I’d last been to the buonissimo Montefalco ristorante, La Locanda del Teatro, a few years ago; at that time, housed in the Palazzo Bontadossi flanking Palazzo Comunale (City Hall) on the town’s main piazza………..and taking its name, “Inn of the Theater,” from its location next door to the Montefalco teatro, Teatro Filippo Neri.
On a recent visit to Montefalco for research in the Museo di San Francesco…..
…..what a surprise to see the sign, “Locanda del Teatro,” on a stone building next door to the museum in a tiny piazzetta:
Built of brick with a small tower and a wooden staircase attached to the noble palazzo adjacent, I was to learn that the building was once the carriage house of the adjacent noble palace.
Some guests were seated under the wooden steps once climbed by the nobility when leaving their carriages behind and re-entering their palazzo: Paolo, maître and co-owner, told me about the history of the building during lunch there recently with tour guests, Ann and Fred. What buona fortuna to find the Locanda del Teatro once again, although no longer attached to the theater: they had moved to this new ambience just in August of this year.
Paolo is as I remembered him: beaming as he presents each dish with finesse and always dressed con classe. When we were there, we admired his bowtie: he showed us proudly that it is made of wood!
And Paolo served us an “edible” smile as soon as we were seated.
Our “Welcome Smile” – the name of a dish served to each guest on arrival – was a vellutata tiepida di patate con cavolo viola e crostini di pane:
That velvety puree of potatoes and purple cabbage on toasted bread tidbits certainly brought a big smile to Fred. (We all knew at once that we were in for a treat):
Fred sampled Chef Pasqualino’s gnocchi at our lunch – and what gnocchi: served with a sauce of roasted tomatoes and marjoram and stracciata di bufala (a soft cheese of Puglia made with buffalo milk):
I couldn’t resist those giant bottoni: pasta “buttons”stuffed with roasted chicken and served with a creamy sauce of red peppers topped with a rosemary crumble:
Rather than un primo piatto, Ann had chosen an antipasto: quiche of provatura cheese with a touch of lemon zest.
Fred and I had enjoyed antipasti prior to our primi piatti. Paolo had served Fred’s with fanfare, imitating a roll of the drum as he slowly lifted the lid off the poached egg with shaved white truffle:
Ann’s first antipasto of carpaccio of smoked duck with various sprouts and woodland berries was panoply of colors:
(…and flavors, as Ann confirmed..)
I’d hoped she’d share in my own antipasto, too, of a chicken liver pate’ with crushed pistachios and a sauce of pears in Sagrantino wine:
She declined with a smile and left it all to me.
It was so tasty that I almost forgot to take a close-up of this buonissimo antipasto before finishing it:
All three of us declined a secondo piatto – but who could resist the desserts? We shared one: the dark chocolate torta (olive oil a key ingredient) topped with a sauce of wild berries:
Just before we left, young server Dalila passed our table with a secondo piatto that the Locanda will be serving throughout October: parmigiana di sedano “nero” of Trevi con salsa di pomodoro (a celery Parmesan of nearby Trevi’s famous “black”celery -actually, dark green – topped with tomato sauce):
Ah, what a temptation to return soon to the Locanda del Teatro.
Care to join me?
Perhaps the note Ann and Fred wrote me might entice you to head soon with me to Montefalco
“Touring with Annie is always a very personal experience as you never know who you will meet along the way – from the dedicated Sisters at Santa Chiara of Montefalco as we were privileged to see the art and special garden to meeting a local winemaker on the bridge as he was delivering a few bottles of his wines to a local restaurant. You just don’t get these experiences anywhere. And then to top it off by having what we would rate a 5-star lunch for taste, presentation and service at Locanda del Teatro in Montefalco – an incredible Umbrian day in Anne’s Italy!”
And the Locanda del Teatro menu will tempt, too:
Click here to read about the wine festival and the famous wines of the Montefalco area
Click here to read about Montefalco Renaissance fresco splendor
Read about an unusual treasure in a Montefalco church
Read about some of the artistic gems in a Montefalco church