Pisa is a splendid Tuscan city rich in history and culture. Eating in Pisa undoubtedly means trying traditional Tuscan cuisine made of meat, “ribollita”, but also fish and much more. The Pisan cuisine is healthy, good and reflects the true Tuscan tradition. Many of the typical dishes originated from the peasant tradition, a poor cuisine prepared with simple ingredients and which come mainly from the vegetable gardens and the countryside. Examples are the “bordatino”, soup with beans and cabbage; pasta and chickpeas, and “castagnaccio”, prepared with chestnuts. Among the meat-based dishes we find the typical cut of Pisan cow and tripe, while among the fish-based dishes, grilled cod and stewed stockfish are very important.
Which are the best restaurants in Pisa? Let’s see them below.
Osteria i Miei Sapori
In Pisa, located a few steps from the Leaning Tower in Piazza dei Miracoli, Osteria I Miei Sapori offers typical dishes and products of the Tuscan tradition, both meat and fish. The cuisine of this typical Pisan restaurant offers a vast assortment of stuffed pasta of its own production as well as prepared daily. Ingredients are dominated by the typical flavors of the Tuscan territory. These flavors range from earthy dishes carefully prepared with products originating from neighboring places. The family management of Enrico and Adele, in a rustic context but with attention to detail, will accompany you in the discovery of pecorino cheeses of various maturations and traditional cured meats of Garfagnana, such as “Bazzone” ham, ranging in the imaginative seafood appetizers, and continuing then with a vast assortment of filled pasta. You absolutely must try the Florentine steak, prepared with Pisano or Chianina cow, the wild boar “alla cacciatora”, or the specialties of the Tuscan coast: the “Cacciucco”, traditional fish soup from Livorno and the cod with leeks, typical of the cuisine of Pisa. The choice can also turn to a fresh fish of the sea, with typical dishes of the Tuscan coast. Macaroni with salmon and orange and pasta with grapes and pine nuts are also recommended. All accompanied by white and red wines of the territory: Chianti, Brunello, Bolgheri, Morellino, Vermentino and Vernaccia.
Osteria dei Cavalieri
In the historic center of Pisa, a few steps from the Normal University, the Osteria dei Cavalieri is a well-attended restaurant with simple environments and a cuisine with typical Tuscan flavors. The entrance hall of the restaurant is the basis of a 1200 house tower. The tables are framed by a characteristic stone. The menu is based on the Pisan and Tuscan tradition, with particular attention to the quality of the raw materials used. This cozy restaurant offers menus of land, sea and vegetables. The menu is inviting and varied: good local cold cuts, original Pisan cow meat, tender and tasty vegetables, warm handmade bread and incredibly refined desserts. Among its proposals we have: cheese flan with bean cream; fresh duck tagliatelle with carrots and juniper berries, Tuscan tripe; baked scamorza cheese with grilled vegetables; grilled squid with rocket and, to finish, pear and cinnamon tart or crunchy parfait. The menu is enriched by an important wine list that includes hundreds of Tuscan, Italian and foreign labels. Try also the fried bread stuffed with ham and the fried pasta with Tuscan ham. Or the pasta with aubergines and salted ricotta and the cut half cooked. It is advisable to book due to the influx of customers and the small size of the restaurant.
The Foresta restaurant is located in Marina di Pisa. Restaurant with an elegant setting overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea both from the internal veranda and from the beautiful outdoor tables, offers attentive service and excellent hospitality; the cuisine is of high quality and offers many fish dishes. This restaurant already existed in the early 1900s with the name Caffè Foresta. To date, the owners are the two brothers Benvenuti, Barbara and Alessandro, both sommeliers, who manage one of the best restaurants in Marina di Pisa with passion and professionalism. The restaurant offers its customers a cuisine linked to tradition and with the finest ingredients, as well as a cellar with more than three hundred wine labels, in a romantic and refined atmosphere, enhanced by the view of the sea. Warm welcome, an intimate atmosphere and an elegant setting in this restaurant which was one of the first bathing establishments in the area. From the terrace, in summer, and from the large windows, you can look out over the restaurant’s private beach in winter. Among the numerous dishes we point out: Pisan fish soup; squid with Mediterranean flavors with blue fish, capers, fennel, dried tomatoes and aubergines; the “mare in teglia” prepared with the catch of the day and flavored with cherry tomatoes, basil and thyme. To conclude with a dessert, the small pine nut meringues with whipped cream and berries.
Osteria Taviani is a small tavern in the main square of Bientina. To welcome you you will find the owners: the chef Alessandro and his wife Elena. The young couple passionately manages this pleasant restaurant with designer interiors: she is in the dining room, he is at the stove, and on the plate a fragrant line of modern cuisine (meat and fish) with solid foundations in the Tuscan tradition. The first room is simple but well-finished, then a bold and beautiful passage takes us to a more modern, contemporary and elegant room, set with linen tablecloths and crystal glasses. From the kitchen come well-conceived dishes: the countryside provides Alessandro, the young chef, with the best products to enrich his recipes. The cuisine of Osteria Taviani is based on the continuous search for products and dishes that combine traditional Italian cuisine with the techniques and care of contemporary methods. The menu of Osteria Taviani, in addition to proposing the seasonality of the products, also pursues the goal of the perfect combination of food and wine, through a selection of Italian and foreign labels. The wine list in fact winks at the natural and the territory but is well stocked with both Italian and foreign labels. During the summer, Osteria Taviani moves to its garden, offering the opportunity to spend evocative evenings in the open air. The garden is the ideal place for ceremonies, events, and special occasions.
Large, traditional and welcoming, the Galileo restaurant is located in via San Martino 6 in Pisa. Also known as a pizzeria, the Galileo restaurant has been open since 1986 and satisfies even the most demanding customer with its excellent Florentine steaks. Excellent Tuscan cuisine, family atmosphere, quality research and punctuality in service make it an ideal place to taste excellent dishes in the company of friends or family. To taste absolutely is the pappa al pomodoro (soup with tomato); mixed croutons; Tortelli with Tuscan ragù; pappardelle with hare; Ribollita; the Cacciucco; grilled squid; mixed fried seafood; risotto with curry asparagus and shrimp. Dinner at the Galileo restaurant begins with a wide range of appetizers: mixed Tuscan cold cuts such as Pratomagno raw ham, Colonnata lard, Tuscan salami and “soppressata” salami, courgette flowers in tempura, Buti olives and “pappa al pomodoro” “done the old way. This poor dish of the Tuscan culinary tradition is prepared with bread from the day before, tomato, garlic and basil; all simple, fresh and genuine ingredients. Like all the other dishes that Galileo offers on its menu: anchovies; cod with leeks; stockfish with potatoes and cuttlefish with chard: all poor but exquisite dishes. As for the wines, the cellar offers over 400 wine labels, most of which come from Tuscany. The choice is wide: it is possible to go from the wines of the Pisan hills, to the Tuscan red wines, to the white wines of Trentino up to those of Sardinia and Sicily.
The tavern “Il Granaio” is located a few steps from the Medici Villa, in the center of the town of Coltano, in the immediate vicinity of both the center of Pisa and Livorno. Osteria Il Granaio is a real institution. In addition to the excellent Florentine steak, a real flagship of the restaurant, many dishes can be tasted. From appetizers to first courses, Il Granaio offers ravioli, cold cuts, cheeses and meat of excellent quality. You will find a selection of Tuscan specialties, with particular attention to tradition able to rediscover the ancient flavors of peasant cuisine. Some dishes are made with the Pisano cow, a breed of cattle raised in the area. It is possible to taste the typical Tuscan soups, the Garfagnana pig, the Pisan lamb, farmyard animals from local organic farming, wild boar, extra virgin olive oil from the Pisan mountains and a wide selection of cheeses. The farms in the area are enhanced and in fact almost all the raw materials used in the preparation of the dishes come directly from Coltano or nearby towns and from the Migliarino, San Rossore, Massaciuccoli Natural Park.
Located in the center of Pisa, in via Cavalca 19, in this ancient trattoria everything is cooked on the spot: every ingredient for its dishes is carefully selected, and the meat is absolutely sublime. The restaurant was born in the post-war period as a small food shop. Once a destination for students, today Il Campano is one of the most renowned restaurants in Pisa. At Il Campano you will find only dishes made according to the dictates of the Pisan tradition but with a touch of modernity, and always respecting the principles that inspired the peasant tradition and good cuisine. Among the specialties of the restaurant we have: linguine with white guinea fowl ragu; chestnuts flavored with Vernaccia di San Gimignano; Florentine “gnudi” in pecorino and truffle fondue; pork fillet on caramelized apples with porto wine; ostrich steak served with grilled radicchio. In this restaurant you will find various local specialties such as the “peposo dell’impruneta” and duck leg with Brunello di Montalcino wine. Among the other typical dishes we also suggest trying the “ribollita” and Pisan-style tripe. The Antica Trattoria Il Campano is located inside an old medieval tower with an atmosphere as mysterious as it is inviting. There you will find a menu based on typically Tuscan dishes and a wine cellar consisting of a selection of more than 400 labels.
This pizzeria in Ghezzano, a fraction of the municipality of San Giuliano Terme just 15 minutes outside the center of Pisa, takes its name from the Greek mythology character Panacea, the goddess of healing. La Panacea was born as a pizzeria, but over the years it has also become a restaurant of excellence, worthy of being mentioned among the best in Pisa where you can eat an excellent Florentine steak. In addition to the pizza menu, you will find first courses, second courses of fresh fish or meat, and homemade desserts. A real journey into the tastes and flavors of the Tuscan tradition. The simple cuisine and at the same time continuously updated according to the availability of seasonal and local products, ranges between the tradition and the Calabrian origins of Carlo, so that among the appetizers, tasty Calabrian cold cuts, ‘nduja, “sardella” stand out, up to with chilli jam. Furthermore, here we only use extra virgin olive oil and peanut oil for fried foods, in fact, in accordance with the Italian tradition, the cream is not used. Much attention is paid to the meat and the breeds used. Homemade bread, special pizzas cooked in a wood oven. The desserts are mainly homemade and are constantly renewed. The menu, among other things, offers: buffalo caprese; flavors of the sea; fusilli in Sicily style; tagliolini with porcini mushrooms; rocket and shrimp gnocchi; pappardelle with sea pesto; seafood carbonara; Mexican ravioli; tagliolini with fresh crab. The wine list includes a good number of labels.