Ristorante Numero Unico - Siena, Italy
This summer, the four of us came upon this outstanding restaurant simply by chance as we wandered the narrow streets of Siena looking for a place for supper. From the outside, Numero Unico looks odd, more like a flash and trendy drinks bar than a restaurant with few tables, it seems. However, the upstairs rooms are extensive. Still very modern and contemporary but spacious too. We had tried for an outdoor table in the adjacent alleyway at 7.30pm but were told they were all reserved for 8.30pm and so were shown upstairs, having an empty room in which to select our table for four.
"Numero Unico" is the magazine that the "contrada" who wins the Palio publishes only once to celebrate the victory, The interior is modern and relaxing but inspired by the tradition of the Palio. In fact on the walls you can admire several pictures that reproduce some of the best covers of Numero Unico magazine
Our waiter spoke good English. He was polite, amusing, but not over-friendly. The menu looked exciting. Not dishes to be found in most Italian restaurants from the descriptions. Our wine and water arrived promptly, with a beer for the son. We all decided on a main with a dessert to follow. Two of us went with the meatballs and mashed potato dish and two with the lamb. It was not long before 'Works of Art' arrived at our table. If it's true that you eat with your eyes first, then our plates emptied before we lifted our cutlery. The chef here, who is Sicilian, certainly knows how to present his food and he also knows how to cook it too. These were Michelin-star dishes!
We all enjoyed every tiny mouthful of our mains and our following desserts. I say 'tiny' as none of us wanted the meal to end, so we savoured every mouthful. Our older children did not stop talking about this place and their meals on the journey back to our villa and into the next day. It made their first visit to Siena more memorable. Sadly, I will be surprised if this restaurant survives in tourist-filled Siena. I hope it does. I would love to return. Numero Unico deserves a Michelin star, but it is not a place for the average tourist wanting cheap and cheerful Italian fayre, and unless locals ditch their demand for their traditional pasta dishes and take it to their hearts, it will close. If you are in Siena, please support this top class restaurant and its top class chef. My wife and the daughter-in-law both asked the chef to marry them, on the way out!
Ristorante Numero Unico, Via di Citta 125-127, 53100 Siena, Italy