Planning to dine in style or just thinking of a panino on piazza del Campo? There is great food in Siena for every budget. Try the Tuscan delicacies prepared with fresh local ingredients by nice people in great locations and splash out on the wine list.
SIENA'S BEST RESTAURANTS - Tuscan fine dine
Siena's oldest restaurant is also one of its best. Founded in 1830, restaurant Tre Cristi has kept its beautifully frescoed interiors but applies a light contemporary approach to (otherwise often heavy) Tuscan cooking. Some of the best seafood in town, Tre Cristi is also happy to cater to vegetarians.
Closed on Sundays. Vicolo Provenzano 1/7. Phone: +39 0577 280608 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Osteria Le Logge
Even though Le Logge holds on to the osteria in its name, the restaurant off piazza del Campo in Siena's former ghetto is far from simple. Its elgeant location and refined makes of it one of the most famous restaurants in Siena (Gianni Nannini is friends with the owners, and Sting and other hot shots pop in when in town). Be sure to book ahead if you want to enjoy your meal in the beautiful premises of the ex-pharmacy on the ground floor.
Closed on Sundays. Via del Porrione 33. Phone: +39 0577 48013 Email: email@example.com
There are no Michelin star restaurants in Siena's town center. However there are several of them in the province of Siena. Four of the Michelin starred foodie temples are in easy reach (about a 40 minutes drive) in the Chianti and the Val d'Elsa. For more info click through to my Michelin star restaurants in Tuscany article and scroll down to the listings for Castellina in Chianti, Castelnuovo Berardenga, Casole d'Elsa and Colle Val d'Elsa).
ANDIAMO DAL VINAIO - the real deal
You haven't eaten in Siena if you haven't had a meal at a vinaio or osteria. These small but charming eateries have been at the base of Tuscan eating out for centuries. The menu normally offers a few warm dishes based on traditional recipes prepared with fresh local ingredients and a good selection of cold cuts and cheeses. The classic dishes of Tuscan peasant cooking like Acquacotta or Pappa al Pomodoro are staples here and often a welcome alternative for vegetarians.
Osteria il Grattacielo
Not much has changed here, since il Grattacielo it first opened in the 19th century. Right, you pay now in Euro, but the ambiance is still the one where locals don't just drop in for a meal but also for a glass of red wine in the midst of an afternoon or for a quick bite to eat on Sundays or when the rest of Siena's restaurants aren't open yet in the late afternoon or have already closed the kitchen.
Open daily from noon to midnight. Via Pontani, 8. Phone +39
Not far from Il Grattacielo and less known by tourists, this vinaio is a beloved option with the locals. Ask for the dish of the day and order plenty of open wine.
Closed on Sundays. Via delle Terme 66. Phone: +39 0577 288089 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
BEST PIZZA AND ENGLISH BREAKFAST IN SIENA
You can't always eat Pici al ragù. Siena isn't Naples, but you'll still be able to find a good pizza Margherita if you yearn for a break from the usual Tuscan fare.
You just won't find a pizza hut with a view like this. And with a pizza like this! Watch Siena's cathedral turn gold whilst deciding for one of the countless wood oven cooked pizzas on the menu. Come early since it tends to get busy here. This is also a good choice if you have to keep an eye on your travel budget, since prices are decent for a city like Siena.
Via Camporegio, 13. Open daily from 7pm to 1am. From April to October also pizza for lunch.
Orto de' Pecci
Into the green just below piazza del Campo. You'll see a lot of locals hanging out here with their kids. For a reason. Pizza is good (even if not the best you'll ever eat) and the ambiance is priceless if you need a break from the tourist assault in high season.
Via di Porta Giustizia. Closed on Monday. Pizzeria open in the evening during the week and also for lunch on Saturday on Sunday.
One of Siena's youngest restaurants, Dolceforte combines contemporary interiors with an open-minded concept: with Tuscan recipes at the base of most dishes, the restaurant's menu also includes English breakfast and two or three tasty vegetarian options. Close to piazza del Campo, Dolceforte also offers free wifi and a small tearoom.
Via di Calzoleria, 12. Phone: +39 0577 282 526 Email: email@example.com
HAMBURGER AND LOCAL ARTISAN BEER - you can
It's a sacrilege to eat a burger in Siena. But not at the pub of the recently opened Birreria Diana. Brewing its own beer with locally produced ingredients only, the Diana team uses the same approach in the kitchen. Hamburgers are made with Chianina beef and best local ingredients (even ketchup and mayo are homemade), and you'll also find two tasty veggie burgers on the menu. It's a great place for an early meal with the kids with ample selection of Italian artisan beers for the parents (obviously don't come here if you're looking for a good wine list).
Via Stufasecca, 1. Open daily from noon to 2 am.
Who needs a restaurant if you can eat with the locals? Neighborhood dinners make for a great night out during the evenings heading up to the Palio horse races in July and August. However, there is no central organization of contrada dinners in Siena, since each of the 17 neighborhoods organizes their own event. Hence, best ask at your hotel for info on how and where to join the crowd.
Eat with Nonna and learn something too: if you're not in town during Palio season, you are still in time to join one of the neighborhood dinners (ask at your hotel for current event) or just book a cooking class or dinner with a local in Siena (send me an email for more info).
PICNIC ON PIAZZA DEL CAMPO
Whether you travel on a budget or you just like impromptu eating, a picnic on piazza del Campo is one of the nicest ways to have a meal in Siena. Tuscan panini are the proof that only few simple ingredients are needed if the raw material is divine: two slices of Tuscany's unsalted crispy white bread filled with Cinta Senese prosciutto or Pecorino cheese make for the perfect picnic on Siena's shell shaped piazza. Best if washed down with a few glasses of a light Tuscan red wine.
For the picnic fill your basket at my favorite food shop in town (Consorzio Agrario di Siena - their foccacia style pizza is great too) or grab a panino at Salumeria il Cencio (piazza del Campo, 70). The Tuscan sandwich store is named after the painted Palio draping - the Palio or 'cencio' - and lies right next to Torre del Mangia. Sandwiches are great, but I wasn't impressed by their open wine, so you may want to BYO. You can fill up an empty water bottle at wine store La Cantinetta in nearby via Fontebranda, 3 (open from 10 am to 1 pm and 4 to 8 pm).
RESTAURANT OPENING TIMES IN TUSCANY
Remember that you're in Italy. Hence, there is no dinner at 6 pm.
Restaurants, trattorie and pizzerie open for lunch from about 12.30 to 2.30 pm, and dinner normally doesn't start before 7.30 pm. If you're desperate for a warm meal earlier in the evening ask for the day's special at one of the osterie mentioned above or try one of the burgers at birreria Diana.
BEST RESTAURANTS IN SIENA MAP
Wondering where to go for a grappa after dinner? Read Siena by night. For more food stores and deli advice, check out the Shopping in Siena page.