My bucket list has a lot of stuff on it, nearly all of it food related. Il Papero Osteria had a few of my items on the menu and as we foolishly waited till our last night in Tuscany to eat there I had some ridiculously tough decisions to make. No to the Wild Boar. No to the Steak with Truffles. No to the handmade ravioli. So many potential regrets but the food I did eat was so incredible I didn't have any. Started with homemade pasta in a sweet, salty and tart vegetable sauce that inspired my appetite without filling me up. Next a Hunters Fry, a local specialty which was a lot like mixed Italian Tempura of chicken, rabbit and vegetables. Crunch and light, like the best fried foods, with no adornment it allowed the flavours of the top quality ingredients to shine. After that I was getting full so settled on Cantucci and Vin Santo for dessert while my boyfriend had the best example of Tiramisu I have ever tried. Compared to Australia the prices were laughably cheap - we paid less for the meal than we can pay for an average-priced bottle of wine at a restaurant in Melbourne.
The service perfectly walked the line between attentive and friendly yet unobtrusive, with both waiter and waitress happy to speak English and talk about the food. At the end of the meal the chef came out and had a nice chat with us about how we had enjoyed the cooking and it was wonderful to be able to sincerely tell him it was our best meal in Italy. The restaurant was filled with local families and it felt like a wonderful secret to have stumbled across.
I love Italian food and the dedication to local products and traditional recipes, but it was so exciting to be able to eat at a place that has added a few modern twists on the originals while retaining everything that is good. If you are nearby, or even not that close, I recommend taking a detour to Il Papero Osteria.
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