The BEST fresh take on Italian cuisine: Ristorante il Giglio

If you have never tried crostini con fegatini (toast with chicken liver paté), you might want to start here with il Giglio’s incredibly light pate` topped with a crisp, microscopically thin sheet of raspberries, that are served with melt-in-your mouth slices of pan brioche.  Yes, this dish is to die for and threatens to outshine everything else you might eat in Lucca — whether you ever thought you’d like chicken livers or not.  The three young chefs at the helm of this Michelin-starred restaurant excel at creating fresh flavors from ground zero ingredients.

A veil of raspberry puree` crackles over a foamy pate` of chicken livers at il Giglio

We also loved the fettucine with citron and hibiscus flowers.  It wasn’t a fussy dish, just light and flavorful.

Despite the menu’s sophistication, the restaurant’s ambiance is simple and elegant, not stuffy.  Socially distanced tables are offered outside in the Piazza del Giglio (the city’s famed theater) or in the palazzo’s high-ceilinged, air-conditioned dining room.   A must-try.

If you don’t have time for a formal dinner, their sister storefront: la Gigliola has many appealing options for take-out or a very casual eat-in. Run by the same young trio of chefs who lead the Giglio, this new-comer met with great success during the lock-down by offering home-delivery of its Asian-Lucchese fusion dishes. They have taken their favorites from both cultures and created impressive combinations. The place’s hip atmosphere also is a likable cross between a delicatessen and wine bar.

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