Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Every couple of years my friend Marietta travels to Florence, from Boston, to attend the Biennale Internazionale dell’Antiquariato. I usually come up from Rome for the day, to wander around Florence, see the show, but mostly to have lunch with ‘Etta.
It’s always hard deciding where to go. ‘Etta and I used to live in Florence (back in graduate school days) and so of course we have our old favorites. But I always feel like we should branch out, try something new. (Ok. I'm always 'researching' for Eat Florence too) Last time around we went to Osteria Tornabuoni, which was new, a bit fancy, and certainly good.
But that’s the thing about new places in Florence. They pop up, and then they disappear. Like Osteria Tornabuoni. Here one year, gone the next.
So this time around we decided to mix something old with something new. We settled on Ristorante del Fagioli. One of the oldest trattorie in Florence. But new for us since - weirdly - after all the time we’ve both spent in Florence neither if us had ever been there.
Ristorante del Fagioli is one of those Italian restaurants you’re always hoping to find. Wood paneled dining rooms, smiling cooks in the kitchen, the day’s specials up on a blackboard. They even have old fashioned, straw covered bottles of Chianti. Perfect!
Since Fagioli still has a great reputation, I wasn’t so surprised that the food was outstanding. The menu - which is printed out daily - featured a couple of fish dishes, since it was Friday: bacala, and squid. But we went for straight for the meaty classics.
Crostini with fegato to start, accompanied by a bottle of their house Chianti. (They set the bottle down and you only pay for what you drink. Dangerous.)
As my main course I chose something they call crocchetine campagnole, which was basically flavor packed meatballs (with mint and grated lemon) in a tomato sauce. ‘Etta chose arista, which was served dripping in porky pan juices. Of course we ordered the house specialty: fagioli. White beans cooked until just tender, then drizzled with olive oil. A plate of silken string beans, stewed in with tomatoes and oodles of olive oil rounded out the meal.
The only reason we didn’t order a huge slice of torta della nonna to finish, is because we were planning on stopping at Carapina for a gelato on our way to the antiques show.
But we weren’t so worried since we knew this restaurant would be around the next time the Biennale and ‘Etta came to town in two years. And every year thereafter.
Ristorante del Fagioli
Corso Tintori 47r
***NO CREDIT CARDS***
Open for lunch & dinner, Monday-Friday
Closed Saturday and Sunday.