White Tablecoth Dining in Umbria

Though some of us may try to deny it, research shows we all come to a Italy for the food. (This is not to say we aren’t appreciative of the amazing art). Since cuisine is an integral part of a region’s culture, no one should be ashamed when they dig into a steaming plate of pasta with truffles or porcini mushrooms. After all, this is locavore stuff, food that is sourced within a local area. We are respecting Mother Nature and the seasons. When a trattoria won’t do and a meal in a “white tablecloth” restaurant is the order of the day (birthday, anniversary, or simply the love of discovering great places), there are dozens of fine dining establishments to choose from in Umbria.

Here are a few of our favorites:

Il Re Beve. Castello Casiglione, Collevalenza– the medieval castle and a great view from the terrace add to the varied and sophisticated menu. In summer ask for a table on the terrace; in winter get a table near the roaring fire. We like the caccia e pepe pasta with truffles, the meats, and the varied antipasti.

La Cantina dei Mercataccio, Todi– a restored medieval space in Todi’s historic center, this restaurant offers a menu full of interesting takes on local specialties. There is a small terrace or summer; the coved ceilings in the main dining room are hundreds of years old. We like the scrambled egg and truffle antipasto and the various seasonal dishes. cantinadeimercataccio@hotmail.it

Trippini, Civitella del Lago, between Todi and Orvieto– an incredible view and very sophisticated offerings from a clever young chef.

Roccofiore, Roccofiore near Todi– the view of Todi from the terrace is wonderful and the dining inside is also elegant. Lots of good wines from their own cellars add to the varied menu.

Antico Forziere, Casalina near Deruta– the rustic exterior hides the more formal dining room inside. Sophisticated menu prepared with a flourish.

Melagrano, Tre Vaselle Resort, Torgiano– located in the historic center of Torgiano, Tre Vaselle is part of the Lungharotti wine family’s projects. The restaurant offers along wine list, as well as local specialties.

Castello Montignano, Montignano near Massa Martana– this restored castle has a small sophisticated restaurant with a menu to match. The menu makes use of locally grown lentils, meats, and veggies.

Bontadosi, Montefalco this restored cardinal’s palace on the main piazza in Montefalco has a small upmarket restaurant with a new chef.
Our other Montefalco white tablecloth favorite is Coccorone.

In Trevi, the Taverna del Sette is charming with an ambience that ranges from relaxed to more formal.

The newest entry in the dressy dining group is Relais Paradiso in Torri. The chef is still getting the details worked out, but the setting is nice and what’s on offer so far is good.