On a tiny little side street just on the opposite side of the Arno River in the Oltrarno neighborhood of Florence lies Il Santo Bevitore. This is one of the most talked about restaurants in the city, mainly due to the fact that they serve near Michelin-star quality Italian dishes (this is no spaghetti and meatballs joint my friends!).
The service is gregarious and friendly and reservations are highly recommended. We sat down for dinner at 9:30pm on a Sunday night and this place was just getting going. Lively and spirited, but perfectly dark with ultra flattering candlelight dancing on every table, its a wonderful ambience in which to tuck into some superb and inventive Italian fare.
Two of us sampled six dishes (for the sake of the blog, naturally), but left feeling satiated, not stuffed. We tried the garganelli pasta with crushed tomatoes, zucchini and onions:
Followed by little tortellini parcels filled with pigeon and topped with fava beans and a bitter orange mustard:
We washed it down with a white Arneis from Piedmont, which was exceptionally food friendly:
Once past the "primi" we then moved onto some house specialities: crunchy octopus legs:
And a "Wow, how did they do that?" mushroom flan with a mousse-like consistency topped with sage, celery, speck and parmigiano:
The next two courses were a beef carpaccio with capers, bits of marinated yellow egg yolk, and pecorino cheese:
And two milky balls of beautiful burrata cheese on a bed of sauteed spinach:
The wine list is extensive and the waiters love retrieving bottles from the very top shelves!