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Santa Maria Novella: Trattoria 13 Gobbi/13 Hunchbacks

Via Del Porcellana , Phone: 055 284015

Reviewed by: Sydneygirl from Australia, review #3753

When: 2011

Lovely atmosphere-tuscan food

This is a lovely restaurant always busy so make a reservation.

It is a moderate priced restaurant, we had superb service from a waiter who was very helpful.

We had pasta with a brilliant ragu sauce made with red wine, the sauce was divine. Then we shared a bistecca Florentina for 2 - I have had many bisteccas in my trips to Florence but this one ranked very close to the best.

Then we indulged in a berry cheesecake that was so light but so full of flavour I can still taste it. We had a 30 euro Chianti so our bill was 119 euros for two. You can eat cheaper here if you don't order the bistecca(this is the most expensive item on the menu).

Overall a lovely dining experience.

Reviewed by: cct77 from UK, review #961

When: 2004

We found the service to be rude, the food to be average and the hygiene standards to be low. There are many lovely Florentine restaurants - this is not one.

Having booked our table in advance and arrived on time, we were ignored by the waiter at the door who proceeded to clear tables whilst well aware that we were waiting. We finally advanced into the restaurant to try find someone else to help us. The waiter whom we approached next was unapologetic in the extreme. We were made to wait for our table and eventually each given a small glass of unappealing white wine to drink while we waited. Both glasses had dead flies in them.

Then friends of the waiter arrived and were given fresh glasses of champagne and shown to their table before us. Eventually we were seated - at a table served by the same waiter who had ignored us.

The food was average, the service rude and rushed and it was obvious that we were being treated as second class citizens because we were tourists. When we got the bill, the waiter had added extra courses which we had not eaten. His reaction when this was pointed out, and the reaction of the other waiting staff, made it clear that this was not an accident - he was attempting to over-charge us on the basis that we would not check the bill.

Moreover, this was the only restaurant we ate in which added an automatic service charge - presumably if it were discretionary, no one would tip! A young chef working there was a delightful American who was obviously appalled at our treatment, but this made little difference to our experience - which left a bad taste on our last night in Florence.

If you are going to visit the city, give this one a miss - try a lovely, friendly authentic restaurant like Il Brindellone instead.

Reviewed by: Joseph from CT, review #685

When: 2003

Slick decor, good food -- and the unmistakable goal of "turning" the tables. We felt rushed for the first time ever in Italy.

Directions: Off Borgo Ognissanti near the Excelsior Westin Hotel

English is spoken here, in more ways than one. A lot of thought has gone into the decor, with much exposed brick and cleverly revealed vintage electrical wiring. While admirable from a decorator's standpoint, the effect was too slick by one -- a little too much like a carefully packaged NY restaurant. This is not what we look for in a "neighborhood trattoria" in Florence.

The food was OK. But we would not recommend 13 Gobbi because this is the first restaurant in Italy in which we have ever felt rushed. We had barely begun our appetizers when the waiter arrived with our next course. Rather than retiring graciously with or without an apology, our young waitress refused to retreat. She stood there clearly expecting us to lift our unfinished plates to make room for hers. We accepted the challenge and won what had clearly become an awkward standoff by refusing to forefeit the remainder of our appetizers (there was literally no room on the table for both sets of plates). She finally withdrew, and allowed us to finish in peace before returning with the next course.

This seemed to us to be a very "American-style" Italian restaurant that has successfully indoctrinated its young staff with its business mission -- extra "turns" on every table.

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

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