I just got back from a long weekend in Florence, where I was working on some exciting developments with my pillow company, but to be honest the real goal was EATING! What better place to start my descent into gluttony than our first dinner at one of oldest stars on the dining Florentine dining scene: Trattoria Sostanza (Via della Porcellana, 25).
The menu is simple and probably hasn't changed since they opened in 1869. The trattoria is modest in its appearance; remarkable given how many celebrities and famous politicians have eaten there over the decades. We started with the tortellini al sugo ... delicious bites with just enough meat sauce.
You must know that the two most ordered dishes on the entire menu, and what Sostanza is noted for, is the tortino di carciofi (artichoke tart) and the pollo al burro (chicken with butter). The chicken arrives to your table directly from the pan it was cooked in on the stovetop, sizzling and spitting in a bath of melted butter. Have your cardiologist on standby and then enjoy this juicy chicken dish!
The artichoke tart is also delicious and I found the presentation most interesting: the artichokes are enveloped by thick strands of egg, almost resembling an omelette. It is also no stranger to butter!
Its amazing the amount of dishes that come out of such a small (and hot!) kitchen. The kitchen staff love visitors so feel free to walk back and have a gander.
Anyone craving the traditional bistecca alla fiorentina (mile high Florentine steak) will not be disappointed, it is a mainstay on the menu at Trattoria Sostanza.
They will slice you off a hunk and cook it up on the grill to perfection.
Whatever you do, order the house special dessert, the torta alla meringa or meringue cake. So many layers of meringue, ice cream, cream, and dotted with chunks of dark chocolate surrounded by fresh berries of the season (in this case tiny strawberries). This is the British version of Eton Mess, only ten times better!
Take a moment to admire the memorabilia on the walls. Dozens and dozens of patrons have scrawled lyrical at how much they enjoyed their meal at Sostanza, from Henry Winkler to Steven Spielberg ... you will be surprised at how many people of note have dined here over the years.
If you go for dinner, remember to book around 9pm when the real Florentines go out to dine, otherwise if you take the 7:30pm booking the food is naturally just as good, but you'll be surrounded by tourists.