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Oltrarno: Enoteca Pane e Vino

Via San Niccolò, 60r , Phone: 055.2476956

Closing day: Sunday

Reviewed by: Gene from VA, review #1041

When: 2004

Great food, good, extensive wine list, less than pleasant service.

This restaurant is somewhat off the beaten path in the Oltrarno section of Florence. It is small, with only enough seating for about 20-25 diners.

Five of us dined together in late summer, during the fresh porcini season. Anitpasti, primi and secondi piatti were inventive and tasty. Our table started with pan-fried ravioli, stuffed with porcini and drizzled with honey - excellent. For primi, we had tagliatelle with a rabbit sauce, again very tasty. Our table had a variety of secondi - delicious grilled lamb chops, a tagliata (thin slices) of grilled beef (sort of like a sliced bistecca alla fiorentina), wonderful roasted eggplant with a tomato sauce, and for me, a fantasia of porcini consisting of a porcini mousse, a porcini salad, and grilled olive-oil-drenched large caps of porcini.

There is a really good wine list, with wines from all over Tuscany and elsewhere in Italy, including the Piedmont and Veneto. The wines we selected were also excellent; since we were in Tuscany, we chose traditional Chianti Classicos from Castello di Brolio.

Dolci was an upscale chocolate cake served with a chocolatey chocolate sauce - one of the better desserts I've had in Italy which is not known for its sweets. All told, the meal, with wine, water and cover, came to about €45-50 per person.

The only problem was with the service. Perhaps they were rushed (there was a large group (12 persons) of tourists from a foodie-type tour), but the head waiter was attitudinally challenged.

While we were all looking over the menu, we asked for a bottle of wine and he told us curtly that "in Europe," one did not order wine until we had chosen our food, and with that the waiter left until we indicated that we were ready to order. When we were finally allowed to order wine, it turned out that the cellar was out of the wine we requested. We were again curtly told to make another choice, with no attempt to provide any help. And finally, at the meal's conclusion we were told that if we wanted to leave a tip, it should be in cash. A tip? Think again - not really.

So, would I go back? Probably not, and that's too bad because the food was really top-knotch and creative.

This review is the opinion of a Slow Travel member and not of slowtrav.com.

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