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Where to eat the best bistecca alla fiorentina in Florence

Where to eat the best bistecca alla fiorentina in Florence | The Grand Wine Tour


For a food lover in Florence, eating the bistecca alla fiorentina is a rite of passage. If you haven’t ordered one of these 3-inch high slabs of juicy, rare T-bone steaks, then, simply put, your gastronomic experience is incomplete. Here we lay it all out for you like a bistecca-laden banquet table: the why and how, the what to pair with, and the where.

Why bistecca alla fiorentina is essential to the Florence experience

This traditional dish is a masterpiece to behold, and eating one is a carnivore’s heaven. Seared over fire on a wooden grill for just 3-4 minutes per side, the thick steak remains almost raw in the center (don’t ask for it to be cooked any other way; you’ll only offend the chef and he won’t listen to you). Bistecca Fiorentina Bistecca Fiorentina - © Creative Commons

Any article will tell you that true bistecca alla fiorentina comes from the massive, muscular Chianina breed from the Valdichiana region in Tuscany, a cow that can weigh up to one and a half metric tons. It’s a lesser-known fact that this juicy steak can also come from the Slow Food Presidia Maremmana breed, a striking specimen with grey-white hide and flared horns. At a restaurant, prices will often be listed by the kilogram, starting around €40-€45. When ordered, only the biggest and bravest and most empty of stomachs can finish a full bistecca alla fiorentina alone, so plan on sharing with at least one other person.

What wines to pair with this steak per eccellenza

Your wine choice needs to be worthy of this regal cut of steak. Generally speaking, fatty foods soften the perception of bold tannins; and although the Chianina can be quite lean (especially compared to the Black Angus), the T-bone cut is still luscious enough to be a great pair with bold reds. A great choice is a Brunello di Montalcino: its moderate tannins, brilliant acidity, and savory flavor profile make this an excellent pairing; and its immediate juicy and spicy notes work especially well with the strong flavors of a high quality steak. You also can’t go wrong with a Maremma Toscana IGT, with its strong tannins, round, velvety body, and fascinating, complex notes of spices. Or, hop on over to Tuscany’s neighboring region, Umbria, for a Rosso Lazio IGP cru wine; these lesser-known cousins of Tuscan reds can reach extremely high levels of quality, producing round, soft, “aristocratic” wines with elegant notes of red berries, jam, and warm spices.

Where to eat an excellent bistecca alla fiorentina

Listed below are four suggestions for finding that perfect, juicy bistecca in the right ambiance and location. And of course, many restaurants serve great steak—this isn’t an exhaustive list, so we welcome suggestions in the comments below.

Buca Lapi

Inside the Ristorante Bucalapi Inside the Ristorante Bucalapi - © Creative Commons

Buca Lapi is one of the oldest restaurants in Florence. Known for its beginnings as the selling point for wines from the renowned Antinori family since the 1400s, today the buca (hole) is both lively and elegant. Their steak might be one of the most expensive in the city, but it is also one of the best. The menu also features all the classic Tuscan dishes, from Tuscan kale crostini to ribollita and papa al pomodoro soups.
Via del Trebbio, 1r - Florence +39 055-213-768 www.bucalapi.com Closed on Sunday

Ristorante Cibrèo

With reservations not available, be sure to arrive early to claim your spot or risk waiting in a line that sometimes forms even before the restaurant opens. But whether you have to hustle or wait a little, it is well worth it. Inside the tastefully decorated restaurant—neither chintzy nor offputtingly elegant—the menu includes top-notch Tuscan cuisine and excellent bistecca alla fiorentina.
Via dei Macci, 122r - Florence www.edizioniteatrodelsalecibreofirenze.it 12:50-2:30 pm and 6:50-11 pm Tue-Sat, closed Aug

Ristorante Perseus

Bistecca alla Fiorentina Bistecca alla Fiorentina - © Gail

Furnished in rustic Tuscan style and complete with a friendly vibe, this restaurant shows it’s serious about business with the enormous hunks of T-bone steak to greet you near the entrance. It’s located slightly out of the center of Florence near Piazza della Libertà and Piazza Savonarola, and is very good price for quality.
Viale Don Minzoni, 10/R - Florence +39 055-588-226 www.casatrattoria.com/en/ristorante-perseus-florence perseusfirenze@casatrattoria.com Mon-Sat 12-3:00 pm and 7-11 pm

Osteria dall’Oste

This restaurant is conveniently located near the main train station Santa Maria Novella. It serves an excellent bistecca alla fiorentina made of carefully selected meat, as well as a menu that goes beyond traditional Tuscan food to include other national Italian favorites like tortellini alla Bolognese and fresh grilled fish.
Via Luigi Alamanni, 3/5r - Florence +39 055-212-048 www.osteriadalloste.it trattoriaoste@hotmail.com