Saturday, 22 October 2011


A quick rundown on my recent trip to Italy and some foodie highlights, starting with Florence. Beautiful city, millions of tourists but a good standard of food across the board, with many gems and a real care for local produce and wine.

La Bussola was right across from our (pretty nice) hotel, the NH Porta Rossa in the historic centre of town. We pretty much rolled out of this place. We sat at the bar – it’s had a refurb since the website pics and is less pastiche-y Italiano trattoria.

The antipasti was amazing, the prosecco was poured to about 250ml...

antipasti - pancetta, salami, pecorino, pear jam
more antipasti - boar salami, fig chutney, another local sheep cheese

The pasta dishes were incredible, and the pizza oven was churning out some amazing looking pizzas to other customers.

wild mushroom pappardelle
Italy on a plate? Basil pappardelle alla caprese.

Of course we had to try Florence’s civic dish – bistecca alla fiorentina. Basically a massive T-bone grilled hot and fast with rock salt, pepper and olive oil. Sadly there’s no picture worth posting as it was devoured in a frenzy.

Il Santino is a tiny little slip of a place across the river, a wine bar attached to a restaurant. We popped in for a quick apertivo and wish we hadn’t had dinner reservations. Expertly staffed by two girls, the wine list was amazing but the salumi and cheeses were really something.

quick snack before dinner...?

We sat at the bar but there were some very cosy seats too. If this place was in London, I’d come all the time. Every area could do with one. Effortless quality with no branding, pride or attitude.

Finally, a great choice right in the touristy area of the Duomo (one street behind in fact) is Coquinarius. It's a small, cosy trattoria and the photos didn't come out very well. But go - great pastas and house wine - I had the homemade pear and pecorino ravioli and it was amazing.

And it wasn't too expensive - and skip dessert and get gelato from Grom on the same street. You know it's good gelato when it's kept in those metallic tube thingys, rather than heaped up in the window with lots of sliced fruit and lurid colours like a peacock.

Great foodie city - next, Rome...
Il Santino – Via Santo Spirito, Oltrarno

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