The continuing closure of Bagni di Lucca’s very popular Trattoria Borghesi, which was founded in 1900, causes nostalgic feelings among those ex-regulars who used to enjoy excellent “home” cooking at very affordable prices. There were signs that all was not well with the restaurant when the main dining room with its floral decorations was closed down due to a rent dispute. Further complications (and certainly not economic ones) caused Borghesi to fasten its shutters almost two years ago now. These pictures show how we remembered it.
Fortunately all is not lost if one seeks a tasty and economical lunchtime nosh in Bagni di Lucca, Villa. Next to Rudy bar (where the most delicious and glycerine-free ices can be had – though not in winter!) and part of the same establishment at Via Val di Lima, 72A Bagni Di Lucca (i.e. on the Brennero Abetone road and near Boldi’s garage) is the Osteria Del Buongustaio. We had already discovered it some time ago and, again, yesterday I decided to see what it had on offer for “worker’s lunch” at euros 10.
For first course I chose the ravioli with sage and butter sauce which I found so moresome that I finished eating them before remembering to take a picture!
The second course was beef (manzo) with vegetables (contorno). If one wanted more than one veg extra ones could be added at a small price but I stuck to French fries with mine. As usual, the beef is what many brits would call underdone and next time I choose it I’ll ask them to cook it a bit more. The chips were ok but somewhat over-crispy! Included in the price was excellent wholemeal bread, half a litre of water (I chose sparkling) and a quarter litre of drinkable red house wine.
Service was quick and courteous, the ambience was tasteful and if I ever find myself with an empty stomach in the vicinity at lunchtime I’ll be there!
A word of warning: only cash payments are accepted (as is normal with many other Italian family-run places).
For those who only go by what Trip Advisor says, l’Osteria del Buongustaio comes no. 15 in a list of 23 eating places in the whole of the Bagni di Lucca comune. Borghesi used to come at no.13 and the elegant Circolo dei Forestieri is classified at no. 8. No 1 is the Biribisso at Granaiola, a good twenty minutes’ drive up a narrow and twisty mountain road. No 2 is the brilliant Buca di Baldabò at even further away Vico Pancellorum. And no 3 is the Cavallino Bianco at Benabbio, yet another mountain village.
The evidence of this is that the most acclaimed restaurants of Bagni di Lucca are not in Bagni itself but some way outside and usually up a mountain! Fine if you have time to go there but not quite so convenient if you want to remain in town.
Incidentally, “Osteria Del Buongustaio” means “Foodie’s Inn (or pub or tavern)’. A “trattoria” is strictly speaking a more modest sort of restaurant but, as far as my experience is concerned, both words add up to very much the same thing.