I’ Giuggiolo is the just the type of rustic trattoria that many tourists brag about finding, a bustling restaurant packed with locals. The room is jammed with large parties waiting for their tables, families celebrating a graduation, and friends out for a Friday night. And they are all Italian! One night saw a player for La Fiorentina, the local soccer team having dinner with two friends; when he finishes two young boys come over from another table and ask his autograph. It is just that sort of place.
The large menu is traditionally Tuscan, but offers a bit of variation, and unlike many restaurants, many of the dishes change with the seasons. Forego the leaden Coccoli with Prosciutto e Stracchino; save the room for an abundant plate of risotto. A frequent daily special; the flavor changes constantly; but the quality is consistent. In late summer it comes with silken fried eggplant, bright paccherini tomatoes and burrata. The extra-creamy mozzarella like cheese melts into the rice cloaking each bite in luxurious cream. It isn’t Tuscan, and it isn’t traditional; but it is delicious. A winter variation swapped out radicchio for the eggplant and tomato; the flavors weren’t as bright, but it was a hearty, warming winter dish; while in spring it was replaced with rich salt cod with a smooth and subtle zucchini puree and a burst of fresh mint.
There is always a sformato to start, a vegetable custard whose main ingredients changes regularly; a recent asparagus sformato was full of rich vegetable flavor and came with a creamy mozzarella sauce. Tender tagliatelle come with handcut Chianina beef ragu, and in the heat of summer you’ll find spaghetti strewn with plentiful fried zucchini, zucchini flowers and plenty of bright mint. Main courses include plenty of grilled or stewed meats including a great grilled pork chop, meaty, juicy and full of flavor.
Desserts are homemade, they entice you as soon as you step through the door. Take a good look as you wait for your table. There is nearly always cheesecake, a torte strewn with fresh fruit, bowls of fruit salad, custards still in their dish, and a dense deep chocolate torte perfect for a chocoholic.
Signature Dishes: Tagliatelle con Ragu di Chianina (Tagliatelle with Handcut Chianina Beef Ragu)
Get It!: Risotto of the Day, Chocolate Tart
Viale Righi, 3, Firenze. www.igiuggiolo.com; tel: +39 055 606240