The 10 Top Places To Eat in Lucca

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My family lives in Lucca, a medieval town just outside Florence and only 10 minutes from Pisa. Known for the composer Giacomo Puccini and the olive oil Berio Lucca is quite a charming town to visit when in Tuscany. Over the years my favorite places are still running for business and when I get back to Lucca this is my list for the 10 top places to eat in Lucca. 

1. Panificio A. Giusti: Via Santa Lucia, 18
A traditional bakery Panificio Giusti is famous for its soft and delicious focaccia. The store is always crowded especially since it has been discovered by tourists. They offer a variety of foccaccia. Here the tip: ask for fresh and warm focaccia (calda, apnea uscita dal forno). Try their raisin and onion focaccia. They also just added pane nero (black focaccia/bread) which is amazing. Eat the focaccia right away otherwise it will become hard like a rock.

2. Pasticceria Pinelli: Via beccheria, 28
Near Piazza Grande this small and long bar/pastry shop is a must go for their focaccine farcite with tuna salad and tomato and their panini dolci with prosciutto crudo. This is a quick stop in the morning for your cappuccino before heading down to get some gelato at Gelateria Veneta. An interesting note: in Tuscany morning breakfasts are savory. We eat focaccia with prosciutto, valdostana (a pastry with tomato, prosciutto and cheese). While croissants are still an option, you will see them more frequently in the north regions of Italy.

3. Pizzeria da Felice: Via Buia, 12
The best pizza al taglio in Lucca is made in a tiny pizzeria with a big wood oven, not far from Panificio Giusti. Order one or two slices of pizza margherita or indulge in cecina, a flat bread made with chickpeas flour. Don’t expect any fancy service or a table. This is a quick stop for locals before you head out for a late night. You can also order for carry out.

4. L’Imbuto: Via della Fratta, 36
This Michelin chef will prepare some fine and innovative dishes all made with local ingredients. Ristorante L’ Imbuto is situated inside the Lucca Center of Contemporary Art. Don’t expect a traditional lactose or Italian meal. The restaurant does not even have a menu. Customers select whether they want to indulge in a light or laborious meal and from there it is a surprise. You can have steak served on a branch from the woods of Lucca accompanied with wild strawberries. 
Website: L’Imbuto

5. Pizzeria Sbragia: Via Fillungo 146
It was known as the best pizzeria in town. I am not sure whether that is still the case but it is still a popular place to eat pizza or do a carry out. They even deliver, which is a rare case in Italy. They will deliver your pizza on a bicycle which makes the experience even more special. 

6. Cioccolateria Caniparoli: Via S. Paolino, 96
If you are a lover of chocolate this place will not fail you. From the traditional sacher torte, to home-made chocolate spread and bars Cioccolateria Caniparoli tastes as good as it looks. Their prices are fair. For special custom-order make sure you order one week prior. Take it even further by taking one of their classes.

7. Gelateria Veneta: Via Vittorio Veneto, 74
This is the best gelato in town. The owners still use the same recipes from 1927 when it first opened. Whether you prefer fruit flavors like strawberry and lemon or rich flavors like chocolate and stracciatella this place will change your relationship with gelato forever. My favorite flavor is tiramisu. They opened different locations through out town, so watch out for their kiosks on Via Fillungo. 

8. Ristori, dessert and ice-cream: Via Fillungo 83
Ristori used to be a famous old fashioned profumeria, or perfumery with beautiful wood furniture and ancient floors. Eventually, over the years, with the increase of chain beauty retails such as Sephora the ancient perfumery closed and is now replaced by a gelateria/dessert. Here, you can find small delicious little desserts like tiny ice-cream balls on a stick covered in nuts and chocolate. Or even chocolate fondue.

9. Il Mecenate: Via del Fosso, 94
A traditional Tuscan/Lucchese restaurant Mecenate offers a variety of dishes all made with local ingredients. You can view a list of their food distributors on their site and I can assure you they are all authentic to the area. Here, you can taste crostini with lard, cod, rabbit and fried stuffed zucchini flowers - my favorite.
Photo Credit: Il Mecenate 

10. Port Ellen ClanVia del Fosso, 120
Cute and different restaurant with a sophisticated menu. This is not your typical Tuscan restaurant. They serve duck over mashed potatoes, steak tartare, and octopus. Their selection of wine is wide enough to give you options even on a budget.