> SlowTrav > Italy > Restaurants > Reviews > Florence

Santa Maria Novella: Trattoria Sostanza

25r via le Porcellana , Phone: 055 212691

Closing day: Saturday and Sunday

Reviewed by: Robert Rainey from CA, review #3730

When: 2011

Its been there for something like 100 years, great steak

Directions: fabulous steak

I last went in 2004 during the Passatore 100 K run, I think it was the day after, well this time I had not run 62 miles but I managed to eat the fabulous steak. I think avoid if you are vegetarian as steak and chicken are their two well known dishes.

Reviewed by: AlliK from DC, review #1289

When: 2005

Good food and fun atmosphere (though not the best steak I've had...)

Two of us figured we had to try Sostanza after all of its guidebook, tv show (Rachel Ray), and magazine (Bon Appetit) coverage. We reserved (essential!) for the early seating and were surprised to see a full line of people waiting to open when the restaurant opened. Everyone files in to their spots at communal tables and the food starts coming out quickly!

We split the crostini with liver - the liver was great flavor, but spread more thickly than I typically like. For primi we had the zuppa paesana which was a wonderfully flavored veggie soup with a few pieces of bread tossed in and the bibb lettuce salad (nice greens, but the vinaigrette was a little salty). For mains we chose the bistecca fiorentina and the artichoke omelet. The bistecca was tender and juicy and definitely hit the spot, though it didn't totally wow us. The omelet was very rich (so that's what real eggs taste like!) and buttery, but didn't have quite as many artichoke hearts as I would've hoped. For dessert we shared some wild strawberries with cream - a nice light way to end the meal. We drank a half liter of the house red which was fine. Total cost = 61.

In all, I'm not quite sure that the food was worth the amount of money (our dinner at 4 Leoni was a little less and a little tastier), but it was still a fun experience and I'd recommend it to other travelers looking to try some traditional Florentine specialties while rubbing elbows at the close tables with (mostly) tourists and locals.

Reviewed by: Robert Rainey from CA, review #866

When: 2004

Best steak in Florence - out of 3 this trip - maybe best in my life.

Directions: When looking for Sostanza I got confused with a similarly named street south of the duomo: Pellicceria - no no no! From Ponte Carraia take a left from the small piazza Goldini to Borgo Ognissanti. Pass via Fossi and take the next street - Via Porcellana

This place has been here forever. I sat at a communal table (I love that about Italy) as I was alone this trip. Next to me was an older couple who were getting ready to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Not only had he been coming here the entire 50 years but his father came here before that. (His son is also following this tradition ... he left a bill for his father to pay at the cashier!)

The steak was rare and perfectly flavored. I also had spinach and pasta al funghi. With a bottle of Brunello ({equivalent of} US$55) and antipasto it was about $100. More than enough for two average eaters. NOTE: No credit cards accepted

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

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