Call it a modern legend. Osteria Tripperia Il Magazzino is a chefs’ restaurant. Take a media savvy chef, a cool concept (and by cool we mean edgy) and some serious culinary know-how, along with a great wine list and drop it into the hip Oltr’Arno district’s quaintest piazza and you have it.
The name alone is a mouth full. Say what? In what order? The winning formula doesn’t appeal to all. Any restaurant built around off-cuts of an animal is going to have dissenters, and a restaurant built around tripe, even if it is a typical Florentine favorite, isn’t an easy sell. While this cute restaurant, with it’s comfortable, casual atmosphere has a lot to offer, even for non-meat eaters, the focus of the food is on the off-cuts: tongue, tripe, lampredotto.
Lampredotto appears everywhere: fried into tiny meatballs, stuffed into meatballs and served as a main course. And it is good! Those appetizer meatballs are bite sized, crispy on the outside soft and juicy within – the perfect introduction for the squeamish. Tongue comes sliced thin, like carpaccio, and served with a light salad. The meat itself is very delicate and tender with smooth rounded flavor. But the real star of the show is doubtless the lampredotto ravioli, large pyramids of pasta stuffed full with tender braised meat. The pasta is a silken handkerchief; how something so delicate can then hold so much, is a feat of physics. Inside bursts with juicy meat, as tender as the pasta. The ravioli are set in a sweet onion broth. Onions are cooked low and slow, becoming meltingly soft and releasing all their sweetness for a flavorful broth that nicely complements the meat.
Yes the large green salad, is gorgeous, large and bright, set in a crispy Parmesan – such a far cry from the wilted leaves and tired carrot shreds encountered in so many places. But why come here for that?
Should you be able to make it past the meat, home made desserts are solid. The Torta di Cioccolata Fondente is a dense rich slice of creamy, smooth bittersweet chocolate and a decent Panna Cotta comes in interesting flavors (orange maybe, or licorice).
Yes this is a restaurant where chefs and foodies like to geek-out. Service is friendly, casual and informed. They know their wine list – and it is a good one. Sure the majority of wines are Tuscan, but it is a good selection that goes way beyond the big boys to find quality small producers, even from Italy’s lesser appreciated regions, like the Alto Adige. Wines by the bottle offer great value, and there is a very good selection of wines by the glass, which might even include some great wines not listed on the menu, depending on what is open and available. Tell the managing waiter what you’re looking for, and he will point you in the right direction. Without you having to spend a fortune either.
Chef/owner Luca Cai found a winning formula – and fame, for turning a local tradition into something cool. The man has talent, and a winning touch – but most of all, he has excellent lampredotto ravioli and a great wine list. It is a taste of modern Florence. And a good one!
Signature Dishes: Polpette di Lampredotto (Lampredotto Meatballs), Ravioli di Lampredotto con Cipolla di Tropea (Lampredotto Ravioli with Tropea Onion Broth), Lampredotto Bollito (Lampredotto with Salsa Verde)
Get It!: Ravioli di Lampredotto con Cipolla di Tropea (Lampredotto Ravioli with Tropea Onion Broth
Piazza della Passera, 2-3, Florence. tel: +39 055 215969. Open daily.