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Restaurants in Tuscany
Taverna del Bronzino
Excellent service, food presented with flair, and plenty of space between tables attract Florentine business executives at lunch, plus friends, couples, and well-heeled tourists at dinner. The 16th-century palace once belonged to Santi di Tito, architect and student of painter Bronzino.
Begin with hard-to-find Tarese del Valdarno ham plus other assorted Tuscan meats (€15). Seafood arrives daily from Viareggio, a hit with locals — excellent tagliolini all’astice in a tomato-wild fennel sauce (€15); pasta with Sardinian botarga prepared tableside is popular. Tuna with radicchio and wild ginger sauce (€23) was tempting, but we opted for the superb grilled stead, tagliata di manzo with grated black truffles and grilled vegetables (€25). Ossobuco with wild black rice or Sera (Angiolini) lamb are other good options.
A French couple ordered house white, we tried economical red Alberese Pellegrone Morellino di Scansano produced on government-owned land (Pupille is a good traditional alternative). Others splurged on rarer wines, all from their well-furnished cantina downstairs. ("When businessmen are dealing in billions though, sometimes they just drink water," notes Roberto.) One might wish for more romantic lighting or artsy decor, but flawless service pampers — relax and enjoy delightful but unpretentious formality. — Judy Edelhoff
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Taverna Il Grappolo Blu
Cozy restaurant in terracotta dues serves stalwart Tuscan cuisine. Start with hearty peasant soups or pinci, (eggless pasta). Anchovies in pesto made with basil and parsley. Ravioli stuffed with fresh pecorino, mint, and potatoes had some zip. Guinea hen with lemon, butter and a dash of cognac. Wild boar in white wine and herb sauce is served with polenta, or try beef guanciale served in Brunello wine sauce. Even plain boiled fennel, carrots, and potatoes were fresh and flavorful. Try the crostata con crema di limone e pinoli, better than the usual cream filling. Order a different Brunello by the glass with each course (we had 1999 La Torre and Campogiovanni), or live it up with a bottle of 1993 Biondi Santi. If you prefer, friendly Luciano, a transplanted Roman, will steer you toward other wines, Italian or foreign. Good mix of locals and tourists. Main course range between €8 and 10. — Judy Edelhoff
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five generations. Traditional Tuscan favorites like ribollita (€7, soup with bread, beans, black cabbage, etc..) and fresh new variations: sweet-and-pungent compote of radicchio with goat cheese, Trevignano radicchio fried, and pureed pumpkin with a globe of ricotta cheese are great primos. Not to miss in spring are fried lamb chops and artichokes, light and succulent. Fabio’s wines include Casanova di Neri Brunello, economical and good Felsina Chianti, Boscarelli Vino Nobile, or Sicilian hard-to-find-but-excellent Gulfi Nero D’Avola. Closed for lunch on weekends. — Judy Edelhoff
Founded in 1953, this is the kind of simple noisy trattoria that one hopes will never change. Near the Central Market they still buy from the same vendor families that served their grandparents. Now run by Mario Colzi’s sons Fabio and Romeo, count on good traditional Tuscan fare and interesting company at the table (they are communal). Vegetable soup is excellent, as is the olive oil — some locals buy their oil here it’s that good. Bistecca alla Fiorentina is their signature dish, plus 10 or so other main courses like duck, tripe, rabbit, or bollito misto (most range €5-12). Fish available only on Friday — try pasta with fresh tuna or shrimp, or grilled tuna with rosemary. Lunch only 12 p.m.-3:30. No reservations — prepare to wait (so democratic even Fabio’s wife has to get in line). House red wine, Chianti, is above average. — Judy Edelhoff
This typically Florentine trattoria has stood the test of time (the Gozzi family has run it for four generations) and has an eat-and-go, down-to-earth attitude. There are paintings on the walls, benches, bleached white tablecloths on the shared tables, and all the usual Florentine dishes: ribollita, pappa al pomodoro, trippa, arista, bistecca. No need to book ahead, but do get there early. Lunch only. — Suzanne Bush
Trattoria Zà Zà
Cuisine has gone industriale (mass produced) in this Tuscan-meets-Ligurian trattoria that also hawks its cookbook and CD. Soups (€7) were average and fried chicken (€11) was bland, potato side was good. Bohemian decor with colorful mural paintings in one room. Outside tables face back of Central Market. Very touristy but lively. Off-hour dining (serves between lunch and dinner, sometimes late night) is a plus. €2 cover. — Judy Edelhoff
Displaying 41 thru 46 of 46 restaurants.