Florence is full of Trattorias and Osterias. These are names given to more simple restaurants, those that once used to be canteens, or eateries. Like Diners to compare them with something familiar to Americans. Today the restaurants called Osteria and Trattoria tend to be rustic yet sophisticated and most of all, expensive. In most of them, especially in tourist spots, people go for the experience and for the atmosphere which recalls what in the collective imaginary, a true and rustic Italian restaurant must be like. The truth is that most Trattorias and Osterias are fancy restaurants dressed in cheap clothes. They are Disnelyands for tourists.
I Brindellone is an exception for a number of reasons. First of all, it is situated in a neighborhood, San Frediano, which is the last Italian, or better Florentine stronghold in downtown Florence. What used to be a blue-collar neighborhood today is a hip and fun area full of restaurants, bars and lounges that are frequented mainly by Italians and it is to this audience that Brindellone caters. Furthermore, lots of artisans still operate their “bottegas”, or activities in San Frediano.
To survive and prosper I Brindellone relies on return customers. This means good food, good portions and affordable prices. I’Brindellone has become the most popular neighborhood restaurant in San Frediano.
At lunch, they offer a la carte menu or a fixed menu for only 10 euro that includes a first course, second course, side dish, water or wine and coffee. Dinner is only a la carte. Their specialties are the appetizers, you must try the Coccoli (like fried bread dough) with soft cheese and soft sausage (sbriciolona). They also serve a great plate of pasta with truffles (taglierini al tartufo) which are absolutely divine. The owners both worked at the famous Latini restaurant of Florence, and it shows. When it comes to second courses I Brindellone is famous for their meat – Florentine Steak and Tagliata – and fried foods ( fried chicken, fried brains, fried zucchini flowers and fried artichoke ). The only thing that is so and so Is the house wine.
This restaurant is small and loud. It is particularly suited for a good simple time among friends. Maybe it is not the best place if one is looking for a quiet or romantic time. It’s a bit raucous at times but it’s part of the experience. There is no other place I know where one can walk out of with a belly ready to burst after having had a three course meal, including appetizer, first course, steak, side dish, dessert, wine and coffee for about 35 euro. Hard to beat!
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