- Cibrèo (Via Andrea del Verrocchio 8r, Florence; tel. 055-234-1100; www.edizioniteatrodelsalecibreofirenze.it): The amalgamated country-style decor of this restaurant belies its status as one of the city's finest kitchens, even after years at the top. The dishes are Tuscan at heart -- though they buck the standard by serving no pasta and little grilled meat -- with innovative touches and plenty of peperoncino for spice. You may have to wait even with a reservation, but the wait is invariably worth it.
- Il Santo Bevitore (Via Santo Spirito 66r, Florence; tel. 055-211-264; www.ilsantobevitore.com): Few places typify the new Florentine Left Bank vibe as well as this buzzing enoteca-osteria. Service is informal, even laid-back, but they take the ingredients that make up their refreshingly modern take on Tuscan food very seriously indeed. The wine list is one of the best in town.
- Antica Locanda di Sesto (Via Ludovica 1660, Sesto di Moriano, Lucca; tel. 0583-578-181; www.anticalocandadisesto.it): The food in the northern part of Tuscany is quite different to that elsewhere in the region, making more liberal use of ingredients like farro (emmer) and Sorano beans. Everything you'll eat at this roadside inn in the Serchio valley is freshly made on the premises, and dishes rely on seasonal and foraged ingredients, or produce from the owner family's nearby farm. Park right outside or ride the bus north from Lucca.
- Osteria del Mare (Borgo Cappuccini 12, Livorno; tel. 0586-881-027): It's almost impossible to pick a "best" from among Livorno's crop of great value seafood restaurants, but the attentive waitstaff and a proper tablecloth perhaps just edge it for this dining room. It's impossible to predict exactly what will be on the menu -- catch alone determines that -- but it's guaranteed to be tasty, fresh, simply cooked, and served with a smile.
- La Tana del Brillo Parlante (Vicolo Ciambellano 4, Massa Marittima; tel. 0566-901-274): Italy's smallest Slow Travel-endorsed dining room is also one of Tuscany's best. Just don't expect haute cuisine and stuffy waitstaff: The strictly local and seasonal menu is prepared with skill, and delivered with rustic informality at a price that will make you glow.
- Acquacheta (Via del Teatro 22, Montepulciano; tel. 0578-717-086; www.acquacheta.eu): The open flamegrill takes center stage right across southern Tuscany, nowhere more than here at Montepulciano's quintessential cellar steakhouse. Cramped tables, one set of cutlery to last the whole meal, and a chef doing the rounds armed with his meat cleaver are all part of the charm. Order your bistecca alla fiorentina by weight, wash it down with house red drunk from a beaker, and soak up the experience.
- Ristorante di Poggio Antico (Loc. I Poggi, Montalcino; tel. 0577-849-200; www.poggioantico.com): The cheap, old trattoria on this famous wine estate shocked many when it reopened with a new minimalist interior and a talented nuova cucina chef spearheading the kitchen. Surrounded by vines that produce some of the silkiest Brunello wines in the region, you can dine on the most refined food in this part of Tuscany, where everything from the breadsticks to the dessert is homemade.
- Zaira (Via Arunte 12, Chiusi; tel. 0578-20-260; www.zaira.it): Chiusi has several good informal spots, but this one just edges out the others for its pasta del lucumone -- ziti, ham, and three cheeses baked in a ceramic bowl until a crunchy brown crust forms -- and for the moldy ancient wine cellars you can tour after your meal.
- Relais Il Falconiere (Loc. San Martino 370, Cortona; tel. 0575-612-679; www.ilfalconiere.it): The food and service are impeccable, and the atmosphere sophisticated. Classical music floats across your table; when it's warm and the tables are set on the lawn, crickets take over for Vivaldi. The chefs marry the best fresh ingredients, many cultivated by the owners themselves, with Tuscan recipes to make this one of the most popular restaurants in Tuscany. Follow the foodies who know which turnoff leads to this culinary hideaway.
- La Stalla (Via Eremo delle Carceri 24, Assisi; tel. 075-812-317; www.fontemaggio.it): This is the quintessential countryside trattoria, the sort of place where scattered Italian families get together for monthly reunions. The low ceilings are black with centuries of wood smoke that has poured from the open fire over which grilled meats sizzle. At the long wooden communal tables (and outdoors in summer), you can wash down a platter of homemade pasta and another of grilled lamb with copious quantities of the house red.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.