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La Bottega Del Buon Cafe, Excellent Restaurant in Florence
Photos by Darcy Aubin, Florence
All photos copyrighted
All rights reserved

Chef Francesco in the middle with his team at La Bottega Del Buon Cafe, Florence, Italy


La Bottega del Buon Caffe'
Via Pacinotti 40r, 50131 Florence, Italy
Tel/Fax: 055 5535677 or 331 766 4532

Opening hours
Lunch 12:30-14:30 | Dinner 19:00-23.30
Closed on Saturday and Sunday at lunch
Open all days for dinner
Before and After Theatre

La Bottega del Buon Caffe, is one restaurant you should not pass up during your visit to Florence. Don’t let its tranquil unassuming exterior fool you, for La Bottega is quickly becoming a Florentine legend that  you should not pass up!

Residing about 10 minutes by cab to the east of the Duomo, (which for all intensive purposes we consider the centre of Florence), "La Bottega" is worth the ride (about 5 Euros), as it is truly one of the city’s most inspired restaurants where the chefs are not just "cooks" but culinary artists 

The head chef, Francesco creates dishes with skill and intensity that can be savoured in every mouthful.   I was immediately overcome with a sense of pride in how the Chef operated his workspace and how he worked with his Sous Chef.  Not one ingredient or utensil out of place and every preparation surface immaculate, the mark of a true professional. 

 The sense of calmness, coolness and creativeness that emanates from the kitchen spills out onto of every plate La Bottega presents.  There are a handful of restaurants that I consider to be great; this is one of them.  La Bottega not only met but surpassed my every expectation of a truly great restaurant.  Now, onto the food…

 Chef Francesco prepared a sampler menu of he choosing so I could really get a feel for his menu.  My sampler meal consisted of six courses and a trio of deserts. 

 Salad is not just salad at La Bottega.  You won’t find the usual suspects here.  This plate is a wonderful combination of black cabbage, zolfini beans and crispy bacon all packaged together waiting to be dismantled and enjoyed.  Resist the temptation of eating each ingredient on its own and savour each together for the dishes intended effect.   

 The second Antipasti; an elegant display of thinly sliced artichoke with the finest balsamic vinegar and a hint of parmigiano regiano hand shaved to top it off.  The taste was a harmonious balance of sweet and savory. This dish awakened my senses of smell, taste and sight; I could only imagine what was to come next.

 The first plate in Italian is Primi Piatti.  There are actually two included in the sampler, but these are anything but sampler size.  Chef Francesco chose the pumpkin gnocchi with pecorino cheese and rosemary and the pappardelle with braised veal cheeks (I suppose it could be considered a wider version of fettuccini but don’t let any Italian hear you say that).

 The gnocchi is hand made on site and is a house specialty.  The texture of the gnocchi is smooth and the delicate pumpkin flavour carries this dish to another level of taste.  The presentation is truly a work of art and this dish is for the gnocchi purest.

 In speaking with the Chef at tableside after dinner (something he does regularly) he explained to me that he chooses underrepresented parts of the animal to add a twist on the traditional to make it his own creation.  The aroma from the kitchen preceded this dish and left me wondering what it was.  I ascertained the lovely bouquet once the finely diced veal cheeks tossed in oversized pasta in a veal reduction sauce arrived (see photo for further visual aid).  I took a few moments to just sit and breath the air before twisting the noodles around my fork.  This is one pasta dish that surpassed my expectations of what a pasta dish should be.

 Secondi Piatti.  Again, one second piatti is not enough.  Mallard duck breast with chestnut honey and Jerusalem artichokes.  What else can I say that isn’t in the description of the dish but, Shalom!  Enjoy this culinary masterpiece at its finest with a nice glass of red wine, (insert the knowledgeable waiter’s opinion here).

 The other white meat; pork tenderloin but this one comes with spicy rapini and fennel.  The rapini further enhances an already flavourful tender meat with a nuttiness earthiness which is best enjoyed through the fall and spring months.  The fennel finishes each bite with a gentle, crisp flavour to cleanse your palate for your next bite.

 If you have room left, La Bottega offers a variety of deserts.  Chef Francesco chose the trio comprised of two-coloured chocolate mousse served in a shot glass with a mini spoon, crème brulèe perfumed with Earl Grey Tea, lastly, certainly not least though, is caramelized and cinnamon scented pear with zabajone sauce (cream and egg based sauce similar to crème brulèe).  If I were backed into a corner by an angry mob asking me to choose just one, but only those circumstances, I would have to say to “bring me the mousse”.

Capacity: 30 seated
Entertainment: background music
Air conditioning
Major credit cards accepted
Non smoking restaurant

Reviewed by Darcy Aubin, Photographer,  VisitsItaly.com