When a restaurant occupies what was once the Monks’ Old Pharmacy of the 12th century Certosa Monastery, it has every reason to attach the venerable attribute “Antico” to its name. Opened a little over a decade ago, La Certosa, offers traditional Tuscan cuisine and awesome views of the hilltop monastery. Each of the several dining rooms is uniquely decorated with newly frescoed walls that take their inspiration from Tuscany’s artistic past. We lunched in the Sala Chiostro, an intimate space that wrapped us in the warm colors of the Tuscan countryside – sunflower yellow, golden wheat and wine red, easily putting us in the mood for the wonderful food and wine that soon came to our table.
When we asked our waiter to help us select from their many offerings, he simply shrugged and said, “You are in Toscana, what else? It’s obvious. Beef!” His recommendation was obviously the right choice. If we were to eat nothing else but the main course, tagliata alla fiorentina, the most tender slices of beef, seasoned simply with salt, rosemary and capers, accompanied by roasted potatoes and grilled vegetables, we would have left completely satisfied. But naturally, we savored assorted antipasti of salumi and crostini, and a sampling of two different pastas, accompanied by an excellent DOCG Chianti from Villa La Palagina vineyards. La Certosa cuisine has no secrets – it is simply Tuscany country cooking at its best – fresh ingredients, in the hands of master chefs, simply prepared. And Ecco Fatto! You have a most satisfying meal.
To add to the enjoyment of a dinnertime meal, La Certosa offers entertainment in the evening – traditional folkloric music or arias from Italy’s beloved operas. On occasion, La Certosa looks to its past and offers a special dinner with a monastery theme, recreating an ancient refectory atmosphere where the waiters dress as monks. In addition to the several indoor dining rooms, an outdoor patio becomes an enchanting setting for dining alfresco in the warmer months, whether for a romantic dinner for two or a festive dinner for a large group.