Last month we had the pleasure of visiting Florence (and other parts of Italy that I will write about later) and to enjoy all that this ancient and beautiful city has to offer. Our first night in the city, jet lagged and starving for some authentic Florentine food we stumbled upon Trattoria Antellesi on a side street within a few blocks of our hotel in Piazza di Santa Maria Novella. The exterior was quaint and inviting, a few locals lounged at the outside tables with cocktails and wine… we were far too early for dinner at 7:00pm, but in true tourist fashion… we ordered anyway.
The owner introduced himself to us as “Tony Casanova”… (Right, and my name is Princess Consuela Banana Hammock). He was a TOTAL ham, but actually very fun and made the experience incredibly memorable. The restaurant was dim and the decor was pretty rustic compared to other more modern eateries we had seen earlier in the day. The food was AMAZING, like something you would be served at someone’s house. It wasn’t artfully plated or garnished, just delicious and simple and approachable. House wine (Chianti Classico of course) flowed as we allowed Mr. Casanova to make our selections for us. He served us himself and brought course after course, clearly enjoying that we had allowed him such liberties.
The highlights were certainly the antipasti selections. We got fresh tomato bread, and a selection of local cured meats and cheese. We were also served grilled vegetables drizzled with olive oil and served with grilled fresh mozzarella.
A unique offering from the kitchen was this fresh mushroom carpaccio…. paper thin sliced mushrooms and Pecorino cheese tossed lightly in olive oil. When the dish first arrived, I wasn’t very excited about it… and then I tasted it… the mushrooms were SO good and so flavorful! The cheese was so salty and just the right amount of olive oil rounded out the plate. I kept this dish at my end of the table….
Many other plates were brought and devoured by our group. Steaks, pork shank and a few whole fish… I had been holding out for pasta… and boy was I in luck, because what I was about to be served was the quintessential Florentine dish… what Nona serves on Sundays… Tuscan boar ragu! It might not look like much, but this dish changed the way I look at pasta… I may need to make another journey to Florence just to eat this dish again, and visit my buddy Tony! To see their most current menu, or make a reservation visit their website.