Eating well while in Italy is like encountering crowds in New York’s Times Square – both are inevitable, even run-of-the-mill, in their settings. Sienese food is typical of the Chianti region, replete with some of the world’s finest extra virgin olive oil. Besides fascinating history, art and architecture, Siena is also home to the Ristorante Arnolfo, a world-class, Michelin star awarded restaurant owned by one of Italy’s best chefs.
Gaetano Trovato is actually a native of Sicily, but throughout his illustrious career has fused flavors from all over the Mediterranean region in his restaurants. His love of architecture led to his choice of a historic old building to set his restaurant in. (It is named after Arnolfo di Cambio, a famous 13th century Italian architect, who was born mere steps from the restaurant.)
Although the food here can be described as Italian, it is more like contemporary Mediterranean that focuses heavily on Italy. Chef Trovato’s innovation means that the dishes here are unlike any other you have tasted – in Siena or the rest of Italy. Make sure to ask your server which wine best complements your meal, as the restaurant houses a fantastic wine cellar, run by the chef’s brother, Giovani Trovato. A true wine connoisseur, Giovani believes that a wine should not be chosen because of its renown or rarity, but its ability to complement the meal.
If the food proves to be a little bit too satisfying for your taste, the restaurant offers four bedrooms for the sleepy, well-fed visitor. Two double bedrooms and two single bedrooms come with a complimentary breakfast in the morning, so you can dine on exquisite food after sleeping off a fantastic dinner.
This is another one of Siena’s quiet, intimate – but very small – gems. Since there are only six tables offered for dinner, make sure you make a reservation well in advance, especially if you’re going during the weekend.