Words like elegance, sophistication, and tradition don’t suffice to describe Sabatini. It deserves many more adjectives, and prime among these is “amiable” to describe the two owners, Carlo and Claudio. Another word is “skill”, that of the owners and the waitstaff alike.
As soon as we step into the restaurant, we are swept up in the place’s long, glorious history; just look at the framed scroll at the entrance bearing the signatures of illustrious figures like Eugenio Montale and Arthur Rubinstein. Or just marvel at the story of how Sabatini’s furnishings were made by recovering precious wooden beams, benches, frames and the pulpit of a church that was deconsecrated in the 16th century. These pieces were put back together in an expansive space with a magnificent winter garden, where guests can find a bit of seclusion.
The place settings are also tup to snuff with silver cutlery, Ginori plates, and linen table cloths. Everything at the height of chic!
But let’s get to the food! The menu holds its own against those of the many other restaurants in the area. Indeed, they don’t hold a candle to it. They have Pasta alla Norma (eggplant and tomato pasta). I can assure you that for a Sicilian like me there’s nothing like seeing a classic Sicilian dish like that on the menu and knowing it’s a Sicilian chef cooking it! But this is Florence, so we have to have the Florentine-style steak grilled on a real olive wood charcoal. Ribollita (bread and vegetable stew), and other Tuscan specialties have their place on the menu too.
Last night I wanted to treat myself and I decided to eat seafood with every course… Sabatini’s appetizer is sublime: a seafood sampler with smoked swordfish, salmon, and marinated tuna with a shrimp cocktail. Next was a sformatino (like a souffle) of fresh pasta with black truffle and shrimp… The presentation was on par with how great the food was. I was dazzled by the main course: shrimp with curry and rice pilaf. Who would have guessed that such a combination would work so well!
To top it off, I had a Crêpe Suzette flambé with vanilla crunch ice cream.
There’s nothing more to say, other than that for Sabatini there is no need to put “restaurant” next to its name at the entrance.
Here’s a picture of the menu and prices too.
via Panzani 9/A Firenze
tel. 055 282802
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