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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.

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

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