Siena, Italy is a fabulous city to explore for a day or a weekend. And a classic part of experiencing Siena restaurants!
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So you’re planning a trip to Tuscany and want to see Siena. Once you’ve planned the basics of your trip, it’s time to think about my favorite part of any vacation: the food! These are some of my favorite restaurants in Siena!
It’s worth saying upfront that Siena has ridiculously good food options! There are at least four Michelin-starred places, lots of cheap eats options, and plenty of family-run osterias.
Siena isn’t huge in size, but a fairly big travel destination. That means reservations are pretty important if you want to eat well. I’d advise calling a week in advance for any nice meals you want – if you wait until the day before, they may be booked up! This still holds true in shoulder season too: things were very busy for our October visit.
One thing I recommend you not do: eat in the Campo. Just like Piazza San Marco in Venice, you’ll pay for the privilege of sitting there. Many of these bars and restaurants are geared more towards tourists than Italians anyway, meaning the food may or may not actually be good. My advice? Save your money and eat better for cheaper elsewhere.
La Compagnia dei Vinattieri
Of all the restaurants in Siena, start off with the best: La Compagnia dei Vinattieri. I love it because it strikes that classic Italian balance of impeccable food with cozy settings. Italians are passionate about good food, but unpretentious about making it accessible and a part of regular life.
The tasting menu is the way to go here, 100%. Sometimes tasting menus are absurdly expensive, making it something I rarely consider. But here you can have a gourmet four course meal for only 50€! Add in five glasses of wine for 10€ more, you won’t find a better deal in Siena.
We had a trio of appetizer bites including a fantastically light fried fish that was incredible. The pasta course may have been my favorite, with a pumpkin stuffed pasta and tagliatelle with ragu. The braised beef was served with the best gravy/jus I’ve ever tasted! And I’m from the south, so you know I’ve had my share of gravy!
It’s also worth saying that the staff here were impeccable. Our waiter was funny and friendly, making sure everything was exactly to our taste. We ended up shutting the place down and he gathered all the candles around us for our own private ambiance.
Trattoria Papei is a great no-frills place located just a block behind the campo. It’s most known for it’s massive platters of grilled meats! It’s also worth noting that the diners were at least 50% locals – you know a place is good when multiple old men are having an unhurried lunch there.
I especially like their boar ragu. It was the perfect balance of sauce and meat to pasta, and paired perfectly with their house red! It’s a great option for an inexpensive sit-down lunch.
Osteria Enoteca Sotto Le Fonti
If you’re in Tuscany, you need to eat a Florentine steak. These babies are massive and can easily feed two people, probably more. If we are planning to order one, we usually order two primi (pasta course) and one steak, and end up stuffed to the gills! It’s important to know that they’re expensive – estimate around 50€ for a 1kg steak, the minimum size available – but they’re incredibly good!
That being said, Osteria Enoteca Sotto Le Fonti does a great Florentine steak. It’s a family-run restaurant a bit down the hill from the middle of town. It’s the type of place that I’ll ask the waiter what to eat because her husband is the chef and she knows the star of the menu on a particular night.
Antica Osteria Da Divo
Possibly the most elegant restaurant in Siena I’ve included here, Antica Osteria da Divo serves Etruscan dishes. Similar but not exactly the same as Tuscan food, the Etruscans were the original settlers of this part of Italy. It’s the kind of restaurant you want to save for a luxurious wine-filled four-hour dinner – the kind of meal you’d talk about for years.
Not only is the food beautiful, but the space is too. It’s built into naturally occurring caves that feel like an upscale wine cellar. The ambiance is completed with artifacts dotting the space.
Bonus: even as a fine dining restaurant, they were happy to accommodate our dog. We were able to get a table in a corner and he happily stayed put the entire meal. As we stood up to go, the neighboring tables were actually surprised to see him – he’d been so quiet that they didn’t notice a 100 lb dog under the table!
Like all of Italy, food is a huge part of Tuscan culture. These restaurants in Siena will make you never want to leave! Or at least eat 5 meals a day while you’re here. If you need more ideas to plan your time in Siena, I’ve shared a travel guide perfect for day or weekend trips!