In 2002, transplanted Scottish restaurateurs David and Catherine Gardner discovered a ruin in Chianti and turned it into the wisteria-covered Villa Bordoni. The first-time hoteliers hired local interior designer Riccardo Barthel, who juxtaposed wood-paneled ceilings and antique bathroom tiles with witty touches like straw curtain tassels and a chicken-coop wall hanging. But it’s the whimsically decorated restaurant (frescoes feature thistles and vines) that’s the Gardners’ pride and joy. Chef Francesco Fineo reinterprets classic local ingredients—squab is paired with mashed celeriac and a grape-must reduction—while remaining true to traditional dishes such as bistecca alla fiorentina.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.