Short Breaks: Top Table

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BOCCON DI VINO, MONTALCINO, ITALY

Location

Boccon di Vino, Locanda Colombaio Tozzi, 53024 Montalcino, Italy (00 39 577 848 233)

View

Maybe there is a better view from a restaurant terrace somewhere, but I doubt it. Immediately below us were vineyards plunging 600ft into furrowed orange fields. In the middle-distance, rows of cypresses led to grand hilltop houses. Far away the Appennines glowed with the evening sun. The restaurant is near the hilltop town of Montalcino and there was a feeling of being suspended a mile above Tuscany - higher after the local wine.

Service and clientele

The waitresses were cheerful, considering they were tripping over bambini at every other step. At the next table a farmer and his plump wife were having a birthday meal while their son, uncomfortable in a suit, sat by sulkily.

Design

Outside is a simple stone terrace, inside there are wooden beams and the ochre tiles of Siena.

Romance factor

"Marry me, my darling, and let's float off this terrace and into the clouds together." Well, I could have said that. It's that kind of place.

Menu and price

Pasta, risotto, steak, wild boar and veal cooked according to the season. In autumn, wild mushrooms and truffles predominate. Main courses, around pounds 11.

Wine list

A scrapbook with labels of all the local wines pasted into it, including the grandest Brunello di Montalcino. We had luscious Col d'Orcia for just pounds 10.

Oh yeah, and the food

A starter of tagliatelle in truffle oil and cep mushrooms felt like a pinnacle of gastronomy until the main course - T-bone steak braised in balsamic vinegar with rocket, Parmesan and black truffles. Other-worldly.

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