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mogsob

Florence Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations

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Post #17

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Here is a run down of the various restaurants in florence that we ate at recently..Many are based on the recommendations that i have received.

The order of the listing is based on merit.

-Beccofino.The best in terms of cuisine ,service and space.The food is modern tuscan.Tasty and somewhat sophisticated.Prices only 10% higher than a regular trattoria.

-Sostanza.Unbeleivable florentin steak,juicy,cooked as specified(med rare).tender .Puts NY's Luger to shame.Pastas also were wonderful.

-Da caffagio.An old family run tratoria that provides very tasty pastas .Best value in Florence .Appetizer and main for 17.5 euros.Decent montepulciano rosso at 12 euros

-Il santo Bevitore.Popular with locals.Tasty pastas and excellent cold cuts

-Camillo.Excellent for fried food such as squash blossom,calf brain ,etc

-Osteria del cinghiale bianco.Wild bear dishes is the thing here.Quite good

-Cavalo Nero.Unsuccesful rendition of modern tuscan cuisine.Expensive

Overall food is simple but quite decent in Florence despite the dominance of the tourists.Its wall to wall people everywhere ,even in March.But its time travel, the city takes you back to the Italian Renaissance period .

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If you're into offal, go to Il Magazzino Osteria/Tripperia in the Piazza della Passera, in the Oltrarno. You won't find many tourists there.

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...

-Da caffagio.An old family run tratoria that provides very tasty pastas .Best value in Florence .Appetizer and main for 17.5 euros.Decent montepulciano rosso at 12 euros

...

We tried to find this place - nobody seemed to have heard of it. In the end we went to a place called Ristorante Cafaggi on Via Guelfa, 35r. Tel. 055.29.49.89

Is that the one you meant?

Cheers,

Harry

P.S. Food was good, the veggies looked very institutional, but everything was actually very tasty. IIRC the menu is 19 euros.

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Hi Florence/Firenze lovers,

I know, I know, I shouldn't go in August, I shouldn't go to Florence, I shouldn't ask for places near my hotel/Congress site/etc, I shouldn't ask the very questions I'm asked on the France Forum. We'll stipulate that, as the members of the bar say.

Now, I'm considered to know places to go to (and yes, I've got the 2007 Slow Food Osterie, l'Espresso, Michelin + Gamberro Rosso Guides) but I trust eGullet's trusty members even more.

So, given my constraints - I'll be dashing out for 2-3 hour lunches and hosting early PM snacking-type things, what near the Station/Congress Center should I impress my friends/colleagues with?

Molto grazie,

John

Edited to add that I have indeed read the great Florence/Siena thread and will be getting my dear pal Pierre45's advice in a couple of weeks.


Edited by John Talbott (log)

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Florence is changing now as all places... but many still close for August!

I live not far away ( closer to the market) and will see what I can find out..

places llike trattoria mario and the likes, will be closed.

Near the Palazzo... is really limited.. as the edge of the city, with the Fortezza near by and the station taking up most space!

I guess you mean walking distance and not cab rides away?

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I guess you mean walking distance and not cab rides away?

Yes I do mean walking not cabs. I know Florence pretty well and am used to walking quickly around. Thanks in advance.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Florence is changing now as all places... but many still close for August!

I live not far away ( closer to the market) and will see what I can find out..

places llike trattoria mario and the likes, will be closed.

Near the Palazzo... is really limited.. as the edge of the city, with the Fortezza near by and the station taking up most space!

I guess you mean walking distance and not cab rides away?

My research so far has uncovered the following open then according to the Red Miche: Buco Mario, Pane e Vino, Baldini, Cammillo, Del Carmine, Il Latini + Ruth's; at night only Zibibbo + Il Santo Bevitore and unmarked/uncertain Rossini, Angels, Il Cavaliere, Osteria Caffe Italiano, Il Profeta, Antico Fattore + Il Giostra. Ring any bells? Thanks

John


John Talbott

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My research so far has uncovered the following open then according to the Red Miche: Buco Mario, Pane e Vino, Baldini, Cammillo, Del Carmine, Il Latini + Ruth's; at night only Zibibbo + Il Santo Bevitore and unmarked/uncertain Rossini, Angels, Il Cavaliere, Osteria Caffe Italiano, Il Profeta, Antico Fattore + Il Giostra.  Ring any bells?  Thanks

John

I don't know all of them, but it looks as if you won't starve, though you may have some hikes, bus and taxi rides in store for you.

While I prefer Cinghiale Bianco next door, I've eaten in Cammillo a few times, always well. Traditional fare in what a Florentine might describe as more "elegant" (not in American sense of the word) setting than the laid-back neighbor. The street, Borgo San Jacopo, is in the Oltrarno, so it's not especilally close.

Judging by the name, Del Carmine, is one of the many establishments close by, also in the Oltrarno; the piazze and side streets (e.g. Casalinga) around Santo Spirito and Santa Maria del Carmine have quite a few places to dine, some outside if the weather isn't dreadfully sticky. Some of them are very good, but divina could fill the the gaps.

Il Latini: I'm sure Divina has it on her Web site. Family style w communal seating at long tables, a bit too well known by tourists at this point, but fine. Not sure I've been to Buco Mario, but it's also respected and a cut above. Pane e Vino is in Plotkins first edition--on a very short list. Baldini rings an invisible bell; can't picture it.


"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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I quess i was thinking you were looking for somewhere for lunch from the palazzo..

I adore Camillo, family owned and florentines go there..

I latini.. an experience.. crazy.. i prefer DA giovanni around the corner..

Giovanni Latini! brother that split off.. calmer more space.

Americans love li giostro.. ( rick steves) always full.. dark.. not for Italians. everyone loves it! REALLY.. owned my a Count.

My clients this week adored il profeta a florentine classic and also near by there il Mostrino!

cinghiale bianoc also on their list

( they are opera buffs and well travelled.., hated the food at the grand and at the excelsior.. down hill!)

Rossini is expensive novell cuisine.. 80 euro???

So if you are talking about dinner... and walking distances from the Palazzo.. many of these are sort of far away!

Zibbibo is almost out of town... there is a bus that takes you to careggi hospital.. it is up the tiny street on the left.

may have to cab home.

I also really like osteria cafe italiano... he also owns the Alle Murate elegant restaurant which is now a musuem.. restaurant!

so there is a distance limit...price range???

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I quess i was thinking you were looking for somewhere for lunch from the palazzo..

OK. I was, because of the Congress and peoples' need to get back after lunch.

But on seeing that so many places were closed, I opened the Michelin and started with places that are open; and I've now got several that do look reasonably near - Buca Mario, Il Latina and maybe Ruth's. I will have one day when there will be no time pressure though so I welcome all the advice.

Since I'm on the subject the Osterie Guide has eight trippai; are they liable to be open and reasonably nearby?


John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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Divina is right about L'Osteria di Giovanni -- we had our best dinner in Florence there, at the end of April. You could email them to see if they'll be open in August. I also wouldn't miss the wine bar Le Volpe e L'Uva, Piazza de' Rossi 1r, just across the Ponte Vecchio in the Oltrarno - a wonderful assortment of wines by the glass (and bottles for purchase too) with terrific snacks. Have a great trip!

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April in Paris: August in Florence

This is a very special report. Like Paris, Florence is shut down in August except to those Italians who have to man (sorry feminists) the stands, public services, fast-food places, etc. Like Rick Blaine, who came to Casablanca for the waters when there were none, I came here because I figured nothing could be deader culinarywise, than Paris. Wrong! I’d really done my research, guidebookwise, netwise and personalwise. I’d even telephoned and talked in person with the concierges at both a 4 star and 2 star hotel. Nul! So take caution; you’re seeing here is what’s called in running, a personal best (not the best, just your best.)

Camillo, Borgo San Jacabo 57/R, 055.212427, closed Tues and Weds (despite what the guidebooks say). My first lunch was taken under incredible conditions; I’d gotten to Dulles from Baltimore, well in advance, only to discover that I’d brought my wife, Colette’s, passport in my ticket envelope, instead of mine. She, luckily being available, drove it down in under 60 minutes, a world’s record (Dear Reader: I later picked up an incredible bracelet from Ugo Piccini, our favorite goldsmith/jeweler off the Ponte Vecchio). Then the good luck started: I got upgraded, I had a great crew with only one screaming baby and I arrived ahead of schedule. Then the bad luck returned, halfway from exiting the train station to my hotel, the rain really came down, despite a hurriedly bought umbrella, LL Bean raingear and hat, I was soaked. I changed shirts, was advised not to change to shorts, ran/limped across the Arno and finally made the resto by 3 PM. They couldn’t have been nicer. Following Pierre45, Cucina and frsa’s recs I ordered fried, fried, fried; fried zucchini blossoms and fried chicken and fried green tomatoes – just terrific. Bill with wine, tip and grappa but no water or coffee = 40.00€. An added advantage: they have wine by the glass, carafe and bottle.

Antica Sosta degli Aldobrandini, Piazza Madonna Della Aldobrandini, was a local wine bar whose name/etc. I got from my hotel-person as a place I could plotz in near the hotel. No pretensions, no expectations. I arrived, chatted up the ladies who ran it, who offered a tad of Parma ham, salami with fennel, artichokes, dried tomatoes and olives; the former real and artisinal and the latter all from industrial cans, with some barely toasted bread and a bottle of Sangoviese and ultimately grappa – divinity. Not a destination: but Moral: you can eat and drink well almost anywhere in Italy (AOT France now). The bill = 26€. One issue: no wine en carafe, only by glass or bottle.

This morning I set out on a Pagatrip, a sort of flanneuring that has in mind to scope resto menus in windows. I went by all the places I’d been told about by the two concierges at my hotel and the couple I’m playing sherpa to, that were open for lunch in August. One, the Caffe Pitti,) was ruled out because my Sherpa-ees had had a group dinner there last night that they were not wild about, one, the (l’Altro 1 Rosso looked great, but is only open for dinner, two, (Da Giovanni + Paladore, were still closed, one (l’Osterie dell’Olio was out of our price range, way, way out, and one of them (Al Trebbio had a menu that looked kind of run of the mill, well, you get the picture.

But I stumbled by a place, the Trattoria Antellesi, via Faenza 9r, 055.216.990, near the Basilica di San Lorenzo, that looked genuine. Why do I say this? It just did. And we were blown away. There was a 14€ prix fixe lunch with six 1sts and six 2nds – I had a spaghetti with ragu that was the envy of the table, followed by tripes Florentine with a superbly spiced sauce (oh yah, I also spent the morning searching for a tripe sandwich stand (ce n’exist pas en aout) for dinner); also fantastic. One of my guests had a mixed salad and the other had superb prosciutto with melon; the latter were best product. Then he had pasta with 4 cheeses and she had a pasta with tomatoes and pancetta, both good. The whole meal was an unexpected, superb delight – 1st because no one knows about this place, 2nd because it was packed (in August) with Italians and 3rd because it was great Florentine grub. Now the clincher - our bill with one water, one liter wine, no desserts but 3 coffees (2 doppio) and one grappa = 62.00€. Wow, wow, wow, wow wow!

While I don’t have Frank Bruni or Francois Simon’s (interesting that two of the most important food critics in the world have the same/mostly name) budget/reimbursement, I did return to see if I had been delusional, coaxed into loving this place by my California pals. While not mind-blowing, my dinner was very very good. Now big difference: at noon, in August mind you, at lunch it was all Italian/all the time; at dinner all Anglo with the odd Asian thrown in. My spaghetti with clams was close to the gold standard I had at the, unh, a, mafia hotel in Palermo (that’s not a slur, my Bolognian pals tell me, just a descriptor).

Next night I just winged it with green salad and pizza in an apparent chain - Rossopomodoro in the Mercato Centrale Tourist Centrale area; but in truth, not bad for 19€.

The next day, I set out on another Pagatrip, this time towards the piazza del Carmine, figuring (wrongly,) that I’d find authentic food in a usually residential area; unh huh, locked up tighter that a tick. I had one brief moment (what is it in Camelot – “Don't let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot”), I saw a bread-deliveryman pull up with a huge basket of foccacia and I followed him into the resto; but the responsible said “we open in September,” I was too dim-witted and language-challenged to ask, “then why are you buying 80 tons of bread this week?”

So Plan B, back to tourist central.

Lunch again with my two friend/colleagues I was Sherpa-ing, this time at a place again that had no foreigners, La Congrega, via Panicale 43r, 0552645027, run by a supercharming young couple. We had for starters: a grilled eggplant with mozzarella in a cocotte which was just the best (but don’t tell Colette that hers is #2), a cream soup of mushrooms and some gnocchi with 4 cheeses (had by the same person that had the pasta with 4 cheeses yesterday – he’s stuck but he loved it, in fact, both were great). Our seconds were not so great, tho’. My osso bucco was full of gristle and tasted of mutton, but the onion sauce tempted my friend to lap up my plate; he was supposed to have had the arugula with beef and porcini but I finished his greens - delicious; she had risotto with pancetta (second day running for pancetta for her – hummm, stuck too?) and lemon that made the dish. She finished the meal off with a rice pudding she loved (we demurred). The bill (with coffees, San Pellegrino, wine & one grappa) = 93€.

Dinner for me (sorry - had to take the night off) was (gasp) stuff from a rotisserie, fried chicken & veggies, separate, natch, from a (second gasp) Chinese place on the via Sant’Antonio between the via’s dell’Ariento and Faenza accompanied by a little bit of a Tuscan blend of Merlot and Sangiovese from the classy wine store across the street. Bill was under 10€ for all three items. Scoff, oh, you will. As I sat there, though, eating and drinking it/them, on the 6th floor, roof-top “garden” of my 50$ hotel looking over all of Florence - I’m not kidding you, this was the Tour Montparnasse, nasty building outside, great from inside. Fiesole, sunset, wine, (unfortunately) no women and song (Riccardo Muti, Corelli, oh my.) Heaven! Or close to it. After Michelangelo, Donatello, Ghiberti and Fra Angelico – despite the closure of the Morini, 100º F weather and long lines at the Uffici, what was missing? Futbol of course. Luckily, every vendor in the stands of the Mercato Centrale had his (they were all men) opinion on my Ronaldo futbol shirt (I left the Kaka one at home, figuring I might get into real trouble wearing it) and so despite my rusty Portuguese, I got some great bargains, including one of Materazzi, which of course I can’t wear in France.

Da Guido, via Faenza 34R, 055.289.746. “Sometimes you get the bear…….” Well the bear and the law of averages got me. This time there were five of us so it was my most embarrassing “find.” We all had the 14 € prix fixe lunch which comes with water, making it a steal, but for what? My minestrone was not as tasty as Campbell’s and their pasta with ragu was watery. The salami was OK but how can you screw that up? I then had polombo (Huh?, dog fish) with beans, both of which were dreadful and the others had chicken and fries which was a safe bet. The desserts were a pecorino (again pretty easy to come up with) and crème caramel (ditto). With coffees and one grappa the bill was 93 €


John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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so from my site... Antellesi, Aldobrandi and my note to youa bout Cammillo being a favorite!

I live right at La Congrega, but did not have good food when I went and didn't like the dark lighting..

I guess it is time to go back!

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One of my favourite restaurant in Florence is Il santo bevitore, which means The Holy drinker.

It is located in the Oltrarno area, one of the most popular district of Florence. It is a special place both for the food, the wine's list and the atmosphere. It is always full of people, so it is better to reserve. They also have a website which. www.ilsantobevitore.com.

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Circo-lo Teatro del Sale Via dei Macci 111r

http://www.teatrodelsale.com/start_e.html

I know that Fabio Picchi's Teatro del Sale has been mentioned here before, but I just wanted to amplify - this is a very special and fun experience, highly recommended for foodies and ordinary folk alike.

It's some of the best food I've had prepared in such quantities, but the entire experience is not to be missed. Yes, there are lots of fillers (polenta, potatoes, bread), but they too are very good and tasty. Whereas in Italy the ingredients are usually king, I had the impression here that the food was more highly seasoned, perhaps to make up for a slightly lower quality ingredients. But it was very skilled seasoning. I can't imagine liking cold cooked escarole, but this was one of the best escarole dishes I've had (and luckily the carnivores were all going for the meat, leaving plenty of veggies for me). The roast potatoes were also best of class. And the peppers.

Yes, part of the "circo" is the people queuing and rushing for various dishes as they are announced, and it's obvious the food is deliberately served from a small tight area to enhance that (in fact, almost as soon as everyone was lined up for the roast meat, Picchi announced the chocolate cake, and it was funny to see some people leave the meat line and rush for the chocolate). You can see that Picchi is having a ball here, and his enthusiasm is infectious. I have no idea if he's always there, or if it's quite as much fun if he isn't. If you are really uptight, this is not the place for you.

This is also a good place to go with kids - people from 10 to 70 seemed to all be having a great time. Although a lot of the kids started dozing during the entertainment (a trio with a flute, guitar and Soprano the night we were there, doing mostly pop songs, in Italian, French and English).

The chef's up scale restaurant is Cibreo, which is on many people's top ten list for Florence. It's right across the street, but a world apart.

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can anyone suggest a place in Siena to have a nice lunch. I probably don't have a car, so preferable in the city itself. However, in the chance that I do have a car, a place to make a little day trip out of would also be appriciated.

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can anyone suggest a place in Siena to have a nice lunch. I probably don't have a car, so preferable in the city itself. However, in the chance that I do have a car, a place to make a little day trip out of would also be appriciated.

La Taverna di San Giuseppe, perhaps with a stop at Nannini before or afterwards for some seriously good panforte

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I adore eating at La Torre, right behind the city hall.

I live here in Italy, and just ate there again on Wednesday.

Fresh pasta with wild boar ragu, roast lamb, veggies, house wine.

Two of us 50 euro.

Simply good!

I have a dining guide on my website

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A college aged friend of mine will be doing her Spring semester (she's a college sophomore) in Florence, and the housing arrangements are in apartments scattered throughout the city so that the kids get a feel for the life of the city - but there's no meal plan, and no dining halls. They are encouraged to cook in their apartments, but of course when you're in Italy for the first time, you'd rather be eating out.

So...

Can anyone recommend some restaurants/trattorie/places to eat that would be affordable on a student budget?

Many thanks!

(On my first trip to Florence in 1973 out of college, I discovered "Il Latini", way before it was "discovered" for real, and I ate there dozens of nights over several years, and I am told that photos we took of the place and the food are still hanging there. But I'm also told that now that it has become ultra-famous, it's impossible to get into. I found it while in Florence with a singer friend who was getting ready to give a recital - we asked at the music store for a recommendation of a good place to eat, and they told us hands down that all the musicians went to Il Latini for great food at decent prices, and from that point on we always took all our meals there when in Florence.)


Edited by markk (log)

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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Antico Noe in the tunnel by Vivoli and the English movie theater. Also, the falafel place across the way from Antico Noe. I had 3-4 meals a week at these 2 places when I was a student in Florence.

Other favorites for my student budget:

La Casalinga

Trattoria Za Za

Trattoria da Nello

the rosticceria on Via Cavour by the Piazza San Marco


Edited by Ling (log)

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I have been living here since 1984. There really is no problem in finding student places to eat, they pass around the info.

have her contact me.

My nephew just finished a semester abroad so I have lots of info.

the best thing of course is to cook and eat at home!

My nephews school got the kids a menu plan, coupons for meals at 10 euro around town!

once she is here and knows where she is living I can suggest where to shop and where to eat!

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I need to stop eating every meal at alla vecchio bettola, even though i love them madly. where else for inexpensive awesome simple tuscan food done fresh and right?


"Gourmandise is not unbecoming to women: it suits the delicacy of their organs and recompenses them for some pleasures they cannot enjoy, and for some evils to which they are doomed." Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

MetaFooder: linking you to food | @foodtwit

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it seems my post didn't post...

I am addicted to bettola, but want to branch out (even beyond sister nerbone). Suggestions for tiny inexpensive authentic heavenly?

BTW, had risotto at nerbone and it was eh. promise to go back for boiled beef.

I had pasta with porcini at bettola which was boring, but followed by fried zucchini blossoms and calf brains which was unearthly. I have never had calf brain before, and it was so creamy, so delicate so redolent of beef, even fearful people should take the plunge i think. magnificent!


"Gourmandise is not unbecoming to women: it suits the delicacy of their organs and recompenses them for some pleasures they cannot enjoy, and for some evils to which they are doomed." Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

MetaFooder: linking you to food | @foodtwit

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ate at cingale bianco. eh. decent cod. I sat next to an american couple who had rabbit and boar, which i would have had if I wasn't suffering from an earth hangover from too much procuitto and porcini, and I was deperate for water animals. As it was, I think I did better than them, as their food both looked and was reported to be dry and overcooked. My bacala was completely adequate, though the fagiole that came with was sort of sad.

The couple recommended osteria spiritu santo, which I'll check out. They say they are famous for salt and pepper pasta, which I had at mario batali's joint in NY.

Had the worst gelato ever at carabe. I mean, ever in my entire life. I got three flavors, zuppa ingles (because that was the flavor I first had when I fist had gelato) cafe (as recommended) and tiramisu. The last was the smallest and best. the other two were like sad ice milks that had been refrozen-- full of big crystals. I threw out the bowl, to be honest. I find it so weird, since carabe has gotten such strong recommendations.

Dinner I had at the recently discovered and typically excellent O!O at pzza piattellina. But I ordered spagetti bottarga, which I forgot tastes like cat food. Not really my bag, though certainly not their fault. everything there is organic. the service is dreadful, but the food cheap and wholesome overall.

Now that I'm facing two days of Bettola closed and a full day of bad food, I'm desperate. I need a transcendent experience.


Edited by et alors (log)

"Gourmandise is not unbecoming to women: it suits the delicacy of their organs and recompenses them for some pleasures they cannot enjoy, and for some evils to which they are doomed." Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

MetaFooder: linking you to food | @foodtwit

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Good news: great meal at Pepo, near the market centrale (listed earlier in this forum.) Just a simple bit of gnocchi with gorgonzola and rucola, but well executed. I'll be back for the steak, which neighbors had. All the food around me looked great, actually, and they are open every day for lunch and dinner.


"Gourmandise is not unbecoming to women: it suits the delicacy of their organs and recompenses them for some pleasures they cannot enjoy, and for some evils to which they are doomed." Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

MetaFooder: linking you to food | @foodtwit

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