Restaurants in Siena
Siena is a foodie destination, with dishes designed to bring out the richness of the wine. Expect most restaurants to serve traditional Tuscan cuisine, robust peasant cooking. Dishes are rarely elaborate or excessive. Expect macho T-bone steaks, peasant soups, wild boar stews, truffle sauces, hearty cheeses and divine cakes. As is customary, chefs will cook with olive oil, not butter.
Sienese cuisine has a few specialities too: the Cinta Senese pig has been producing the region’s finest pork since Etruscan times; the local pasta is stumpy spaghetti, known as pici; and sauces with mushrooms or truffles are prized in the right season. The local desserts are richly exotic, washed down with sweet Vin Santo (holy wine). Red wines from Siena Province are legendary too; try a drop from Brunello, Montepulciano or Chianti.
Even in Siena’s elegant restaurants, the atmosphere tends to be rustic and homely. Some eateries have transformed their Etruscan cellars into additional dining rooms, and the city’s cosy ambience is generally matched by reasonable prices.
The Siena restaurants below have been hand-picked by our guide author and are grouped into three pricing categories:
Expensive (over €80)
Moderate (€30 to €80)
Cheap (under €30)
These Siena restaurant prices are for a three-course meal for one, with half a bottle of house wine, tax and service. A coperto (cover charge) of €2-5 might be added, and possibly a service charge of 10-15%. If so, this must be stated in the menu. If service is not included, consider a tokenistic tip (under 5%). Most Italians only round up the bill by a few Euros.
Antico Osteria Da DivoCuisine: Creative Tuscan
This romantic restaurant adjoins the medieval city walls, and dining in its vaulted Etruscan caverns is much like eating in an Etruscan tomb. The menu is Tuscan with a twist, so starters include bruschetta with fresh tomato, or liver-encrusted crostini (topped toasted bread). Florentine steak, fried courgette flowers and wild boar might follow, but more creative is the polenta and chestnut tart with black truffle. The truffle-tasting menu features truffles from the Crete Senesi area, the moonscape south of Siena. Try the Parmesan risotto with truffle shavings or the potato gnocchi and truffles.Address: , Via Franciosa 25- 29, Siena,
Telephone: +39 577 286 054.
Osteria La Taverna di San GiuseppeCuisine: Tuscan
This is the perfect Sienese inn, combining a mellow atmosphere with old-school Tuscan food. The 'tavern' is convenient for the Campo and set in a softly-lit brick-vaulted dining room. This being Siena, there are also medieval and Etruscan wine cellars. The cavern-like space showcases robust Tuscan home-cooking, and typical dishes include authentic ribollita, a hearty peasant soup, beef stew, and Florentine steaks. Pasta is another strength, whether chunky pici or the ribbon-like pappardelle, which are often served with wild boar. A cosy but casual setting is matched by friendly service.Address: , Via Giovanni Dupré 132, Siena,
Telephone: +39 577 42 286.
Osteria Le LoggeCuisine: Creative Tuscan
Just off the Campo, this gastronomic inn serves light, creative takes on Tuscan classics. The restaurant is set in an old-world pharmacy and herbalist's shop, with an authentic dark-wood and marble interior. Regulars particularly appreciate the antipasti and pasta first courses, such as ravioli with mint and Tuscan pecorino cheese. Other popular dishes include duck and fennel, stuffed guinea fowl, pigeon terrine, and the imaginative vegetable dishes. Expect an excellent wine list featuring prominent Tuscan plonk, including award-winning bottles from the owner's Montalcino estate.Address: , Via del Porrione 33, Siena,
Telephone: +39 577 48 013.
This minimalist, chic spot is unusual for Siena but Dolceforte successfully straddles several camps. By day, it goes from being a breakfast bar to a tearoom, then a good-value lunch spot, with a dish of the day. Evening brings a full menu but also caters for grazers happy with antipasti and organic wine. Typical dishes include chicken-liver bruschetta, lasagne, vegetarian pilaf and leek and courgette pie. Steak, swordfish and seafood pasta are also on offer. Smooth service and background jazz complete the picture.Address: , Via Calzoleria 12, Siena,
Telephone: +39 577 282 526.
Enoteca I TerziCuisine: Tuscan
This reliable inn and wine bar is about the mood as much as the food. Exposed brick walls set the tone for a place that incorporates a medieval tower. Open until late, the inn is laidback and welcoming, and although it has a changing menu, the food always revolves around traditional Tuscan recipes. Regulars come for filling antipasti, pasta, grills and local Chianina steak. Another popular dish is pici al ragu, meat sauce with the chunky spaghetti favoured in Siena. The inn prides itself on not imposing a cover or service charge.Address: , Via dei Termini 7, Siena,
Telephone: +39 577 44 329.
Osterie Le SorellineCuisine: Tuscan
On the surface, Osterie Le Sorelline is an unpretentious neighbourhood trattoria, but the quality of the cooking takes it to another level. Confident Tuscan dishes are turned out with a smile as lovers of pasta praise the ravioli with butter and sage and the tagliolini noodles with black truffles. In autumn, choose the pici pasta with mushrooms, especially the porcini mushrooms. Other winning choices include the grilled pecorino cheese (a hard cheese made from ewes), the wild-boar dishes or any of the steaks. If you can't face the no-frills interior, then dine outside.Address: , Via dei Rossi 76, Siena,
Telephone: +39 577 42 148.
Gino CacinoCuisine: Tuscan delicatessen
This delicatessen and snack bar Is handy for a tasty lunch on the run. Set near the Campo, on one of the city's prettiest squares, Gino Cacino is run by an affable Tuscan foodie. The specialities include meat or cheese-filled paninis, washed down by a glass of wine. Gino's devotion to cheese means he's dubbed the 'King of Parmesan and Pecorino.' Try the cheeses before you decide, but don't miss the gorgonzola or Taleggio (a semi-soft, crusted cheese). Other fillings include Sienese salami and porchetta (pork roast), or artichokes and tomato salad.Address: , Palazzo del Mercato 31, Siena,
Telephone: +39 577 223 076.
Il VinaioCuisine: Tuscan
Farewell to the days of nibbling on a few olives instead of dinner, this convivial, bare-brick wine bar is not afraid to turn its hand to decent Tuscan food. It started with well-sourced cheeses and cold cuts, along with bruschetta and crostini (topped toasted bread), but hot dishes have recently popped up on the menu. Depending on the day, it could be filling ribollita (hearty bread and vegetable soup), roast meats or wild boar stew. Wine is still the raison d'etre here, so even the Chianti will be a well-priced Chianti Classico.Address: , Via Sant'Agata 8, Siena,
Telephone: +39 577 42 491.
Osteria Il CarroccioCuisine: Traditional Tuscan
This well-run, quaint trattoria serves simple but full-bodied Tuscan dishes. Tuck into cured meats, Florentine T-bone steak and pork casserole. Osteria Il Carroccio proudly offers meaty home-cooking, with a Slow Food ethos. Round off a meal with pear and chocolate tart or with Sienese ricciarelli biscuits (almond cookies) and Vin Santo dessert wine. This is as far removed from faddish 'creative' cuisine as you can get, and surprisingly convenient for the Campo.Address: , Via Casato di Sotto 32, Siena,
Telephone: +39 577 41 165.