Casually elegant modern dining near Piazza Duomo
The Scene: Charming patio and warm interior on a hidden side street just steps from Piazza Duomo
Good for: people tired of the same old thing, a break from sightseeing in the center
“Where to eat near the Duomo?” Always a good question near the most highly tourist-trafficked monuments.
Il Caminetto is a quiet oasis, tucked away from the chaotic Piazza Duomo; you would never guess you are just meters from tourist crowds and souvenir hawkers. Let yourself relax and unwind, and get ready to enjoy a good meal.
Il Caminetto exudes much more polish than most of the restaurants surrounding Florence’s central cathedral. Maybe it is because it’s hidden behind a side street that Il Caminetto tries hard to please and impress. Service is warm, polished, friendly, and of course, bilingual. White tablecloths dress the tables and a quiet and charming outdoor patio is tastefully decorated with small flowers and simple but elegant table settings.
This is not your tired Tuscan trattoria but a restaurant where the owner’s passion for the restaurant really shows. He wants to please guests, and he does. He has taken great care with the menu, a mix of Tuscan classics, expertly prepared, but also some modern dishes that align with a Tuscan sensibility. Real attention is given to the ingredients, selecting premium dried pasta from a top producer, making pasta fresh in house, and introducing new seafood dishes when something great comes to market.
Great care is taken with those ingredients too. Mussels and clams are sautéed and served in a bountiful bowl of rich tomato broth fragrant with garlic. Thick pork chops come from Cinta Senese pigs and are cooked just to medium with the center still juicy and just a slight blush. Sea scallops are chopped and tossed with wide pappardelle noodles aromatic with lemon peel and a few chopped almonds; the pure flavors of the scallops shining through. Even the veal comes sliced thin and layered in thin slices of potatoes and topped with plenty of its natural sauces in a type of meaty potato gratin.
The restaurant’s sophistication carries through to the wine selection which includes not only a nice variety of wines from some of Italy’s better wine regions but also a good number of half bottles including well-known producers.
Signature Dish: Fried Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Ricotta in Tuscan Beer Sauce, Millefeiulle of Veal with Potatoes
Via dello Studio, 34r, Florence. www.ilcaminettofirenze.it; tel: +39 055 239 6274. Open daily for lunch and dinner.