In Italy, a good bit of advice when it comes to eating out is to avoid the large touristy piazzas, occasionally though this rule doesn’t isn’t applicable and in this particular instance it couldn’t be further from the truth. Trattoria da Leo is a small family run operation just off one of the main piazzas. Serving traditional Lucchesi classics, plus a few Italian favourites, it is a great place to mix with the locals and sample some amazing traditional fare.
It is true of most restaurants, that it is usually a good sign when the majority of the customers are natives. In Italy, where there are so many tourists all looking for the best places to eat, it is arguably even more important. The tourist traps are overpriced and the food is a usually a poor reflection of the region.
Lucca is in the heart of Tuscany and this means you can expect hearty stews, slow cooked meats, and plenty of vegetables, Trattoria da Leo is the perfect purveyor of this and its menu is full of classics.
Service is prompt and friendly and the portions are all extremely generous, which is not something that you often find in Italy. My favourite dishes from are the grilled pork chop, served with an excellent salsa verde and the baccala, slowly cooked in a milky sauce until it practically melts in your mouth. The vegetable are equally good, especially the stewed fennel, which is very slow cooked in plenty of olive oil and some balsamic vinegar. For desert make sure you don’t miss the Biscotti al Mais or the cantucci, a mixture of homemade almond biscuits from the region and both come served with Chianti Classico vin santo, the most famous Tuscan sweet wine.
This is the perfect example of simple, delicious food served in an unpretentious, relaxing environment, and to me that is what Italian cuisine is all about.
Trattoria da Leo
Meal and wine for two including tip: £15
Address: 1 Via Tegrimi, Lucca
Website: Trattoria da Leo
Open: Mon-Sat 12pm-2.30pm – 7.30pm-10.30pm