Palazzo Pretorio

THE PIZZAIOLO HAS LEFT TO OPEN A PIZZERIA IN FLORENCE.

Hidden in a side alley under an arch of the medieval stone borgo of San Donato, you almost wonder how everyone finds Palazzo Pretorio. The restaurant could be the social club of Chianti, it is full of large tables of locals celebrating. It is one of the few restaurants in the zone perpetually packed with local residents.

Immediately upon entering you are greeted by the Pizzaiolo hard at work, turning out fresh roasted pizzas and homemade bread from the busy ovens. Beyond is a bright and lively dining room. Despite the fact that Palazzo Pretorio has a seafood menu, people come here for the pizza, and numerous pies adorn all the tables. The pizzaiolo is from Naples, and his training shows with his expert touch. The pizza is perfect. The crust is just right, slightly chewy and crisp on the edges, unmarred from charred blisters. The Margherita had all the balance of the classic; flavorful tomato sauce, creamy soft buffalo mozzarella and just a touch of basil, perfect.

There are a number of wines including a good selection by the bottle; as well as quite pleasant Chianti and Prosecco by the glass; but beer is the beverage of choice for most, and they have a large variety of beers both by the bottle and on tap. Service is informal, and can be a bit slow, but no one minds. This is where you come with friends and family for an inexpensive meal and to enjoy some of the best pizza around.

Via dei Baluardi, 2B, San Donato in Poggio. www.ristorantepalazzopretorio.com; tel: 055 807 2928

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