I have been fortunate to travel to different parts of Tuscany several times over the past fifteen years. The general level of restaurants in the region has definitely improved in the past decade or so. Even given the ongoing economic crisis in Italy, the region is richer and more modern than ever, excellent wines even more numerous and better than ever, and the regional hospitality business has learned quite a lot dealing with well-to-do and often demanding international tourists who flock to the famous region each year. Tuscan cuisine, long reliant on land often best suited to grapes and olives rather than a wide array of vegetables and fruits, has never been among the most exciting in Italy. And, the traditional bread, which is found everywhere, has no salt, which is odd, and can taste odd.
No matter, when done well Tuscan cooking can be very satisfying – it is in Italy after all – and it has even grown very interesting around the edges, as creativity has become more evident. Even at neighborhood trattorias a tad off the beaten path, presentation and the array of tempting dishes has grown over the years.
Here are eleven restaurants to recommend when in Tuscany, listed from north to south. Ten was not quite enough. This is by no means exhaustive, or a list of the best, as there are plenty of other excellent restaurants in this wonderful region. These are just ten that you are likely to have a very enjoyable Tuscan meal from various parts of the region.