Cocoa: Unbelievable Gelato, Chocolates and Sweets
Cocoa is the celebrated gelato/dessert place in Cortona. It's tucked off on a side street with a small sign. You could walk past it without even noticing it except for an ice cream cone statue outside of the door. The shop is small but packed with a large variety of home made gelatos, pastry, candies and chocolates. The owner is a friend of Liz's family and extremely friendly (and he speaks English). He enjoys telling you the specialty gelato of the day and gives free samples of flavors before you make a selection.
I was told ahead of time that the gelato will ruin ice cream for me forever...boy was that a true statement. The gelato was unbelievably rich and creamy and the cone was delicious with a hint of cinnamon and vanilla to it.
Favorite Dish: I was happy to have eaten tons of gelato on this trip. My favorite flavor was the Tanzania Chocolate and the Pistachio. The Strachitella ice cream was also very good; yummy vanilla with chocolate ribbons throughout the ice cream. Liz's favorite hand down was the chocolate but she's a chocolate nut. Liz's Uncle was a big fan of the Strachitella and the Chocolate mixed together. We snuck out for ice cream several times since Liz's Aunt thinks gelato is bad for us and we shouldn't eat it (so we didn't tell her of our gelato trips).
Caffé La Saletta: Wine bar with a lovely street café
We all enjoyed our late lunch at this Enoteca - or Wine bar - which had outdoor serving as well.
The street restaurants were in a row in this charming street of Cortona, and we sat down and had a lovely break from all our walking.
Favorite Dish: Excellent pizza, wine of the house was a good choice, and the kids enjoyed their crêpes with cream and strawberries.
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Locanda del Molino: Incredible Food and Atmosphere
This is the place to come for incredible atmosphere, food, wine and hospitality beyond your wildest dreams. The inn/restaurant was once an old mill. The owners of the restuarant Silvia and Riccardo are imagine people with a zest for life, food and wine. The dining room is basical a large room with several rooms within it. The stone walls and rustic accents give that Tuscan feel to the place. There is also a large terrace area for outdoor dining which is very charming. We came to Molino as a special farewell to Tuscany dinner. It was the tail end of the Tucan Sun Festival in Cortona so Frances and Ed were in atetndance with their daughter Ashley and grandson.
We were seated at a large table and immediately offered an drink from Silvia and Riccardo. The menu has some meats, chicken, fish, pasta and vegetable dishes. Jim decided that we would order several dishes for the table: griled meat, salads, grileld vegetables, Tusacn white beans and cheese. The meat was perfectly cooked and seasoned. The vegetables and beans were very good. The wine flowed and complimented the meal perfectly. Desserts were passed aound as well as Lemoncello and proseca. Ricardo took us out to the terrace to open the first bottle of their vinyard's sparkling white wine (Baracch vineyards). He had Ed ceremonously cut off the top of the bottle with a saber. It was incredible to see the saber flash as the champagne was released from it's bottle with a swift motion. The champagne was very good and it was an excellent night of good food, good people and excellent conversation.
I will definitely return to Sivia & Riccardo's place for another incredible Tuscan meal.
Cory's: Incredible Tuscan Food
Cory's is a favorite restaurant of Liz's family. They are good friends with the owner and have had several parties here. It's a nice family owned restuarant that also has a hotel. The owner's children act as busboy and junior waitress and are very well mannered. Liz had eaten here previously when she visited with her Mom and now It was my turn. We were seated at an outdoor table under a billowing white tent with candles lit every where. The atmosphere was unbelievable........ The menu had a variety of Tuscan dishes but when Cory came over it was time for the specials. As usual with me I ordered fromthe specials. I had the pasta with wild boar ragu. Liz ordered the gnocchi with beans and tomatoes. Liz's Aunt had some kind of grilled fish with lemon and beans. Jim had a filet with a balsamic vinegar glaze. On the table there was some great Italian bread with a fruity olive oil for dipping as well as a tasty olive tapenade spread. Liz's Uncle ordered some wine for the table; a bottle of white and a bottle of red. Cory brought out some grilled octopus with grilled vegatables and olives as an appetizer. Wow...the octopus was incredible...I loved the smokey taste. My pasta was very good and I was glad I ordered it. I didn't know if I'd like it at first but it was very good and the meat was tender and flavorful. Liz loved her pasta but couldn't finish her plate. Dessert was a tray of cut up fruits. There was a cream sauce to dip the fruit into as well as a chocolate hazelnut sauce. It was very good but I couldn't handle more than three pieces...I was stuffed.
It was a wonderful dinner and I was glad to have dined in one of their favorite places.
Favorite Dish: The Olive tapenade and bread was very good. I enjoyed my main dish and the tender boar meat. Dessert was good but I was too full to eat alot of it. The red wine was excellent and I made sure to have Liz jot down the name of it.
Gelateria Dolce Vita: Best gelato in Cortona!
Some of the best gelato that I have tasted. Definitely worth getting a few scoops and strolling to the Piazza to enjoy it.
Favorite Dish: I seem to flock to the fruity flavours and seem to order 'frutta di bosco' more often than not. But this gelateria had one of the more unique flavours that you rarely stumble across - aceto balsalmico (balsalmic vinegar!). It was fantastic - sweet and tangy but not too aggressive.
Ristorante Tempero: A nice little restaurant...
A quaint little restaurant that gives you the option of sitting inside or outside on its mini, yet expansive, courtyard. A reasonable yet not entirely inexpensive restaurant is satisfying, with a diverse menu - local, Tuscan options; Brasilian options (I believe harkens to the owner's background); and vegetarian options.
Favorite Dish: It's one of the restaurants in Cortona where you can enjoy the regional specialty of 'Pici al Cinghiale.' Pici is a pasta that is a specialty of the region, similar to a fat spaghetti. And 'Cinghiale' is wild boar.
Trattoria Dardano: Have the rabbit!
The Trattoria Dardano is a fantastic little spot on one of the main drags in Cortona. The menu is expansive and very reasonably priced. In the entryway, the owner is pictured with several famous personalities including Robert Redford (!) and Mariska Hargitay (my fave from Law and Order: SVU).
The 'vino rosso della casa' is a specialty to the restaurant and has been dubbed "Vino Dardano." It was one of the best house wines that we had and rang in at a ridiculously inexpensive 5 Euro!
Opens at 7:30pm on most nights and you should get there early or wait for a table... you won't regret it!
Favorite Dish: The rabbit was unbelievable as a 'secondi' or second plate of the evening. The Tuscan white beans in olive oil were also unbelievable. We ordered them again, the next time that we ate there! Also of note was the mix of grilled meats and the chicken (though the rabbit was much more flavourable in contrast).
Caffe degli Artisti: Worth taking a seat!
This is a nice little spot for you to find typical, local Tuscan food.
Favorite Dish: We had a fantastic lunch here one day. I ordered the most brightly coloured and flavourful Insalata Caprese - sweet, juicy tomatoes, crisp basil and tender bocconcini drizzled with fruity olive oil and balsalmic. My friend ordered a Truffle pizza which was decadent and extremely filling. Handmade crust covered with mushrooms, fontina and truffle oil. It was a great pair of dishes that complemented one another in how remarkable different they were. Each was a nice break on the palette for the other.
Caffe Degli Artisti: Charming and friendly
I was so cold and hungry when I walked into this friendly little cafe. The young man working there immediately started speaking English to us and made sure we were comfortable and well taken care of. Every time I looked over at the bar he was peering over making sure I was ok. We ordered lunch and he brought us over a complimentary appetizer of bruschetta. Charming photographs of local history adorned the walls, and ambient Italian music played in the background. This was by far some one of the best food places we ate in Italy.
Favorite Dish: I ordered the tortellini verdi and coffee and it was delicious! My mom ordered the lasagna and said it was the best she had ever eaten. We sat for hours there and watched the locals come in and out. We talked to the waiter about Cortona and it's history. I never wanted to leave!
Trattoria Dardano: Fantastic Trattoria
This is a small, family run restaurant just up the street from the main square. The food quality is top notch as is the service. The prices were very, very reasonable. I would go back here in a second.
Favorite Dish: Try the rabbit.
Tonino: Wine with a view
Tonino is situated just off of the Piazza Garibaldia, likely your introduction to the town. The views over the hills are stunning and especially relaxing at the end of an afternoon of sight-seeing. Sit out on the deck and not inside if the weather is nice.
Amazingly you will not even pay through the nose to enjoy your glass of Tuscan wine. So grab someone cute and enjoy a languid evening!
Favorite Dish: The white wines are superb.
La Bottega Degli: Elbow to elbow
I remember this place well. There was room for about three tables and twelve people. They had five tables and about 20 chairs. I think the atmospheric word "close" covers it but, the food was good and the staff were friendly and it didn't break my budget.
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