Restaurants in Lucca

The owners used to have a popular shack by the sea and now they’ve gone big in the city, creating an outdoor summertime oasis favored by up-to-date locals—everywhere you look you’ll spot those famous Lucchese schnozzes buried tide-deep in fish.

At the touristy but still vital Buca di Sant Antonio restaurant, lunch on grilled baby goat cooked on the spit along with an artichoke pudding.

The outdoor terrace is seductively shrouded in bougainvillea and the aromas of a superior kitchen. Tuck into a langoustine that might as well be butter, amazing red mullet, fatty raw oysters, and a sauce of balsamic, oil, pepper, salt, and, yes, fellow kebab-defenders, soy.

Firouz Galdo, an Iranian-born architect working in Rome, was brought in to create a contemporary space full of light, wood, and pewter—the whole thing could easily sit atop a Hong Kong skyscraper. Grano Salis, full of young locals, is certainly in the pro-kebab camp.

Lombardo specializes in very honest Lucchese cuisine, such as the stewed codfish with leek, and also represents some decent and inexpensive local wines.

The famous Michelin-starred La Mora still keeps tradition in check after 143 years with its inventive cooking.

An airy, pleasantly undistinguished space smack-dab by the walls of Lucca.

A five-minute drive north of Lucca is the glass- walled dining room at the Michelin-starred Ristorante La Mora. With just 10 tables, the low-key restaurant is disturbed only occasionally by the faint roar of a passing train.