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Oltrarno/Santo Spirito: Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco

Borgo San Jacapo 43r , Phone: 055 215706

Reviewed by: GailS from MA, review #3709

When: 2011

Seemed like a tourist trap

My husband and I ate here mostly because of all the positive reviews I've read here. The experience was disappointing.

The food was good, but not outstanding. The service was the real issue. We went on a Monday and it was the evening of the day we arrived from the States. We went a bit early, around 7:30, and were seated immediately. Our courses were rushed with the waiters hovering ready to remove plates as soon as we completed a course, ready to set down the next one. When it came to ordering dessert we had about a half a glass of wine each to finish and told the waiter we would order when we finished with the wine. We had multiple waiters stop and ask us for our dessert order after this within less than 5 minutes.

After ordering dessert and limoncellos and finishing the desserts the bill was dropped on the table as they removed the dessert dishes. The quality of the food was OK but not worth compromising the dining experience. I wouldn't go back - there are much better choices.

Reviewed by: jan55612 from Minnesota, USA, review #3697

When: 2010

While this may once have been a lovely osteria, it seems to have morphed into a tourist trap. We were disappointed and will not return!

Four of us had dinner at Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco on October 23, 2010. Even though we had made a reservation for 8:30, we still waited for more than a few minutes for a table. To make the wait worse, there was no where to stand where we weren't in someone's way. We kept getting bumped and jostled by the wait staff and other dinners as we tried to squeeze against a wall.

We were disappointed in the food. My husband ordered a veal dish, which was not at all tender. The service was condescending and rushed, with the waiter bringing the second course before we finished the first, and asking if we wanted dessert before we finished our secondi. He then brought the check without us asking for it! The cost of the meal was not inexpensive, but we felt like we were in a fast food churn mill instead of a nice osteria. Unfortunately, what may once have been an authentic, family run restaurant, seems to have morphed into a tourist trap that is trying to see how many times it can turn each table in one night. We will not return.

Reviewed by: JDeQ from Canada, review #2970

When: 2008

A busy restaurant where excellent Tuscan cuisine is complemented by the intimate yet unpretentious atmosphere

Grilled Veal, photo by J DeQuetteville

This restaurant is well reviewed by many on the slowtravel message board although some of the reviews are mixed regarding the service. We met Palma and Brad here on a Sunday night for our last dinner in Italy – it seemed like a good spot to say good bye to both the country and the people.

We had reservations so we were seated promptly. Thank goodness we did have the reservations as we saw quite a few folks without reservations turned away. We found the service to be quite friendly and efficient.

Paul and I both ordered the pappardelle with cinghiale ragu – how could you not given the name of the restaurant? The pasta was perfectly cooked and the ragu delicious – it wasn’t the best cinghiale ragu we’ve had but it was certainly in the top five (did I say we really enjoy cinghiale ragu?) Palma ordered the strozopretti which are one the restaurant’s specialties and she quite enjoyed them (as did Paul who finished them off for her).

For my secondi I ordered a grilled veal chop which was amazing. I was shocked at the size of the chop I received. It was perfectly cooked and was delicately flavoured with herbs. Brad ordered the stewed cinghiale which was served on a bed of polenta. Paul ordered thin veal cutlets which were delicious and tender.

We splurged and ordered dessert – who cared about calories, we would be home soon! Paul loved his panna cotta with chocolate and my sorbetto al limone was the perfect way to end a dinner on a hot evening in Florence.

I can’t remember the bottle of wine that Brad ordered but it was good. We also drank two bottles of brachetto that we had brought with us. The restaurant did not charge a corkage fee.

We split the bill and it came to about 35 euro each which was reasonable given the dinner that we had enjoyed.

Reviewed by: Pokey from MA, review #2769

When: 2007

Sadly, we were disappointed in this Osteria that we'd heard so much about.

Directions: Borgo San Jacopo is located in the Oltr'arno section of the city, which runs from Ponte Santa Trinità to Ponte Vecchio.

After reading so many glowing reviews of this osteria, I looked forward to a wonderful and relaxing meal here. Our party of four had reservations (a must for a Friday evening). Our reservations were for 8:30 pm. We were promptly seated and from that moment on I felt like I was in a race to finish my meal. Our waiter seemed very patronizing, we all felt pressured to hurry up and order. We had to ask a few times for wine glasses. The ribollita was mediocre, the pappardelle al cinghiale was tasty but nothing "out of this world." The couple we were with enjoyed their meals, (Lombatina di vitella con contorno and a grilled shrimp special).

Bedsides being very hot inside, it was very noisy and parties waiting to be seated were hovering over us. It made for a very unrelaxing and hurried meal.

When presented with the bill, our waiter made sure we knew that the tip was not included! I hadn't even finished my wine and they were clearing off the table. I finished it outside!

Perhaps we came on on "off" night, hence my "neutral" rating, but it was the worst dining experience I've had in Italy.

Reviewed by: Monica Pileggi from MD, review #1917

When: 2006

A great place for dinner on a Sunday when most restaurants are closed.

Delicious variety of meats - antipasti, photo by Monica J. Pileggi

Catch this place on a Sunday, as most places are closed that day.

I ordered their mixed meat antipasti, which included wild boar, salami, proscuitto, etc., along with grilled eggplant that was infused with garlic and hot pepper flakes; cheese and two crostini Toscana. That could have been a meal in itself! The eggplant was fabulous! For my entrée, I ordered their Papparadelle Cinghaile, wide pasta noodles with wild boar meat. I just love this dish! Along with a ½ liter of wine and bottled water, my meal came to €26.

This was the second time I dined here and is one of my favorites in Florence.

Reviewed by: Kevin Clark from Italy, review #1776

When: 2005

Yes, it's in every guidebook and packed with tourists, but we had a very nice meal here with emphasis (naturally) on cinghiale.

A very popular place, listed in all the guidebooks and chock full of tourists. Reservations were essential even in November. At first we weren’t thrilled by the service here, due at least in part to our indecision about how many courses to order and probably also to the waiter’s expectations of a couple of tourists. Once he realized we weren’t in a hurry, he seemed to warm up a bit and the service was better from then on.

We started with a plate of mixed salumi di cinghiale, about 4 or 5 kinds. We both followed this with tagliatelle Rossini, a cream sauce with ham and peas. At this point the waiter expected us to be finished and offered dolce and coffee. He was surprised when we asked to see the menu again and then ordered the cinghiale con polenta and carciofi fritti to share. The cinghiale was excellent and went well with the polenta, and the carciofi were crispy and good. We surprised the waiter even further by ordering dessert - bignoline (miniature profiteroles in a dark chocolate sauce), which were also very nice.

Total for the meal including house wine, water, coffee, and grappa was under €80 for the two of us.

Reviewed by: gedlin from USA, review #1194

When: 2005

Twice disappointed, I won't go back. The food was mediocre at best, and the service indifferent

I first ate here in 2002 with my daughter, and wasn't enthusiastic about either the food or the service. They seemed in a big hurry to push us through dinner, I guess to use the table again. However, others on the board seem to like the restaurant and Diva recommends it, so I returned (March 2005) on a day that I was passing by, quite hungry, and it was earlier than most restaurants open in Florence. Someone on the board had recommended their onion soup, and it sounded good as I had become chilled at dusk. I went alone.

As there was no onion soup that day, I ordered fettuna, usually a favorite. Their version -- a single piece of bread for 3 euro -- was not savory but bitter. I had had wonderful cinghiale with polenta in Montalcino a few months ago, and so ordered that as a main and warming dish. But the meat had no character, the sauce was bland, the polenta rubbery. The spinach side dish, dry and overcooked, tasted like frozen spinach or yesterday's that had been reheated in the microwave. It was absolutly the worst spinach I have ever eaten in Italy.

The meal, with a quarter-liter of the house wine, came to about 25 euro. Money poorly spent. The service was indifferent.

Reviewed by: lavena from NJ, review #1069

When: 2004

Wonderful, wonderful! The name of the restaurant translates to Inn of the White Boar, and there is indeed boar on the menu - plus lots of other stuff.

Directions: On the "other" side of the ponte vecchio.

We stayed in Florence for five nights and ate here twice. Fabulous. There is a wonderful pasta with wild boar sauce that my husband thoroughly enjoyed, as well as piato secondo of ultra tender slices of beefsteak on top of arugala, all topped with generous slices of top notch parmigiano (a very typical Tuscan meal). In this "meat" restaurant I ate baccala in a tomatoe sauce that was very, very good, and which was accompanied by a bowl of typical Tusdan white beans in oil. They have a "triple crown" dessert that should be tried as well. House wine is excellent, plus there's a good wine list, including Nobile di Montepulciano.

Reviewed by: Monica Pileggi from MD, review #899

When: 2004

Great atmosphere wtih very good food!

Directions: Cross over the Ponte Vecchio and turn right onto Borgo S. Jacopo. The restaurant is on the left hand side about 2 blocks down.

This Osteria was highly recommended to me by fellow "Fodorites" on Fodors.com, as well as being listed in several guidebooks. I love risotto, so I ordered the risotto with asparagus. I also had the wild boar meat with polenta. I didn't write down what Reenie had, but along with her meal and a large jug of red house wine that we shared, the bill came to the equivalent of US$71. Everything was very good and we enjoyed the atmosphere of the dining room. Osteria website

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

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