La Bottega del Buon Caffe, Florence, 2/28/15

Exterior
Exterior

An elegant little place overlooking the Arno River, tucked into low building that houses it and a more casual dining spot. Next door is the medieval tower of San Niccolo. The interior is modern but comfortable and the kitchen is open through a large window in the dining room where diners can watch their dinners being prepared. They offer both 6 and 8 course tasting menus. Starting with a little pigeon liver sandwich covered with seeds was a very tasting way to start. Even a radish, so simple yet with the bit of butter it became special.

parmeasan breadsticks
parmeasan breadsticks
part of interior
part of interior

I loved the texture of the potato foam and white chocolate. The bits of crispy yams on top added just the right amount of sweetness. The breads were all nice with a touch of salt on top of the nut bread that brought out the flavor and a long rise on the white bread gave it a substantial texture. The lobster/langoustine dish again had a good mix of textures but very mild flavors and the lobster was slightly overcooked making it a tad tough. The foie gras brûlée was brilliant! I loved the crispy top and accompanying brioche. Another splendid combo was the tortellini where the chestnuts and rose hips made a winning mix. I liked it better than the ravioli even though it had a lively red pepper sauce, but the green sauce had a bit too much anchovy for me. I also thought it a poor choice to serve 2 stuffed pastas. the cauliflower cream with the fish was tasty and sweet and the black “rice” added good color contrast. The pigeon was cooked right and the following pineapple sorbet was nicely accented with a ginger crumble. The carrot dessert was wonderful and sweet again with a rich cookie crumble. Tiramisu was tasty but you could have appreciated the look of it better on a plate than lost in the deep bowl. Finally the extra desserts were actually something worth eating – the pastry tarts buttery and the chocolate macaroons among the best I’ve ever had. Raspberry thing got a bit soggy for me but my husband liked it best!

6 course menu
6 course menu

This is a chef trying for some serious cooking and thus I offer a bit of serious critique on what was a satisfying and tasty meal. I think he needs to find some other color combos besides red and green and not rely so heavily on sweetness to sell his food. The crispy mixed with the squishy seemed to be a part of every plate and while I appreciate variations of texture in a course, sometimes I’d rather just be able to taste the strong taste of the star attraction. The chef is personable and the staff were all very nice with the exception of the sommelier, who came off a bit snotty at times, so I can see why they were awarded the Michelin star, but this place seems to have the potential to merit even higher accolades.

8 course menu
8 course menu
wine
wine
Chef looks over every plate before it is brought out
Chef looks over every plate before it is brought out
Radish with butter, pigeon liver sandwich
Radish with butter, pigeon liver sandwich
Potato foam, white chocolate, truffles with crispy sweet potato garnish
Potato foam, white chocolate, truffles with crispy sweet potato garnish
Bread tray: focaccia, long rise Tuscan bread and chestnut and walnut
Bread tray: focaccia, long rise Tuscan bread and chestnut and walnut
Lobster, raw langoustine, squid ink croutons, broccoli cream and orange sauce
Lobster, raw langoustine, squid ink croutons, broccoli cream and orange sauce
Cream brulee of foie gras with red onion ice cream and brioche
Cream brulee of foie gras with red onion ice cream and brioche
wine
wine
Tortellini with pecorino, chestnuts, rosehip and balsamic vinegar
Tortellini with pecorino, chestnuts, rosehip and balsamic vinegar
Tortellini with pecorino, chestnuts, rosehip and balsamic vinegar
Tortellini with pecorino, chestnuts, rosehip and balsamic vinegar
Ravioli filled tongue, red pepper cream and salsa verde
Ravioli filled tongue, red pepper cream and salsa verde
Rombo (turbot) with black olive crisp, cauliflower velvet, Venere rice and red turnip sauce
Rombo (turbot) with black olive crisp, cauliflower velvet, Venere rice and red turnip sauce
purse stools!
purse stools!
Chef Sardi in the kitchen
Chef Sardi in the kitchen
Fiesole Pigeon, kale, millet and foie gras
Fiesole Pigeon, kale, millet and foie gras
close up of pigeon
close up of pigeon
chef Antonello Sardi came to the table to talk
chef Antonello Sardi came to the table to talk
pineapple sorbet with ginger and butter crumble
pineapple sorbet with ginger and butter crumble
carrot , cinnamon and hazelnut
carrot , cinnamon and hazelnut
close up
close up
La Bottega Tiramisu, whith white chocolate ice cream
La Bottega Tiramisu, whith white chocolate ice cream
Little extras: warm pastry tarts and chocolate macaroons and raspberry on cake
Little extras: warm pastry tarts and chocolate macaroons and raspberry on cake

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