As I mentioned in an earlier report on our visit to Rome, you will want to know that we discovered that we prefer even a somewhat innovative cuisine over the most traditional kitchen. So here are our favorites and not-so-favorites from Florence.
Our first lunch on arriving in Florence was at Trattoria Croce al Trebbio where we enjoyed a risotto with bufolo mozzarella and grilled vegetables and a roast pork with a spinach (maybe it was an escarole or another Italian spinach-like green). Good. Simple. Not killer unforgettable.
As we found in Rome, one of the best recommendations was from Ms Chow: Osteria Tournabouoni. Located on that very high-end shopping street, the restaurant (reviewed in Food and Wine) is in the back. The food was extraordinary, but the prices reasonable. Yay! We enjoyed a raw artichoke salad and a cheese assortment, a tagliatelle with zucchini, mint and lardo that was a real wow. Would have loved to try to Beefsteak Florentine, but the two of us couldn’t manage a full kg (@ 2-1/2 lb) of beef between us. I had the dark meat of chicken thighs wrapped around a chicken confit. It was very rich, but delicious. Mr. CG had the lamb chops.
We headed out to have dinner at Teatre de Sale, but once we got there, they told us their entertainment was not happening that night and they sent us across the street to Trattoria Cibreo. After a 10-minute wait during which we met a very nice newlywed couple from Tel Aviv who were also waiting, we had a marvelous dinner. Again (and I know I keep repeating myself), simple, beautifully prepared. The restaurant is quite small and it made for patrons talking among themselves and a bit of a community, if not a party environment.
We had a wonderful lunch on the way from the Academia to the Pitti Palace and the Boboli Gardens. Over the river, take the second right, go under the archway and just past a large restaurant is a very small place called LeVolpi e l’Uva. They specialize in wines and we had a wonderful antipasti assortment that included crostone with cheese and spicy sausage and cheese with truffle soufflé. In addition, we had a plate with fresh anchovies, mushrooms, peppers, olives and asparagus. We each had a glass of Kemer Sudtirol ’08 that was excellent. Our waitress was friendly, helpful and knowledgable. It was sunny and warm and the perfect afternoon.
I have to add a word of praise for Grom, an organic gelateria that uses products from small local producers and produces the most extraordinary (often seasonal) gelato we tasted. I had a pear gelato that was like eating a fresh, ripe pear, only with a lot more fat and calories, but so worth it. Grom is a block from the Duomo and a half-block from our hotel (not necessarily a good thing).
What we would assiduously avoid in future trips to Florence:
Gilly in Piazza de la Republic – recommended by the newlyweds: overpriced, touristy and boring.
Trattoria Zaza in the Mercato Centrale – Not as bad as Gilly, but too busy with tourists, too expensive and not to our liking for sure.
Tuscany report coming soon.