What are some typical dishes from Lucca?

Appreciate the charms of Lucca and its Renaissance history through sampling its traditional cuisine. Look out for these local dishes on your visit!

Lucca is a historical Tuscan city surrounded by thick and high fortification. The city has managed to preserve its rich heritage and small-town charm with jagged walls, grand architecture and a labyrinth of narrow streets. It might come as a surprise but Lucca is a foodie’s paradise as well. Needless to say, the inextricable link between food and travel in Lucca is quite fascinating. The food you eat in Lucca tells a story, unlocking social customs and revealing ancient traditions, all while offering a chance to connect with the locals in an organic way.

Popular dishes in Lucca

Here, we’ve master-crafted a list of traditional dishes you ought to try when in Lucca.

  • Trademark of Tuscan cuisine: Tortelli Lucchese

    Tortelli Lucchese is one of the most popular dishes in Lucca that is similar to meat ravioli. The dish comprises of egg-based bright yellow pasta stuffed with a mixture of seasoned beef and pork meat topped with heavily meat-laden ragu, widely used meat-based sauce in Italy. Nutmeg is the spice that gives it its unique flavour.

    Pro Tip: ‘Ristorante Giglio’ restaurant serves the best Tortelli Lucchese with soft and flavoursome ragu for €40-50.

  • Warm up with a bowl of Zuppa di Farro

    Zuppa di Farro is an amazing local Tuscan bowl of soup with farro(emmer), beans and seasonal vegetables. The main ingredient is farro which is barley-like grain commonly found in Lucca. Also known as Farro Soup it is perfect for those winter days when you just want to sit inside by a fire and watch the howling winds or rain from the safety of indoors.

    Pro Tip: Visit Trattoria Da Leo for the tastiest and authentic Farro Soup experience at €7.50.

  • Devour the tastiest Baccalà Fritters

    In the area where frying is a sacred act, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the traditional dishes is the famous Baccalà Fritters, deep-fried and cod coated in batter. This flavoursome and hearty meal is not just native’s favourite but also lures the tourists because of its wonderful salty flavour.

    Pro Tip: At Port Ellen Clan, you can dig in the succulent baccalà fritters with rosemary, white beans hummus and sun-dried tomatoes for just €17.

  • Tuck into a piece of Farinata 

    A popular dish with kids, this tasty flatbread can be eaten at any time of day as an easy, healthy snack. Like Lucca’s traditional soups, Farinata heralds from the days of simple cibo povero or peasant food, using the nutritious but cheap ingredients of chickpea, flour and olive oil.

    Pro Tip: Pizza Da Felice is the place to go when it comes to bread. Situated behind Piazza San Michele this little spot is where the locals come for wood-fired pizza and farinata. Eat in or take away, it’s up to you.

  • Slurp away at a Garmugia Soup 

    Another filling lunch dish that dates back to the 16th century is the Garmugia Soup. This wholesome bowl contains lots of green vegetables and is traditionally flavoured with dried pancetta. Considered a spring dish, typical green vegetables contained in this soup include peas, spring onions, asparagus and artichokes. Various types of meat or ham may also be added but this isn’t necessary. Traditionally it was a dish done when there was little meat available, hence the reliance on Spring vegetables.

    Pro Tip: Head to Cantine Bernardini to try this traditional Lucca dish. Located in the basement of the Palace Bernardini, this charming restaurant has an extensive menu of local cuisine, with a price range of €20 – €40.

  • Celebrate Easter with Pasimata 

    If you’re wanting something a little sweeter, Lucca has that too. Traditionally eaten on Easter Sunday this sweet bread dessert takes two days to prepare, a real labour of love. Sweetened with raisins and aniseed, tastes that you’ll come across again and again in Lucca. Although baked for Holy Week, restaurants serve it all year round because it’s so popular!

    Pro tip: Ask a local! You won’t find a better bit of advice than just asking a fellow Lucca local who will be more than happy to tell you where their favourite Pasimata is served!

Now we’ve covered the main traditional dishes local to Lucca is time to experience them for yourself! Lucca is a beautiful ancient town with numerous historical landmarks and attractions as well as its culinary traditions. In local restaurants, you’ll most likely be offered a variety of refined ethnic dishes and we encourage you to be warm and accepting! Their food is something they take pride in, by declining it you could come across as disrespectful. Instead, take it as a compliment and see it as them kindly sharing a bit of their culture with you.

Related article: What is Buccellato?

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