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Oltrarno/Palazzo Pitti: I Tarocchi

Renai 12-14/r , Phone: 055 2343912

Reviewed by: Jeff Whiteaker from Slovakia, review #3834

When: 2011

I Tarocchi has become one of my current favorite restaurants in Florence. Nestled in the San Niccolo area, I Tarocchi prepares its food with attention and care.

Some friend of ours stayed in an apartment in Florence's comparatively tranquil San Niccolo neighborhood for two weeks in the fall of 2010. Not only did they recommend the apartment (which we stayed in), but they raved about a nearby restaurant called I Tarocchi, which they went to four times during their two week stay. On our first visit to I Tarocchi, it was easy to see why our friends went nuts over the place.

Apart from friendly waitstaff and a tastefully casual atmosphere, the food is prepared using fresh ingredients by people who obviously care. For pasta, we ordered the fagottini with pear and cheese, which displayed a perfect balance of sweet and savory, and was cooked to perfection. We also ordered the tagliatelle ai funghi porcini (one of my very favorites - when done right), which was rich and flavorful, and both the porcinis and pasta were obviously fresh, while the sauce was done with a light touch. I also liked that the presentation of both looked like they'd actually put a little thought into it.

We then ordered the roast pork and potatoes, which featured thinly sliced, tender pieces of pork bathed in a tasty sauce infused with garlic and rosemary. Again, the ingredients were simple and fresh, which was immediately apparent the second the food hit our palettes. We also ordered the insalata sfiziosa, which was by far one of the best salads of the entire trip. It consisted of a mix of radicchio and arugula, shavings of parmesan, pine nuts, and raisins. All flavors were perfectly balanced, and in the land of the pedestrian insalata mista, we really appreciated the more creative approach with this salad.

We went back two other nights, and we were similarly impressed with the other dishes we ordered. One standout was the lasagna al forgo, which was an immaculately prepared, straight-forward, delicious lasagna bolognese. I Tarocchi is also known for its wood oven-fired pizza, and the one we tried (with prosciutto and arugula) was quite good. The only thing that didn't wow us was their Italian spin on cheesecake, which was just okay.

The red house wine was good. The clientele was a healthy mix of travelers and locals. They seem to make pizzas to go, too, as we saw numerous locals coming in to pick up a pizza. Additionally, I Tarocchi is very affordable. We usually got out of there spending about 40 euros total.

Not only was it nice to have a restaurant of this caliber that was only about a block away from where we were staying, but it was nice to discovery a new (to us) place that was so good. The food here may not be some great culinary epiphany, but it's obviously put together by people who are passionate and serious about food. Recommended.

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

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