bottle of Prosecco…and it was a good one!
The Antica Osteria in Lucca, Tuscany will definitely be a restaurant we’ll head back to on our next visit. The interior of the restaurant itself is incredibly decadent with gold, mirrors and a touch of the art deco about it and it’s listed in the Michelin Guide. But it’s crowning glory is the small but perfectly formed courtyard where you can enjoy your superb Italian food, al fresco. Bliss.
Make sure you head there if ever in Lucca and be sure to order that Lasagne. Mmmmmm.
Where do you recommend eating in Lucca, Tuscany? Or anywhere in Tuscany for that matter…