Saturday and Sunday Open. Monday to Friday – by reservation only
Località Surripa, strada di Macchie
Francesca opened El Merendero 6 years ago, with her husband Fausto (pictured). El Merendero was an old hunting lodge, which has been renovated by the family, keeping the originality and the atmosphere intact. In summer you can dine outside in the woods under a canopy with the fireflies dancing in the trees and in the winter the lodge has a cosy atmosphere with wood carvings on the walls. Arriving at El Merendero is part of the adventure. There is a steep drive on white roads – no signs - into the countryside ending at lodge set in a small clearing deep in the oak woods. Despite its success the restaurant remains true to itself. Everything is prepared fresh, at that moment, and with their hands.
Fausto has never stopped kneading his fettuccine, using his hens own eggs and a mixture of raw milled flours. "The machine does not give the same consistency" he explains. Last summer he put tortelli on the menu stuffed with burrata and anchovies, topped with fresh tomatoes and basil. Simply delicious. Francesca introduced a pesto of fresh broad beans with toasted almonds, pecorino cheese and extra virgin olive oil. Nothing comes into the kitchen that is not grown or reared by Fausto’s family. Pigs and chianina cows graze on a clearing a few steps from El Merendero. Fausto hunts wild boar, deer (do not miss the bresaola) and mouflons in the large estate that starts from behind lodge. Cesare and Fiorella, the dogs, go hunting for truffles which are even transformed into their famous truffle ice cream. Francesca grows all of the vegetables in her father’s vegetable garden.
This is an exceptional Umbrian restaurant, you will never forget your first visit to Fausto and Francesca’s restaurant in the middle of the woods.