11 Unique Restaurants in Lucca, Italy | Lucca Cycling Club

11 Unique Restaurants in Lucca, Italy

Alison Testroete

Hey, I'm Alison.

If you're planning or dreaming about cycling in Italy, my job is to make it happen for you.

Alison Testroete

Hey, I'm Alison.

If you're planning or dreaming about cycling in Italy, my job is to make it happen for you.

Ride to eat or eat to ride? Either or, any Lucca based cyclist knows how to pin down the best restaurants in Lucca and here’s how you can too.

Not all restaurants in Italy are created equal if you take into consideration the ultimate objective: a.) carb-loading or b.) a spiritual experience similar to climbing Pizzorne with golden legs.

€ restaurants are for curbing your hunger acceptably and delightfully. €€ restaurants are for Friday and Saturday nights, or in your case, any night. And €€€ restaurants are for celebrating victories.

Here’s what you need to know beforehand.

Don’t show up without a reservation, especially at €€ and €€€ restaurants. Either call over lunch hours from 11 am-ish to 3 pm or over dinner hours from 6:30 pm-ish till midnight.

Some say the best restaurants in Lucca are outside the wall, but I graciously disagree because one of my favorites is, yep, in the historical center. So have your pick from restaurants inside and outside Lucca’s wall.

Restaurants inside Lucca's wall

1. Ristorante Giglio

One of my favorite restaurants in Lucca, Ristorante Giglio was recently awarded a Michelin star, yet it doesn’t necessarily charge Michelin star prices. As a cyclist, you know that teamwork makes dream work and it’s how they do it at Giglio. With three chefs, informed waiters, and a sommelier, dining here is an experience. (Header photo courtesy of Giglio.)

€€€ | Piazza del Giglio, 2, Lucca | (+39) 0583 49405

2. Gigliola

Gigliola is Ristorante Giglio's latest extension — where Giglio is sleek, Gigliola is cool and casual. Come here for aperitivo, casual dinners, take out, and good times. Expect the same high standards as Giglio but with music and local crowds that use nearby Vespas as props. If you're planning on riding Cipollaio the next day, this option might be a little light — but there is homemade bread, too.

€€ | Corso Garibaldi, 17, Lucca | (+39) 0583 392818

3. Osteria Dal Manzo

Built from the ground up, this quintessential Italian osteria elevates simple, local ingredients to creative, non-pretentious dishes. If you don’t normally eat octopus, Osteria Dal Manzo makes it approachable. The menu consists of veal, steak, and seafood at fair prices.

€€ | Via Cesare Battisti, 28 Lucca | (+39) 0583 490649

Osteria Dal Manzo from the outside
Osteria Dal Manzo. Photograph: Simone Orsucci

4. Osteria da Pasqualino Gubitosa

If you appreciate wine, you'll want to schedule Da Pasquale. Don't turn up to this restaurant without a reservation. A sign blocking the doorway will read: siamo al completo. Translation: we're full—bye-bye. Sommelier and host extraordinaire, Pasquale Gubitosa serves traditional Italian food. Think lean cuts of meat, truffle tartar and pasta.

€€ | Via del Moro, 8, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy | +39 0583 496506

5. Trattoria da Giulio

Trattoria, derived from trattare or preparare is historically a family-owned laboratory that "treats" or "prepares" local ingredients into simple dishes for any hungry body at affordable prices.

Since 1945, Sig. Giulio's trattoria inside the walls of Lucca has fed generations of Lucchesi. When you take a seat in this old tavern, it will likely be in the company of locals who have been coming since childhood.

Your bowl of pappa al pomodoro or zuppa di pane is served from the same simmering pot as the nonna, her daughter and grandson a few tables away. Da Giulio is a community space where folks leave with full stomachs before going back out into the world to weave messy, intricate stories we call life.

€ | Via delle Conce, 45, Lucca | (+39) 0583 55948

6. Buca di Sant’Antonio

Opened in 1782, Buca di Sant’Antonio is one of Lucca’s oldest restaurants and keeps to its origins with traditional Lucchesi dishes. It’s a classic cozy restaurant with pots hanging from the ceiling and easily one of Lucca’s most famous restaurants.

€€ | Via della Cervia, 3, Lucca | (+39) 0583 55881

7. Peperosa Ristorante

[Description coming soon]

€€ | Piazza dell'Anfiteatro, 4, 55100 Lucca LU, Italy | +39 0583 082361

Restaurants outside Lucca's wall

8. Cucina Dello Scompiglio

Occupying a modernly-renovated farmhouse on this 200-hectare estate in the Vorno hills, ingredients are gathered from the estate’s surrounding vineyards, orchards, olive groves and vegetable gardens, all grown using organic methods.

The real charm, though, derives from dining under the wooden veranda’s brightly-colored umbrellas with impressive views of the mountains toward the north.

€ | Via di Vorno 67/B, Vorno | (+39) 0583 971473

Restaurants_Lucca_Cucina-dello-Scompiglio
Overlooking the mountains from the wooden veranda of Cucina Dello Scompiglio. Photograph: Cucina Dello Scompiglio

9. Antica Locanda di Sesto

Antique is for fourteenth century, locanda is for inn and Sesto is for Sesto di Moriano, a suburb north of Lucca. Located along the Serchio river, this place has an old soul. Once used by Lucchesi tradesmen and celebrities like Puccini as a place to stay en route into Garfagnana, Antica Locanda di Sesto is now owned and operated by Aurelio Barattini. If celebrities didn’t exist back then, they do now as Aurelio is the charismatic figure behind this go-to place for Tuscan steaks.

€€ | Via Ludovica, 1660, Lucca | (+39) 0583 578181

10. Osteria Candalla

This ancient water mill makes for a particularly romantic place to spend an evening, if not from the vantage point of a balcony suspended over the river, then lounging under banana leaves on the river bank beneath.

It's a one-of-a-kind restaurant that merits a 35 km drive from Lucca. Their menu consists of reasonably priced, typical Tuscan dishes like tordelli al ragu, testaroli, wild boar, and chianina.

€€ | Via di Candalla, 264, Camaiore | (+39) 0584 984381

11. Serendepico

Tucked away in a peaceful setting out in the hills toward Montecarlo, the dishes here feature a Japanese-Italian fusion because, you guessed it, Japanese chef Masaki Kuroda oversees the kitchen. Thursday nights are dedicated purely to Japanese sushi.

€€€ | Via della Chiesa di Gragnano, 36, Capannori | (+39) 0583 975026

Why stop at the best restaurants in Lucca...

... when you can also get the best gelaterias? Sign up below and I'll send you my carefully curated list of ice-cream shops. They're selected based on the following criteria:

  1. Made without the use of artificial colors or flavoring
  2. Considered artigianale by Italian standards

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