Osteria Vini e Vecchi Sapori, Florence, Italy

Traditionally, an Osteria is an Italian wine bar that serves very simple food. Nowadays, it’s all about the food, with a side of wine. Like most Osteria’s, Vini e Vecchi Sapori offers a menu that is quite short, but the focus is on consistent, flavoursome dishes using fresh, seasonal, locally sourced produce.

It is one of those places that immerses you in a homely and warm atmosphere. I can’t help but rave about it so I’m going to rattle off some of the awards they have won including the Travellers’ Choice 2012 Winner Restaurant, Top Choice 2014 & 2015 and Trip Adviser’s Certificate of Excellence.

There is so much character and authenticity in this small family run restaurant on Via dei Magazzini. Black and white photos of the owner (whom I had the pleasure of meeting) throughout his years cover the walls. He stands in the middle of the restaurant behind a small wooden counter, preparing the antipasto for all to see, to really get tongues wagging.

The antipasto itself included the freshest mozzarella I’ve ever tasted, and a variety of delicious cuts of meat with lovely home-made bread. The presentation of the dishes is not extravagant, because it doesn’t need to be, that’s the beauty of good Italian cuisine.

If I see duck on the menu, I have to have it. So I ordered the Papardelle a sugo d’Anatra (Duck Ragu Pappardelle). Perfectly Al Dente, home-made pasta with tender duck and not too much sauce as to overpower the flavours of the pasta and duck, but just enough to compliment.

The Beef Stew arrived at the table, with a drizzle of the good quality extra virgin olive oil that Italy is known for. The beef was slow cooked stew style; strong red wine flavour, cooked to perfection and garnished with broad green beans.

I was determined to sample as many dishes as possible, so I also tried the Grilled Lamb Cutlets with Potatoes. They were completely melt in the mouth with crispy roasted potatoes, double cooked I suspected. I was willing to wrestle with the waiter if he took my plate away too soon; it would be a sin not to dip my bread in the left over juices!

As I undid the top button of my trousers, I reached for the dessert menu. The selection of desserts were equally as good as the mains, my particular favourite being the Raspberry Tiramisu. The cream was so silky and perfect, I could have died that night and be satisfied with my last supper.

I really could not fault my experience in any way, it was an enchanting taste of Tuscan food and culture. All the merit and awards are well deserved, so be sure not to waste time searching for somewhere to dine in Florenceand make a beeline for Osteria Vini e Vecchi Sapori.

Tip: Bookings are mandatory, otherwise you may be waiting outside for a little while.

Score: 10/10

Address: Via dei Magazzini 3r

Hours: Tues-Sat 9am -11pm; Sun noon-2:30pm

Phone: 055 293045

Prices: First course €6 – 8; Main course €10 – 14

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