10 Unique Restaurants in Lucca, Italy | Lucca Cycling Club

10 Unique Restaurants in Lucca

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 Lucca 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 in Lucca. 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 the crown jewel of Lucca restaurants is, yep, inside the historic center. So have your pick from restaurants inside and outside Lucca’s wall.

Oh, and as the restaurant scene evolves and management changes, consider this list the latest iteration. Now let’s dig in!

Restaurants Inside Lucca’s Wall

1. Chiasso13

Formerly at Michelin-starred Giglio, this husband-and-wife duo opened their own bistro named after the quaint pedestrian-only alley where they’re located. Their continuously evolving menu of fresh, high-quality ingredients pushes the boundary of traditional Italian food and offers an escape from the usual.

Irrespective of category, Chiasso13 is easily the crown jewel of restaurants in Lucca — plus, they play music, too! It’s a small restaurant with limited outdoor seating, so be sure to reserve in advance.

€€ | Chiasso Barletti, 13, Lucca | +39 0583 569689

2. 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

3. 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

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. 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

Restaurants Outside Lucca’s Wall

6. 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

Overlooking the mountains from the wooden veranda of Cucina Dello Scompiglio. Photograph courtesy of Cucina Dello Scompiglio

7. 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

8. 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

9. 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

I hope this list serves you during your travels. Should you desire an outlet for your newly acquired high-octane fuel, I might also suggest accruing a few high-octane kilometers.

Buon appetito!

Two cyclists riding next to a building.

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