Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Firenze - Sostanza

Sostanza – January 2009
Via della Porcellana, 25
50123 Firenze, Italia
055 212691

This was the only restaurant that we saw during the entire week in January that was full.  It is extremely popular with locals and tourists, so definitely reserve.  I just read that the restaurant has been there since 1869. All seating is communal at 1 of 4 tables, so this can be a little intimidating, but hopefully you will be with nice people.  I believe they do 2 seatings for dinner,  I would recommend being in the 2nd seating, or you will probably be with fellow Americans.  Either way, it is awesome.  

The atmosphere is very convivial.  There is one owner and 2 helpers who serve the entire dining room. They are true professionals.  The owner takes everyone’s order.  This as well is a little intimidating at first, but don’t be afraid, they are one of a kind.  They are famous for two things here, I would recommend getting both.  1.  Pollo al burro – chicken cutlets sauteed with butter. I did not get to try this, but it looked incredible.  2. Bistecca alla Fiorentina – This is the famous Florentine steak made from the local chianina beef.  This is pretty much the only beef in Europe that can compare, and possibly exceed the quality of the beef in the US.  The Bistecca is always served for 2, it is always the same weight, I believe 2KG, so it is a lot of meat.  If you want it rare order it “al sangue.”  I recommend 2 meat eating people to order both to share, even if it is enough food for 3.   The picture below is not from Sostanza, but it is a great picture of chianina beef.

For the appetizers look and see what other people are eating.  I don’t remember getting menus, so there might not be any.  You can order the entrees, and then ask the owner to choose the starters.   They also have salumi.   Sloan did have another very good dish for her entrée, I believe it was called Sformato.  It was an egg based dish similar to a frittata with artichokes and a soft cheese similar to ricotta.  They actually brought her in the kitchen to show her how to make it, and made a big show if not letting me come with her.  This is really a special place.

I think Sostanza is dinner only, and remember to make the reservations.  This is another place to drink house wine.  This was more expensive.  Bistecca Fiorentina should be very expensive, I think it was E65 or so.  It is the type of dish you want to pay a lot of money for.  Either order it somewhere known for it, or don’t bother.  You won’t want to order it at a tourist place.

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