Best Kept Secret
A self confessed Foodie and bon viveur, there is no doubt that I have been lucky enough to discover and return year after year, to some of the most wonderful restaurants, in Argentario. Consider this to be my hommage as it were to the local culinary delights and my personal little black book of restaurants, delis etc.
I will be devoting each post to one particular Localita, so better consumed after lunch I would imagine. Instead of best til last, I am going to reserve this space for the very best of Tuscan cooking.
Da Sandra is something of an institution set in the very heart, of the picturesque town of Magliano. Just a short drive from Santo Stefano, and through the rolling Tuscan countryside following signs for Magliano, one will eventually behold the walls of the fortress, usually illuminated with that soft almost pink lighting, one seems to only get in Italy. Da Sandra is one of those gems, you would like to keep secret, but can't help but recommend it year after year to family and friends. Named after the infamous Sandra, the wife of the owner and chef behind the incredible food, Da Sandra has been around for as long as I can remember, and has always remained a real treat for my family. Indeed either for big birthday celebrations or a dinner out of season, when the town is more sleepy, there is something so soothing about going to Da Sandra.
The owner is also a lovely man, who after years of faithful clientele, greats us with a big smile and handshake, the waiters are also charming and warm, which is very much in keeping with this simple, yet elegant family run establishment. Apart form the wonderful atmosphere of the town, the inviting outside tables with big umbrella awnings, the food you sample here is Tuscan cooking at its best. Everything is in season, and the menu reflects this, from oven cooked Porcini mushrooms out of season to Truffle tagliatelle as early as May, you are spoilt for choice here. For this reason sampling an Antipasto Misto, amongst friends accompanied by a house Morellino, is the way to go if you want to get the full range of Tuscan palette. The Maialino al forno, suckling pig, is also just incredible!
Although more animated in the summer months, Magliano never feels over crowded or too busy, there is always a sense of refuge from the hustle and bustle of crowds which is somewhat a relief. Not to mention that visiting Magliano, always feels like a first time, which is unique in itself, you simply cannot tire of the cobbled streets, lined with tanned little bambini running around animatedly with their footballs and their grandparents languidly watching on, on a bench in the main piazza, it's nicely typical and authentic! I would recommend the passegiata through the cobbled streets to the end of the town where the view suddenly opens up to a spectacular backdrop of the Tuscan countryside, which is not only romantic but truly stunning!! I will also mention that there are plenty of wine Bottega's and even a gallery which offers more wonderful ways to explore the Tuscan culture.
There are, of course, many other restaurants which I will mention in future posts in Magliano, but for now it is going to have to be Da Sandra, setting the bar a little too high.