This time Stefano Tesi takes the stand.
This article hues closely to the IGP credo, what was explained to me when I was invited to join the group: Write about things you like. Period.
And I do so.
Literally, because I’m going to write about a restaurant I recently went to and then returned again. As a client, nothing special, no critical intent, nor investigative lookings about. I ate what they served, and drank what they offered without looking through the wine list in search of something unusual. I was most satisfied and here I am.
The restaurant is called Enotria, and is the “natural evolution” of a place that started out as a wine shop and is located in a difficult city: Florence. Lots of venues, and many good things surrounded by as many if not more tourist traps.
It’s not in the heart of town, but rather off the tourist track, in San Jacopino, between the Cascine park and the Fortezza da Basso, for those who know their way around. An area one can drive to and park with relative ease (we’re in Florence, remember).
What impresses me about Gilda and Maurizio’s restaurant is their cheerful professionality. In other words, no affectations, but pleasant and enjoyable, and is evident in well thought out but not excessive decor, a friendly but not invasive greeting, and careful, flavorful dishes not given to chefly excess, a well stocked cellar (400 wines) without boring commercial wines or duds.
Normal? In theory yes, but in practice not at all, especially in Tuscany’s capital.
If you want you can chat with the owners, but it’s not a requirement, and if you just want a first or a second course, nobody will look at you askance. If you want to sit at your table after you’re done you can; they don’t pretend to have waiting customers and won’t mind at all.
For each dish on the menu, which changes seasonally, there is a wine suggestion, and they also have about 20 wines by the glass. Exclelent selection of olive oils too, as well as cheeses and cold cuts, which they are discreet about (in other words, they don’t pretend to have invented them).
This year’s winter menu, which displays a nice balance between innovation and Tuscan tradition, offers coccoli fiorentini (fried dough balls) with prosciutto, salami and pecorino, cream of chick peas from Chianti and clams, paccheri pasta with reef mullet and lentils from Lucca, rabbit loin with artichokes and pecorino romano, and fried baccalà with saffron cream.
All this for 35 Euros, plus the wine.
Those who live in Florence recall the relaxing atmospheres and good flavors of neighborhood restaurants that have alas vanished with nostalgia. Enotria is a flashback. Not for the cuisine, but for the spirit with which it is offered: You go, and will go back.
Enotria wine bar, ristorante ed enoteca
Via delle Porte Nuove, 50r 50144 Firenze
tel. 055 354350
Closed Sundays (Saturday lunch and Monday evening only by reservation)