Al Tranvai has the reputation of being one of those old fashioned, traditional restaurants in the working class neighborhood of San Frediano. But for some reason it often slips between the cracks of foodie destinations and is never on the top of anyone’s hit list.
It should be. Al Tranvai serves some of the best – and often creative food – in Florence, at an extremely reasonable price with some of the friendliest service around.
The restaurant, founded in 1985, is in the leafy and quiet Piazza Tasso. This is at the far reaches of the working class San Frediano neighborhood, and so way off most tourists tracks. The weird sounding name refers to both it’s shape – long and skinny like a tram car – as well as the actual bright green tram car front that divides the dining room from the otherwise open kitchen. (to each his own)
Rustic wooden tables take the place of tram seats, running on either side of the restaurant. Daily specials (which change at lunch and dinner) are written up on the chalk board and a scrap of butcher’s paper taped to the wall.
Expect to find classics like pappa al pomodoro and ribollita. But don’t be surprised by more innovative offerings like risotto ai porri (leek risotto) and gnudi gorgonzola e asparagi (ricotta dumplings with blue cheese and asparagus.)
Second courses are just as tempting. Again, they range from the uber classic : trippa, peposa (beef stew) and lesso rifatto (sauteed boiled beef) to somewhat lighter asparagus souffle. I loved the mix of bacala, potatoes and leeks that came served piping hot in its own cute, bright orange casserole dish. But for me their stellar dish is the coniglio fritto con zucchini: a huge pile of crispy fried rabbit served with equally crunchy spears of deep fried zucchini. I mean really, how often do you see fried rabbit on a menu?
Save room for dessert, since the owner/chef is a master. The budino di castagne (chestunut pudding), served with purreed persimmon was a revelation. We also managed to grab the last slice of the thin, and intensely flavored, pear and chocolate tart.
Piazza Torquato Tasso, 14r
055 225 197