Pisa Restaurants and Dining
(Pisa, Tuscany, Italy)
Pisa, Italy is full of wonderful and exciting places to eat out, with a wide choice of every kind of food imaginable. The many stylish locations in Pisa and wide variety of superb, mouth-watering menus, often with an emphasis on fish, make Pisa dining an enjoyable experience. Pasta combined with excellent local produce, such as fresh tomatoes, olive oil and rich Italian cheeses all combine to create the wonderful and delightful flavours associated with Italy. Whether you are looking for a romantic meal for two or trendy, lively Pisa dining, the only problem is deciding where to go, as there are so many restaurants in Pisa to choose from!
Where to Eat
Dining in Pisa around the Campo dei Miracoli can be very expensive, although the Piazza does have picturesque surroundings and a historic ambiance provided by Pisa's foremost historic monuments which frame the arena.
If you were looking for better value restaurants in Pisa, you would be advised to eat in the vicinity of Piazza Cavalieri and Piazza Dante. These squares are where the Pisan's dine, as well as the city's students and therefore prices are likely to be more reasonable.
Most places to eat in Pisa, like the rest of Italy, warmly welcome children, although this may not be the case during evenings or in the more choice restaurants.
There are many different types of food served in Pisan restaurants, although most offer a standard Tuscan menu with an emphasis on fresh produce. Regional recipes tend to contain highly spiced, robust, simple ingredients. Many Tuscan meals include beans in some shape or form, giving rise to the nickname 'mangiafagioli' (bean eaters) from residence of other Italian regions. Specialities in Pisan cuisine include 'ciechi alla Pisani' (baby eels in garlic and tomatoes), 'baccalà alla Pisana' (dried cod) and other fish and seafood dishes.
Meals and Courses
Colazione, or prima colazione, (breakfast), pranzo (lunch) and cena (dinner) are the primary Italian meals.
An Italian's breakfast constitutes of little more than a cup of strong coffee and brioche (jam or custard filled buns), though bars and cafés do serve a choice of cold meats in rolls.
Pisan's tend to eat lunch (pranzo) at around 13:00 and dinner (cena), the main meal of the day from 20:00 onwards. Menus for lunch and dinner do not vary greatly and both meals consist of several courses.
Tuscan antipasto may include ham, which can be raw or cooked, a variety of salami, seafood, olives and crostini (toasted pieces of bread coated in garlic and olive oil and topped with tomato, anchovy or liver paste).
Primo Piatto (First Course)
Italian first courses tend to be pasta, polenta, rice or soup based, traditionally designed to fill up the diner before the main meat or fish course.
A typical Tuscan pasta dish is 'pappardelle alle lepre' (noodles in hare sauce). However, a characteristic first course in Tuscany would be soup of which 'ribollita' (an extremely thick soup based around beans, bread, cabbage, vegetables and herbs) and 'zuppa di fagioli' (bean soup) are atypical. Common to Pisa, as a coastal city, is 'cacciucco' (fish soup).
Secondo Piatto (Main Course)
Meat or fish are the mainstay of this course. These can be served alone as in the case of the dish 'arosto misto' - a variety of roasted meats, such as chicken (pollo), lamb (agnello) and pork (maiale), or with an optional contoni (side dish) of vegetables or salad (insalata). Side dishes are usually at an extra cost to the meal.
The dessert course in Italian cuisine is not generally its strongest point and so diners may wish to opt for fruit (frutta) or a selection of cheese (formaggio). Popular cheeses in Tuscany are 'pecorino' (made from sheep's milk) and 'ricotta'. However, a speciality to the region, which is worth sampling, is 'cantucci', almond biscuits dipped in the dessert wine 'Vin Santo'.
Frequently, Italians will round off a meal with a black coffee (espresso).
Tuscany produces red and white wines although the reds are considered to be superior. Probably the regions most widely known wine is 'Chianti', however, 'Brunello' and 'Vino Nobile' are make more of a name for themselves.