There is something both straightforward and enigmatic about Garfagnana. Located less than one hour’s drive from Lucca, this raw, untamed area in the heart of Tuscany feels like a world away. With its dense forests, sleepy towns and emerald green lakes and rivers, Garfagnana is a place that teaches you to feel comfortable with your own solitude.
In this article, I’m sharing my favorite restaurants to eat in Garfagnana. Besides stopping for tordelli at Ristorante Da Michele in Tereglio, if you go, be sure to visit Romanesque-Gothic Barga and swim in the waters of Lago di Isola Santa.
Where to eat in Garfagnana
Like most of Tuscan cooking, the cuisine of Garfagnana is simple and rustic, relying on humble ingredients including vegetables, beans, barley and spelt. Trouts are also common, because of the many lakes and rivers in the area. Fresh pasta is not to be missed in restaurants – from tordelli to ravioli to pappardelle, you’ll want to eat at these restaurants again and again.
Best restaurants in Garfagnana, Tuscany
Ristorante Da Michele (Localita’ Campogno 2, Tereglio LUCCA). This traditional, family-run ristorante in Tereglio, close to the town of Lucignana, is my absolute favorite in all Garfagnana. It serves fantastic pasta ripiena, including tordelli (be sure not to call them tortelli in this area of Tuscany) and ravioli. The vino della casa is decent and particularly nice if you get to eat in the open-air veranda, which I highly recommend in the warmer months. The family who owns the restaurant is extremely friendly – dining at Ristorante Da Michele feels like dining at your grandmother’s house.
Caragetta Resort (Via della Ceragetta 1, Capanne LUCCA). Caragetta Resort includes both a hotel and a restaurant with breathtaking views. The menu is a little old-fashioned, but the fresh pasta is truly memorable, as are the dishes featuring funghi porcini.
Vecchio Mulino (Via Vittorio Emanuele 12, Castelnuovo di Garfagnana LUCCA). More than just a restaurant, Vecchio Mulino is an enoteca and alimentari (grocery store) with an excellent wine selection. Owner Andrea Bertucci is a true Slow Food personality and working hard to have customers trying Garfagnana specialities, including well-loved biroldo, a traditional soft-textured blood sausage.
Ristorante Da Sandra (Loc. Valsozza, Fabbriche di Vergemoli LUCCA). This restaurant serves some of the best polpette di carne (meatballs) in the whole planet. They’re included in the antipasto, so be sure to ask for them – you really do not want to miss them. So creamy and delicious, they literally melt in the mouth. Other highlights include tordelli al ragù and tagliatelle ai funghi.
It can take some time to fully understand Garfagnana but I hope you’ll give this region the time it deserves to be enjoyed. It could become a place particularly dear to your heart.