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Osteria Nonna Gina – Siena, Italy

November 3rd, 2009 · No Comments

Osteria Nonna Gina - Siena, Italy Osteria Nonna Gina - Siena, Italy Osteria Nonna Gina - Siena, Italy
While staying at the very nice Hotel Palazzo Ravizza, we decided that just a quick, light dinner nearby was what we were in the mood for. A few doors down from the hotel is this cute local restaurant, and it didn’t disappoint. It had the familiar ‘Le Guide Routard’ stickers on the window – usually a good sign – and we entered, were seated immediately at a pleasant table, and were given some menus.

After almost 2 weeks in Italy, we have finally learned that a normal meal for two people is really just one dish per person and maybe some vegetables or a salad. Really, ordering the antipasti, primi, and secondi plus a dolce is just suicide – you’ll be so full that you won’t be able to walk back to your hotel.

The menu was pretty standard – quite a few antipasti, about 8 pasta/soup dishes, about the sane number of mains, some vegetable sides, and desserts. We went with the pici – it’s the local Siennese pasta, and the waitress also recommended the gnocchi. A quarter litre of chianti for E1.80 and an insalata verde (green salad) for the two of us to share after the pasta.
Osteria Nonna Gina - Siena, Italy Osteria Nonna Gina - Siena, Italy
The pici was delicious! While its sauce doesn’t sound that great – it was basically a Bolognese-style ragu mixed with some cream and pesto – it was truly delicious, perfect for the thick, chewy pici – very similar to the bucatini of Abruzzo. The gnocchi were huge – about 1” in diameter, and stuffed with ricotta (I think) in a creamy pesto sauce, that while quite mild in flavour, was also quite good. Portion size was perfect – not too much, not too little – another course would have been too much food.

The salad was just a bowl of lettuce with olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the side – simple, but a perfect way to finish off the relatively heavy pasta dishes. Our waitress provided us with complimentary grappa and amaretto while we waited for the bill – and it came to an entirely reasonable E28.80 for 2 pasta dishes, a salad, wine, and a bottle of San Pelligrino.

My only two gripes were: the restaurant didn’t seem very clean. The wall next to our table was covered in age-old food splatter, the oil and vinegar bottles were dirty, grey goop fell off the top of the amaretto bottle, and I had a view of the bar which was covered in extremely dusty, cobweb-covered old bottles which, if clean – would have been charming, but the overall effect was it made me think that if the bar looked like that, I’d hate to see the kitchen. And finally, our poor waitress was run off her feet – it was only her serving the entire restaurant – I assume another service member called in sick because she was obviously overwhelmed and it took us about 40 minutes between the time we finished our salad to the time we had paid the bill. She was very pleasant and obviously doing her best, but at least on this night, staffing was a problem.

Clean the place – I mean really clean the place, get 2 servers, and you’ve got a gem. Otherwise, it’s clarity and color could use a little work.

Osteria Nonna Gina
Piano dei Mantellini 2, 53100 Siena, Italy
Tel: 0577 287247

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Tags: Italian · Siena

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