Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Trattoria da Leo, Via Tegrimi, Lucca

Trattoria da Leo, Via Tegrimi, Lucca
Tuesday 12 September, 2006

I wouldn't have thought it was possible to top off our day at the vineyard....but Trattoria da Leo was a little gem. We had heard this was the best (and only) place for dinner in Lucca and took off through the cobbled streets with no real idea where we were headed. With no reservation we were quietly confident and turned down one laneway on a hunch which revealed the trattoria and a decent sized group waiting outside. Oh no...luckily we had arrived just as the restaurant opened, so they were happy to squeeze us in.

Inside it's rustic with a small dining space, red walls and intriguing artwork including photographs and paintings. There are wooden tables and chairs with paper tablecloths that were branded with the restaurant name. We've noticed this a lot in Italy so far & it certainly saves on the washing up bill.

We were greeted in Italian and responded. Surprisingly, our waitress thought we were Italian and launched into a welcome. We didn't correct her and she took our drink orders. Sadly, we could read the menu (we could understand the odd menu item but the majority of it didn't mean a thing). We confessed to our waitress when she returned and the look on her face was one of devastation. She took us through each item and left us to ponder.

I ordered the roast pork and vegetables and my dinner buddy ordered the grilled veal and vegetables. The atmosphere of Trattoria da Leo was warm, friendly and relaxed - the dining space was small so you could hear conversations at other tables and it felt like you were dining with friends. At one point the lights went off and out came the staff with a birthday cake and everyone joined in with 'happy birthday'.

Our meals arrived and were enormous. The meat was delicious - cooked so that I could enjoy the spectrum of pink, rare centre and crispy outer skin. The vegetables were also very good and we savoured each mouthful in this gorgeous setting.

We were having so much fun that we succumbed to dessert. I went with the traditional tiramisu and my dinner buddy ordered the torte with figs and nuts. The tiramisu was divine, light, rich and decadent.

I never thought I'd quote Marcia Hines but, 'that's what I'm talking about!'. It's sums up our meals and the experience perfectly.

Trattoria da Leo - Via Tegrimi 1, Lucca - 0583492236



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