The bustling Piazza Santo Spirito is the social center of the Oltr’Arno and one of the most popular dining and drinking destinations for tourists and locals alike. At first glance it might appear touristy, but listen to the conversations between large flocks of friends enjoying a beer or a spritz outside on the piazza and you’ll realize many are Italian.
The square is full of restaurants and bars; Osteria Santo Spirito deserves consideration. Sit outside and enjoy the shady square as you watch the social scene unfold. Don’t be surprised if you see the local kids enjoying a pick-up game of soccer as a warm summer evening progresses.
Osteria Santo Spirito’s charms lie as much in the location as in the food. If you want to eat outside, (and you do!) make sure to reserve in advance. Lines build up quickly at this popular destination.
Portions are abundant, served on wide platters that could easily hold a large pizza. If the Tagliata came on the bone it would be a Bistecca Fiorentina; it could feed two. Light eaters beware. Thankfully many pastas and main courses come in reduced sized portions which are equal to the portions you see at many other restaurants. An abundant antipasti platter is a step above that which you see elsewhere; not only does it include more variety, and those same generous portions; but the quality is also superior.
Steak is cooked perfectly rare – even if you ask for it medium. Spaghetti alla Chitatara with datterini tomatoes and basil is a standard bearer. Made from fresh pasta, this is not your typical spaghetti pomodoro. The noodles are at once more supple and more substantial. The same freshness applies to the sauce, a delicate pomarella base enhanced with lots of fresh tomatoes and aromatic basil. It proves how well Italians can create bliss with simple ingredients.
A wealth of creative salads appeal to international tastes. They come in large bowls, easily hearty enough for a main course. The ingredients show an attention to detail lacking in the salad selection at most restaurants. Osteria Santo Spirito knows how to appeal. The food is straight forward and unsophisticated, exactly what you want a neighborhood trattoria to be; only in this case it happens to be located in one of the best positions in town.
Get It!: Spaghetti alla Chitara con Datterini e Basilico (Spaghetti with Tomato and Basil)
Signature Dish: Spaghetti alla Chitara con Datterini e Basilico (Spaghetti with Tomato and Basil), Tortelloni con Salsa di Noce (Large Ricotta filled Ravioli with Walnut Sauce)
Piazzo Santo Spirito, 19r, Florence. www.osteriasantospirito.it; tel: 055 2382383.