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La Bottega Ristorante – Volpaia (Tuscany Region), Italy

A nice lunch, but just not Bombastic.


Restaurant Category : Italian

La Bottega Ristorante - Volpaia (Tuscany Region), Italy: Ristorante La Bottega is a small family Tuscany restaurant that has passed down their secret recipes from generation to generation for over the past 300 hundred years. So, you know they must be doing something right if they’ve been around that long!

With this in mind, we arranged to have lunch there during one of our day trips through Tuscany. Luckily we had reservations, as even though we were there in April, not the busiest time of year in the Tuscany Region, the restaurant was packed. It seems others had learned about all that La Bottega had to offer.

We grabbed a seat on the edge of the outdoor dining area. Disappointingly, the dining area overlooked the parking lot. Other than the view of the cars, it only had partial views of the countryside beyond. It was not the great view of Tuscany we were hoping for from this Tuscany restaurant.

However, as we got settled in, we were greeted by one of the owners whose warmth and welcoming made us forget about the less than stunning view. We ordered some water (the Tuscan sun was HOT) and looked over the small, single sheet menu. The small single page menu offer four appetizers, nine pasta dishes and ten meat dishes, plus a selection of side dishes and sweets.

The appetizers at La Bottega, this Tuscany restaurant were mixed crostini (breads with sauces), red chicory and pecorino cheese with balsamic vinegar, grilled aborigine with mint and mixed charcuterie (preserved meats).

The pasta dishes ranged from hand-made ravioli with spinach and ricotta cheese with butter and sage to Tuscan bread and vegetable soup, and tagliatelle pasta with truffle to pici (a thick rolled pasta) with duck sauce.

Some of the main dishes were rabbit with truffle, stewed rabbit with olives, stewed wild boar with olives, sewed meat in a Chianti wine and pork roasted meat flavored with Chianti herbs and pecorino cheese. Apparently stew was a common staple at La Bottega.

We placed our orders opting for the appetizers of Garganelli, hand-made tube pasta with meat sauce for me, and hand-made ravioli with spinach and ricotta cheese for my partner. Our main courses were to be the roasted pork with Chianti herbs and pecorino cheese, and for my partner, the stewed meat in Chianti wine.

It did not take long for the pastas to hit our table, which was a good thing; a morning of driving through Tuscany and tasting wines gets ones taste buds and stomach ready for a hearty lunch. Getting to this Tuscany restaurant could not have happened quick enough.
First out were our pastas. With its sturdy texture and gorgeous taste, my tube pasta and thick meat sauce hit the spot. My partner’s ravioli on the other hand was a bit too creamy and buttery. While it was good, it just missed the mark for both of us.

Our main courses were served shortly after our pasta plates were cleared and the presentation of our stewed dishes was more unappealing than tempting; slices of meat with a thin sauce or soupy gravy covering them. Our main dishes lacked any visual wow factor. But then again, we were there to eat, not just look at our food, so we dove in.

My pork dish was surprisingly good. It was not as tender as I hoped for, but it surely was full of flavor. My partners beef dish with its dark brown sauce was overpowering to the point that he could only eat about half of the served portion. While mine tasted better than it looked, the visual appearance of his pretty much matched the taste; average.

A 2006 Chianti Classico, Castello Di Ama was our wine of choice for our lunch at this casual Tuscany restaurant. Its full flavor was appreciated and matched up well with our lunch, but our seat in the blaring sun turned our wine-cellar cool wine to mid-day sun warm by the end of our meal.

Service throughout our meal was great when the daughter and part owner of La Bottega or the young Italian male waiter waited on us, but when the newest member of their wait staff attended to us, her feelings of being overwhelmed spoke through loud and clear; she was just not a good fit for La Bottega.

The highlight of our lunch at La Bottega was when Mama Gina, an owner and matriarchal soul of La Bottega made her appearance and welcomed all the guests to her Tuscany restaurant. Her spirit and kind nature, made the whole visit to La Bottega worthwhile.

We finished our lunch with a piece of Torta al Cioccolato, homemade, chocolate cake. Now, if you want to talk about something visually appealing, this would be it! It actually looked so good, that we dug into even before we remembered to take a picture of it! Was it as good as it looked? Absolutely yes!

As I tallied the numbers to determine the score and rating for our lunch at La Bottega, I thought about the history of this Tuscany restaurant and the warmth we experienced. I wish that I could magically give La Bottega a higher rating, but even with the extra points given for our overall experience at La Bottega, this Tuscany restaurant still comes in with our average rating of Between Bombastic and Not.

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What I liked: My pasta with meat sauce, the chocolate cake and the warmth and kindness shown by Gina and her daughter.

What I didn’t like: The ravioli, the less than impressive view, eating in the scorching sun.

Rating: Between Bombastic and Not

Address and Telephone Number:
La Bottega
Piazza della Torre, 1
53017 Radda in Chianti
Volpaia, Italy
Telephone: 577-738-001

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