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“One of the Very Best!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Ristorante Al Pugnalone - CLOSED

Ristorante Al Pugnalone
Price range: US$22 - US$32
Cuisines: Mediterranean, Italian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Child-friendly, Groups, Local cuisine, Special Occasion Dining, Business meetings, Romantic
Dining options: Lunch, After-hours, Dinner, Reservations, Seating
Montalcino, Italy
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“One of the Very Best!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 May 2013

I've lived in Montalcino, Toscana for almost 20 years. It takes me a little more than a 1 hour drive from Montalcino to Aquapendente to eat at Francesco and Mara's restaurant and I do so as often as I can. I had the pleasure of taking two dear friends there a few days ago for lunch thinking that they had never been there before but Dan (Daniele) and his wife Janice (Giovanna) from the USA reminded me that I'd taken them to Pugnalone once before, a couple of years ago, when they last visited me in Montalcino. Nothing had changed they said, fabulous inventive dishes by Francesco, the warm welcome and attention by his wife Mara, extensive wine list and very reasonable prices for such fine food. It's well worth a detour no matter where you are going, make sure you stop here!
Luigi

  • Visited May 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Luigi D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

235 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    174
    34
    9
    7
    11
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Leeds, United Kingdom
1 review
“Hidden gem for Brits craving authenticity”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 May 2013

An absolute gem of a restaurant for lovers of authentic Italian food.
The setting couldn't be better, with the restaurant sat just off the main square in the medieval hill top village of Acquapendente, 30 mins or so from Orvieto.

The restaurant itself is warm & welcoming, the staff are helpful & friendly & the owner & chef Francesco is obviously very passionate about what he presents on a plate to his customers. You recognise immediately, that a lot of thought & effort has gone into creating the menu with its emphasis on fresh ingredients, taste & regional authenticity. We discovered talking to the staff that although the restaurant sources the ingredients locally it also sources ingredients from further afield in order to keep the menu varied & fresh (the delicious Harewood venison we tried was sourced 10mins down the road from where we live in Leeds!!) but don`t think that dining here will cost the earth because we found as a couple that the prices were very reasonable.

Germans, Americans & Japanese visit this area & not so many of us English, but for those of us that do, I would recommend that if you are in the region & you want to experience genuine Italian regional cuisine then Al Pugnalone should feature top of your list of places to eat.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank mick m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chicago
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“The best”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 May 2013

We discovered Al Pugnalone on accident while waiting for a different restaurant to open. Our friends sat down in a small shop and ordered some some antipasti (we were very hungry). Mara was our hostess, and when we told her why we were waiting around in her shop, she told us that her husband owned the best restaurant in Acquapendente. We sent a couple friends over with Mara to check it out and they came back jittery with excitement. "We have to go there," they said.

We changed our plans and went to Al Pugnalone, and wow are we ever glad we did.
When we entered the restaurant, our eyes immediately lifted to the gorgeous vaulted ceiling. A fountain trickled over rocks in the far wall of the vaulted room, a delight to our ears. We learned that the dining room is actually a 1,000 year old converted stable, and the the fountain flows from a natural spring. So for ambiance, Al Pugnalone has it all. We were enchanted, to say the least.

I'm not a food writer, so it's difficult for me to describe in precise terms the extent to which we enjoyed chef Francesco Sacco's creations. It was some of the best food we had in all of Italy--and since Italy served us some of the best food we'd eaten in all our lives, that put Ristorante Al Pugnalone at the top of our lists for best ever. The service was wonderful as well. We made friends with our hostess, Mara, and with the fantastic British cook, Joe, who also helped translate some of our more detailed questions. We were exceedingly impressed with Acquapendente's local wine, Saino vino rosso, and now all of us want to order cases of it to be shipped to the States.

We ate at Ristorante Al Pugnalone on our last night in Italy after visiting Florence, Rome, Pompeii, San Casciano dei Bagni, Trevinano, Naples, and Acquapendente. It was the perfect way to end our stay, and one of the most magical, memorable dining experiences any of us have ever had. I only wish it wasn't half a world away from where we live. I'd go back tonight (and next week, and the week after, and the week after...).

  • Visited March 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Drammattex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rome, Italy
Level Contributor
4 reviews
“Make a detour to Al Pugnalone”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 February 2013

Our second visit to Al Pugnalone (the re-modeled osteria side -- attached to the more formal ristorante) was again a delicious treat. The best local ingredients, a changing menu, a great chef, warm service, and reasonable prices that can't be found in Italy's major cities. The little-known northern Lazio region is full of wonderful places to eat -- and Al Pugnalone is among the best. Aside from our great antipasti (fagioli con cotiche, scamorza), we enjoyed gnocchi -- cooked with top-quality mozzarella and delicious cherry-sized tomatoes said to come from the Mt. Vesuvius area -- as well as pasta delicately flavored with baccalà. Alongside the dishes, there was a selection of home-made breads flavored with poppy seed, curry, and cheese -- not to mention fresh, spongy foccacia. To make our meal complete, we enjoyed a little-known local red wine (Saino) that visitors to the region should seek out.

  • Visited February 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank hankandelvis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rome, Italy
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Comfort food”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 18 February 2013

I have been coming to Francesco's kitchen for seven years. The experience is always superb. It's hard to imagine a more creative chef. Classic Italian foundation, fresh local ingredients, yet subtle and creative interpretations that leave you convinced you are experiencing this cuisine for the very first time. Each time I am reminded of the comment of an American friend - a twenty year resident of Rome - after enjoying a lunch in Ristorante Al Pugnalone: "What on earth is this restaurant doing in a small town like this?!! Not to be missed!

  • Visited February 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank JeffandRobin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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