Only the best

Pasticceria Ristorante Giorgio

Tom Fork, Sofie Delauw
February 14, 2013

Go into any café in Italy on a Saturday or Sunday morning and you'll find it packed with neighbourhood locals standing at the bar ordering their daily cappuccino e brioche. Giorgio's is no different, but listen closely and you'll find that there are not only locals from Isolotto in this place. In fact, Florentines from across the city and the surrounding suburbs flock to this pasticceria for their morning dolce because the pastries and cakes behind the counter simply don't come any better.

 

With six full-time pastry chefs, the products emerging from the flour-filled kitchen are famous throughout the region. House specialities include the light-as-air schiacciata alla fiorentina with an unexpected orangey tang, and the millefoglie, a melt-in-your-mouth combination of creamy and crunchy, as well as carnival favourites like the doughnut-like fried pastries called frittelle and the crispy Tuscan carnival speciality, cenci. All of the pastries are made from the house chef's original recipes, or better said, from his best-guarded secrets. Indeed, the house schiacciata is so well known that during carnival over 400 are sold daily.

 

In an unexpected combination, Giorgio is renowned not only for its pastries, but also its fish. In fact, next to the bakery is a restaurant, open at lunchtime, which expands onto a beautiful terrace in summer, and it is here that you can find some of the best fish dishes in Florence. Crates of still-twitching gamberoni (king prawns), tentacular calamari (squid) and scaly mullet are delivered fresh from Viareggio every morning. They are immediately battered or boiled, fried or grilled and ready for lunch. From crustacean salad and baccalà mantecato alla veneziana (creamy codfish) to homemade fresh pasta, lobster stew and seafood risotto, the food on the constantly changing menu is traditional, seasonal and as fresh as it comes. For those looking for a lighter midday meal, the café offers a range of seafood, meat and vegetable sandwiches and primi piatti, alongside their popular cakes.

 

Focusing exclusively on fish, the restaurant is best known for its Friday aperitivo. It is not recommended, however, for timid eaters: its highlight is a selection of raw fish, which includes scampi and Scottish salmon, though a variety of cooked dishes are also offered for the less adventurous.

 

Giorgio Bernacchioni opened the pasticceria with his wife in 1972, focusing on high-quality pastries and homemade gelato, which won several national prizes for its quality and taste. When his son Andrea took over the business, which he now runs together with his younger brother, he opened the fish restaurant and downsized the gelato sales (their artisanal gelato is still sold during the summer months).

 

The shop has also always been known for its tea selection, and a traditional English afternoon tea in the beautiful café, accompanied by slices of cake or jam-filled pastries that go equally well with Earl Grey as with your morning macchiato, makes a relaxing and delicious break.

 

 

Pasticceria Ristorante Giorgio

via Duccio di Boninsegna 36

Tel. 055/710849

www.pasticceriagiorgio.it

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