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Oltrarno/Palazzo Pitti: Trattoria Bordino

Via Stracciatella, 9r

Reviewed by: Jeff Whiteaker from CA, review #2538

When: 2007

Based on good reviews from Sandra Gustafson's "Great Eats Italy" book as well as other sources, we tried Trattoria Bordino. However, we would not recommend it.

Trattoria Bordino is located in such close proximity to the Ponte Vecchio and its seemingly endless flow of tourist traffic that we were a little apprehensive initially. But it is tucked away in a surprisingly quiet and small side-street, and with a truffle dish listed on the menu, I was intrigued enough to give it a try (I've got an unrelenting truffle obsession that sometimes gets me into trouble).

The decor was kitschy, cool, and quaint: a dimly lit room with stone walls and vaulted ceilings, littered with a fascinating assortment of old and slightly primitive looking metal-work, and random, cheap art. The clientele was pretty much all tourists, however, and given our experience with the food, I could see why.

The aforementioned truffle dish, Taglierini with razor thin slices of Tartufo Bianco in a cream sauce, had the distinction of being one of the few bland truffle dishes I've ever eaten. I mean, the dish was okay, but I felt like I had to concentrate a little to hard to make out the normally rich, potent truffle flavor. Weird.

Sadly, the meal went downhill from there. For her primi, my girlfriend ordered Taglietelle with Funghi Porcini, which, quite bafflingly, came in a red, tomato-based sauce, which had the unfortunate effect of muting the rich, earthy flavors of the Porcini. Just about every Funghi Porcini-based pasta we've had anywhere else has come with some kind of a cream sauce, or something lighter, which has the effect of carrying the flavors of the porcini. But this tomato-based muck was so over-powering that Bordino could've tossed in any kind of mushroom and it wouldn't have made the slightest difference. And the sauce itself didn't taste particularly fresh or interesting.

Sadly, this funky tomato sauce made a reappearance in *both* of our secondi. I ordered the veal scallopine, which was drowning in said tomato sauce, while my girlfriend ordered a different veal dish which came in the *exact* same sauce. Clearly, Bordino has a big vat of the stuff in the kitchen, and they just ladle the shlop on any dish requiring some kind of sauce. To us this seemed like amateur-hour and we were quite unimpressed.

Based on this one experience, I would honestly urge anyone to avoid Trattoria Bordino. There are many vastly superior dining experiences to be had in Florence, so please don't waste an evening here!

Reviewed by: Kevin Clark from Italy, review #1774

When: 2005

Great bistecca alla fiorentina and a table full of homemade desserts.

Directions: Up a side street from Santa Felicita

We had a very nice dinner here. The dining room was in a cellar decorated with banners and metalwork and was very quiet and comfortable. There was a mix of Italian-speakers and tourists, and interestingly a fair number of solo diners. Service was very friendly and timely; we did not feel either hurried or ignored.

I ordered tagliatelle with porcini and my wife had taglierini with truffles. Both dishes were excellent, though the porcini were frozen. We then had a huge bistecca all fiorentina which was tender and delicious and perfectly cooked. We would normally have passed on dessert after a meal like that, but the array of obviously homemade cakes and pastries was impossible to resist and as good as they looked! I had torta della nonna (one of my favorites) and my wife had the tiramisu.

We had a liter of house red, water, and coffee and the total cost was about 70 - not bad especially considering the size of the bistecca.

Reviewed by: colleenk from MA, review #1269

When: 2005

Lovely, welcoming, moderately priced trattoria near Pitti Palace.

This was one of my favorite meals in Florence this trip. The ambience was friendly, decor traditional and service very good. Menus had English translations and served typical Tuscan fare at very reasonable prices. So much so that I splurged on a nice bottle of Brunello!

We were in the mood for steak that night, so shared a delicious bistecca alla fiorentina, carved with style at our table. The side order of spinach was also very good. To start, we shared a pasta that I can't remember except that it was very tasty. I would be happy to return to this restaurant.

The bill was 81 for two people, but this included a bottle of Brunello!

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

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