Il Girasole

I decided to review this new restaurant because I saw a good review of it in the September issue of the local English language magazine for Lucca, The GrapeVine.

Il Girasole is located in the hills near Lucca in Gragnano, about a twenty minute drive from the Lucca city center. It has a small outdoor patio where about 20 dinners can sit confortably as well as a lovely rustic house converted into a restaurant that can accomodate larger groups. The decor is charming and casual. The staff I found to be very friendly and helpful.

When we arrived we were given warm fried dough to keep us from feeling too peckish. That was delicious. We had a great little white wine produced in Gragnano that had a hint of lavender in it. My son ordered the 4 cheese gnocchi which was very good. He ate almost the whole dish, so I'd say he liked it. My husband had the warm seafood salad to start. This was just o.k. nothing to write home about. For his second dish he had the grilled tuna, which was overcooked and blandly seasoned. I had the vegetable souffle to start, which was very good. Then I ordered my favorite dish, which is called "Spaghetti allo Scoglio". This is spaghetti with various shellfish usually done in a white wine sauce with a bit of garlic, parsley and red pepper. Honestly, this was not good. I could not taste any white wine, there was definitely no red pepper. The shellfish were not fresh, the sauce was sticky and not aromatic. I understand when a chef wants to do a variation on a traditional dish and I usually applaud it, but this was just not well done. I left most of what was on my plate. For dessert, my son had some gelato, which he enjoyed thoroughly.

I really liked the people here and wished that my main dish was better, but I just can't bring myself to recommend this place yet. Perhaps with time, they will improve, as this is a new restaurant. I will try to review it again next year and see if perhaps they've worked out the kinks as I still think it has potential to be a very good restaurant. My bet would be if they tried to offer a more limited menu that focuses on what they do well, Ithink they would have a great restaurant. My guess is that they have tried to cover too many different dishes and wound up coming up short on the seafood. Like I said the gnocchi and the vegetable souffle were both very good. Also to note, the pricing was really reasonable.


You can reach the Girasole from the city center of Lucca by exiting out of the Porta Elisa and going straight onto the via Castracani. This road, if you continue on it long enough, changes names and becomes the via Pesciatina. Continue on this road for about 10 or 15 minutes until you come to a round about which has a sign for the Girasole. Follow the signs left and you will find the Girasole easily.

Opening Hours

Closed Thursdays
Summer Schedule: Open every day for lunch and dinner except Thursday from June to 30 September
Winter Schedule: Open every day except Thursday for dinner during the week. Open for lunch and dinner on the weekend during the winter. Takes major credit cards


Ristorante Il Girasole
via della Chiesa, 65
Gragnano 55010 Capannori
0583 975 010

posted by gina, 2006-10-29

[Life In Lucca] [Restaurant Review] []


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