If you are looking for a restaurant in Chiusdino Tuscany in which to eat out, then I can personally recommend this small family-run one for its daily changing menu of home-cooking: just a mum in the kitchen. The Ristorante Il Minestraio.
Actually, the Il Minestraio isn't in Maremma as it is located in a Tuscan hill town on the Siena side of Maremma's metalliferous hills, so it shouldn't really feature in this guide. But it is only a short drive - albeit a twisty mountain route - from the hill towns of Montieri, Travale and Gerfalco that are in Maremma and deserves a recommendation for its home cooking. And so it holds an honorary mention amongst my collection of the best of Maremma restaurants.
TIP: Chiusdino makes for an ideal place to eat if you are visiting the ruins of the Abbey of San Galgano and the Sword in the Stone in the Montesiepi Chapel as the town is only about a twenty minute drive away. first and then along either of the three exit roads to the town. The route south from Galgano along the main Siena to Massa Marittima/Follonica (N.441) road heading towards Montieri is the quickest. There are two turnings on your right, so if you miss the first (easy to do if driving at any speed) there is a second option not long after.
The mum of the family who owns this restaurant is also the cook and she prepares a range of first and second courses (and traditional Tuscan desserts for those of you with a sweet tooth and room after) for each lunchtime and evening. But, be aware, once a dish has finished it is finished! There is no delving into the freezer for another portion here.
The menu for the lunch or dinner is normally run through at pace - in Italian, of course! - by the daughter when you are seated. There is always a daily choice of pasta and meat dishes, and sometimes (if you happen to be lucky) "cinghiale" wild boar.
The restaurant is very popular on a daily basis with the locals and people working in the area, so to avoid dissappointment book in advance or get there early. In any event arriving at the beginning of lunch or dinner will guarantee you a greater choice of meals. One lunchtime, a late diner had only the choice of tripe, with which he was entirely happy about nonetheless, but it's not my cup of tea!
There is a daily "tourist menu" - not just for the tourist! - which is great value.
What I particularly like about the cooking here is that even the chips - "fries" for the American readers amongst you - were real potatoes hand chopped and fried (you don't find those often anywhere and reminded me of when my mum used to make them), the portions are decent hungry real people sizes, and you can eat a first and second course ("primo e secondo") for around 15 Euros.
Il Il Minestraio is situated in an arched room at the rear of and below an old "pallazzo" apartment block above. In the summer there are a few tables outside with a view of the valley below.
TIP: As always with eating out in Tuscany in the spring and summer months, take your mosquito repellant with you so that you are the only ones eating well!
Although the daughter(s) are on their feet serving the whole time flitting in and out of the kitchen, the service is attentive and really friendly but not at all pushy. You can enjoy your plate of lasagna at whatever pace you choose. My kind of place.
Note for mums: the restaurant only has one toilet for everyone, but it is kept very clean.
Closed Tuesday lunchtimes.
Via del Fosso, N.1b, Chuisdino
Tel: +39 0577 751143
UPDATE: the restaurant now gives you menus - so you will have a better chance with an Italian phrase book in hand of grasping what the mum has cooked for the lunch or dinner on the day!
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