Ristorante Cibreo, one of Florence’s most well known restaurants, is an institution. An establishment opened over 30 years ago by Fabio Picchi, it has earned a reputation as one of the city’s top dining spots and has been awarded a Michelin star for its incredible cuisine. I recently visited to experience the food first hand and to get a taste of Tuscany, a region of Italy that is renowned, worldwide, for its output of flavor and cooking innovation.
I was welcomed into the restaurant by a young gentleman with a friendly smile and seated in the main dining room immediately. A glass of prosecco was poured and a small white candle lit on my table. The room feels very old-world Italian – in the best of ways. Soft lighting flickered on the walls ladened with awards, artwork and press clippings that the restaurant has received over the years. The main dining room was buzzing with patrons and each table focused on their meal ahead.
As I sipped my prosecco, a wonderful woman – let’s call her the lady of the house, came to me smiling with glasses perched on her nose. She brought with her a menu and asked if she could sit across from me. After welcoming me again to the restaurant, she went over the evening’s options from start to finish, describing in detail what the chef had dreamed-up and what I might choose for dinner from the seasonal selections. Each dish had a unique perspective which made it hard to make my selection. But, when I expressed my desire to try many things, the kitchen was willing to work with me – giving me smaller portions of several dishes so I didn’t leave that evening feeling as if I had missed out.
My first taste was a ricotta and yogurt flan with herbal emulsion. It was delicious. I moved-on to a lovely vegetable soup and a delicately cooked artichoke with a poached egg at its heart. The dessert consisted of the house’s many specialties. Ricotta cheesecake with orange marmalade, chocolate cake and a dried fruit tart drizzled in honey. The dinner was spectacular, comfortable and informal. Cibreo is the place to come when you want to feel like you’re eating at your little Italian grandmother’s house – if she happened to be one of the best cooks in Italy.