Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence is like L’Ambroisie in Paris or Jean- Georges in New York. It has been there for decades and still has managed to maintain its irreproachable reputation and the ability of invention.
I will be a little philosophical, but what puzzles me most with the Italian haute cuisine though is that I am not sure if it can be compared to the French starred restaurants. (I have written about that here already) It is not that French haute cuisine is superior or inferior to the Italian gastronomy – it is the same as you can’t compare apples to oranges. Simply they are different- by default, Italian food is the best when it is kept simple, while French cooking originally is all about imagination and creativity. I think it is very important to know that if you expect the creativity of Pierre Gagnaire in a starred Italian restaurant you can be disappointed.
But this is the reason why Enoteca Pinchiorri is a world-level restaurant – the ingredients are simple and local but of excellent quality and all is prepared by a master. Naturally, the cooking at Enoteca Pinchiorri has lots of French influence as the owner, Annie Feolde is French, ( and you will not find a 3 Michelin stars restaurant in the world that doesn’t have French traditions) but the emphasis is not really on creativity but on the pureness and quality of all the products. Something like the Italian version of L’Arpege…
The amouse bouches. Gaspacho and scallop with greens. Gaspacho was simple but perfect to open the appetite. The greens ( I don’t remember what was that exactly) were very iodic and that is what I love.
“Spaghetti alla chitarra” tossed with green zucchini, zucchini flowers, grained sausage and Raveggiolo cheese” If you have ever wondered ( and me -yes) how a three Michelin stars pasta tastes and looks like – “spaghetti alla chitarra” was a perfect example. You could feel and taste each flavour of every single product in it.
“Sea bass coated with almonds and raisin, asparagus tips with lard and a balsamic vinegar sabayon”. Very good. The top of the fish was the crust, but the fish itself was juicy. Tiny wild asparagus were cooked to perfection.
“Veal chop in casserole, with deep-fried mozzarella and tomato flavoured with oregano”.This what I would call the Italian gastronomy. Excellent, a dish that is worth a special trip. I have never eaten such tender veal, while still, it was a crust on the outside. So simple, yet genius. And what can be more Italian than fried mozzarella?
The dessert. I don’t remember its exact name, but it was called “Pina Colada”. Very good.
Florentine Renaissance palace – the restaurant’s location.