As you may know from reading my previous posts, I visited Italy, specifically Tuscany, Venice, and Milan, over Thanksgiving last year. In planning my trip, I went back and forth in trying to decide whether to do a wine tour in Tuscany. On the one hand, we really love wine and we have never done a proper Italian wine tour. On the other hand, the vineyards would be bare and the wine production would really be at a standstill. I finally decided not to stay in wine country, but I did go on a “Winter Wine Tour” with Grape Tours out of Florence. Grape Tours was one of the only companies (if not the only company) offering wine tours in late November (and throughout the Winter) and I’m not sure why, as our tour certainly booked up!
Lucca, Italy has no shortage of restaurants. Prior to visiting, I scoured countless reviews on Tripadvisor, Yelp and several foodie travel blogs to find a great place to make a reservation before arrival (I always like to have one recommended reservation before visiting a new city). While not at the top of all lists, several blogs/reviews highly recommended 1586 Osteria Cantine Bernardini, so I made a reservation for dinner on our first night in Lucca. It was certainly not a mistake. It was there that I had my favorite meal of the entire trip, and we enjoyed the food so much that we went back for lunch the next day!
Located in the center of Lucca, Cantine Bernardini is situated in a cellar on the back side of Plazzo Bernardini. Most of the seating is outside. The waitstaff was extremely nice, all spoke English and were happy to explain the various dishes, including the specials. I would describe the food as modern Tuscan, and absolutely delicious!
For our first-night dinner, I started with a Lucca specialty – cecina! Cecina is a chickpea dish, which Bernardini served with local vegetables and pumpkin. Very delicious, and not too filling. A good choice for a starter.