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Duomo: Le Mossacce

Via del Proconsolo, 55/r , Phone: 055 294361

Reviewed by: Jeff Whiteaker from Slovakia, review #3835

When: 2011

Le Mossacce has to have been not just the worst dining experience of this trip, but is contender for the worst dining experience I've ever had in all of Italy.

So, I'd read rave reviews of Le Mossacce on the web, and since we were on a quest to find some new (to us) restaurants in Florence, this place made the short list. However, what ensued was a lesson in how sometimes you really need to trust your instincts.

Form the first sight of the place, I was skeptical. Firstly, although there was a menu of a few specials of the day posted outside, the normal menu was frustratingly vague. It listed types of pasta (e.g. - tagliatelle, spaghetti, etc.) but *not* the accompanying sauce or ingredients. I found this pretty vexing - I mean, how is that helpful at all? But I kept thinking about all the rave reviews, and so I just thought I'd put all doubts aside and give it a shot.

My wife and I were told there would be a 10 minute wait for a table. For the next 30 minutes or so, we waited at the door, while the owner chatted up the local regulars. However, I know enough Italian to have overheard the owner telling Italian customers in line that if they waited just a few extra minutes, they could have a table to themselves, and not have to share one with strangers. Not once did he offer this to any of the non-Italian customers also waiting in line.

Finally, we were shoehorned in between couples at a table for six. Still curious/confused by what I would get if I ordered one of the vaguely listed pastas on the menu, I ordered the tagliatelle. The waiter asked if I wanted carne or pomodoro sauce. A-ha! Mystery solved. Each pasta comes with this simple choice of sauces. I ordered the carne. My wife ordered the cannelloni which the couple next to us said they'd enjoyed. Interestingly, what I got was not tagliatelle, but something more akin to pappardelle, but even wider, and it was clearly not fresh, given that one edge had been ribboned. The sauce was bland, which is about all I can say about it. The cannelloni was filled with what tasted like hamburger meat, and tasted slightly better than the "tagliatelle," but still nothing to write home about. So far, the pasta was like something you'd get out of a can. Even worse, an Italian couple nearby, who were on first-name terms with the waiter, ordered the same pasta dish as I did and got about double the portion. Not that I would've wanted that much in the first place, but the special treatment given to locals speaks of epic unprofessionalism.

We then wanted to split the osso buco, but the waiter said they were out of it. I asked what he would recommend, and he suggested the stewed rabbit, which was actually posted out front as one of the specials. Sure, I thought, you can't go wrong with that. Oh, but how wrong I was.

The rabbit really was the grand insult of the evening. It was as tough as a tire and dry as the bones it came on. I'm not exaggerating - it really was like eating a shoe. Adding insult to injury, one of the four pieces was improperly butchered, so that it was riddled with teeny tiny slivers of bone, which rendered the piece inedible. I mean, you had to pick these slivers of bone out of your mouth with every single bite. I nearly swallowed one. My wife, who is a professional chef, was convinced that this was old meat that they were simply trying to get rid of. Either that, or the chef was just completely incompetent.

So, my question is, why? Why go to Le Mossacce, when there are so many vastly superior restaurants in this town? If you like your food bland, dry, and prepared with zero regard to freshness or flavor, then Le Mossacce will probably appeal to you. But to my fellow food snobs out there, please trust me on this - there is absolutely no reason to subject yourself to this place.

Reviewed by: Robert Rainey from CA, review #3729

When: 2011

I love this place! I wish there was a clone in my neighborhood. I'd go there 3 times a week.

Directions: Very near the Duomo

I love the atmosphere which at lunch is a little busy. Full of people who seek the quick, fresh and authentic food served only on weekdays. The waiters greet the regulars by name, many people hang out here. Blue collar types on lunch break in their work clothes, oldtimers etc. Just ask what is served today and don't bother looking at the menu.

I first went here in 93, again three times in 2004, and then this time in 2011.

If I could choose one restaurant in Italy to clone for my neighborhood this is it! Then I would be one of the numerous regulars.

Reviewed by: ktp from CA, review #3720

When: 2011

Well priced and authentic Tuscan cuisine

We loved it so much we ate here twice. Narrow, authentic restaurant with well priced and excellent food. The ribollita and pasta fagiole were fantastic. No nonsense service.

Reviewed by: Amarena from NY, review #1954

When: 2006

Small, busy trattoria close to the Duomo

This is a small busy trattoria, so you might have a short wait. Decor is simple... hanging meats in the front room, communal tables, small VERY open kitchen. Quarters are tight, but I really enjoyed the atmostphere... rustic, loud and jovial. Service was friendly. There were several locals, and a few tourists.

I ate here with my sister on our first night together in Florence. We shared a rigatoni with fresh tomato sauce and a taglietelli dish with a rich meat sauce. Both were fresh, simple, and good. Next we shared the veal scallops and a contorno of white beans with oil, garlic & tomato, and one of roasted potatoes. We didnít enjoy the meat course as much as our pastas, which surprised me since I had read such good things about the restaurantís meat courses. The veal was a little dry, and not very hot. Both sides were fine, but a bit too salty, and I do like my salt! We shared 1/2 liter of Chianti and a bottle of water, and a Napoleon-ish dessert (there was no menu... we just pointed, so Iím not sure what it was called!!) The total, with coperto, was 33 euros.

Do not go if you donít want to share a table with strangers. My sister and I enjoyed this as we met two interesting couples initially, one an older Italian couple on vacation, and the other, two nice British men who very kindly gave us their unfinished bottle of Chianti. After their departure, a young American couple was seated at our table, and they immediately expressed their displeasure about sharing a table to the waiter. The waiter patiently explained they couldnít have their own table during such a busy time. The woman next complained that there were no plates to pour olive oil for the bread. She finally convinced the waiter to bring a small plate for her... he looked puzzled as he watched her pour the oil for her bread. Meanwhile, the woman complained to her husband about the service. My sister was very amused at the scene because I had earlier explained to her that the dip-the-bread-in-oil thing was an American custom, not an Italian custom. The couple walked out about 10 minutes later in disgust (not sure what was the final straw!!)... we were both entertained and relieved by their departure!

Overall, I was pleased, but I probably wonít return only because I will want to try other small traditional trattorias on our next trip to Florence.

Reviewed by: Kevin Clark from Italy, review #1771

When: 2005

Excellent traditional cuisine in a very lively atmosphere.

Directions: Between the Bargello and Duomo

This was a great place for traditional Tuscan specialties, heavy on soups and the roasted meats. It was very crowded on both of our visits, with mostly communal tables (although we had a private table both times). It's not the place for a relaxed, 2-hour dinner but the food was excellent and the prices were very reasonable. Service was quick and friendly.

On our first visit, our first dinner in Florence, we both had ribollita, which was especially good and well-suited to the cold weather. My wife had arista di maiale and I had the involtini della casa which had an artichoke filling and came in a nice tomato sauce. We also had some roasted potatoes and fagioli in oil, and finished by sharing a nice zuppa inglese. With house wine and water, dinner was a little over 40 Euros.

Our second visit was for lunch a week or so later. We went early (maybe 12:30) and most of the back was already filled with older guys who were clearly regulars and were already finishing their meals. As they finished, the tables were turned quickly, mostly with tourists this time. This time we were in the back, so we could see all the action in the kitchen which was fun. We decided to try the pasta this time so we both ordered rigatoni, one with pomodoro and one with ragu - both were good hearty plates of pasta. The secondi were very good; I had the spezzatino di vitello which was tender and tasty, and my wife had the osso buco which she said was excellent. I was full, but not too full to try a bite of my wife's mille foglie, which was very nice. Again, a very good meal for a very reasonable price (under 40 Euros including wine, water, and coffee).

Reviewed by: colleenk from MA, review #1340

When: 2004

Fun, inexpensive trattoria with great food and service

My first solo meal on arrival day in Florence and it was a perfect choice -- it is such a welcoming restaurant. I sat at a communal table with 2 Danish women and some Italians from Turin. We had a lot of fun and the food was great. I had a mixed antipasti and a delicious tortellini dish. On a return visit with a friend, I had a very good and filling ribollita and the bistecca Fiorentina that they are known for and I enjoyed tremendously. It is great fun to watch the cook in the open kitchen and the waitstaff are friendly and efficient. A great budget choice for a group or a solo diner.

Reviewed by: Marian from NJ, review #1024

When: 2004

A friendly place to have a tasty, inexpensive lunch at communal tables.

I had lunch twice at Le Mossacce this past May, as it was right near my language school. Had I been there longer, I would have gone again. You are directed to seats at a communal table, and the service is pleasant and prompt. The first time I had ribollita (cold weather in Florence this May!) and ravioli, my friend had lasagne and spinach, we shared wine and water. Everything was delicious andd the total was Ä23. The next time we ate similarly, and the price was Ä22.

As I often travel on my own, I consider whether this would be a good place for a solo diner, and the answer is surely yes.

Reviewed by: debsnet from Australia, review #979

When: 2004

An inexpensive, vibrant trattoria, providing a fun dining experience with great food for locals and travellers alike.

The food here was so good and at such great prices! My husband and I especially enjoyed the hearty ribollita, the cannelloni and the bistecca fiorentina. The waiters were great; they recommended what was good on that particular day and remembered us on our second visit.

We enjoyed sitting at the communal tables at the back, chatting to local Florentines and 'foreigners' like us whilst we ate excellent Italian food over the hissing, clanging sights and sounds of the open kitchen.

Reviewed by: Robert Rainey from CA, review #838

When: 2004

My favorite restaurant of the trip - I ate here 3 times!

My favorite place on this trip. I love to sit by the tiny kitchen in the back and see what is cooking. I had a two great soups there: a farro and a ribollita. I never look at a menu here; I just ask what is that and I'll have that. Service is very quick and the food is great. For me as a single traveler this trip, the communal tables make it very social. The waiters recognize you on your 2nd visit and it makes you feel at home.

I went here 11 years ago on my honeymoon and one of the waiters was the same! No wonder I remembered this place so fondly. A MUST.

Very near the Duomo. Many locals eat here every day!

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

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