A new year always brings restaurant openings, but never have so many quality locales come all at once and with so many international flourishes.
Il Gusto di Xinge
Polimoda graduate turned food entrepreneur Xin Ge Liu continues her elevation of the Chinese food scene in Florence with the opening of her eponymous restaurant in viale Belfiore. Hot on the heels of the award bestowed upon her by leading Italian food publisher Gambero Rosso, Liu will serve the same menu that was on offer at Il Gusto Dim Sum, her hugely popular bijou eatery in viale Fratelli Rosselli, as well as integrating cocktail bar Drinx helmed by local legend Julian Biondi, a tearoom and an open kitchen. Expect smooth, sexy and slick. We are itching to try it.
Menchetti dal 1948
Climate change could not be more apparent than in the “sold-out most lunchtimes” situation this winter under the Loggia del Grano. Val d’Orcia bakery Menchetti dal 1948 is running a tight ship with yummy pizzas by the slice and generous salad bowls in the architecturally breathtaking nook beneath the newly opened COIN department store and by the exit to the Uffizi. (Granted, the All’Antico Vinaio queue sneaks around the corner, although the fencing conceals the panino-eating masses.) Open daily from 8am to 11pm, this is fast becoming the place to breakfast, lunch and apericena in central Florence. Our advice: book ahead.
Ramen & Poke
Borgo San Jacopo now boasts its very own ramen and poke bar. Open Wednesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner, Ramen & Poke is an alluring loft-like locale with a handful of tables on the mezzanine level. When the mercury finally dips and winter bites, this is the kind of warm and welcoming eatery you’ll be yearning for with its brick and wood interior and, far more importantly, steaming bowls of shoyo ramen and gyoza. Reserve your otama-jakushi: +39 366 4142330.
Bistrot 84 Rosso
We’ve not set foot in there yet, but Bistrot 84 Rosso is causing quite a stir among Florence’s food critics. The black-and-white themed fine dining restaurant in borgo Ognissanti comes with pedigree: the owner’s Nicola Langone, proprietor of acclaimed Guné in borgo San Frediano, while the creative chef’s Matteo Longhi, formerly of Four Seasons Florence with experiences in Michelin-starred restaurants in Belgium. The menu’s said to be unashamedly bold (there’s no pasta in sight) and calls upon superfoods that all the rage in NYC and London locales: yuzu, moringa and sunflower seeds. That’s not to say that Italian stalwarts fail to feature: cavolo nero, aubergines and steak are all front and centre. This place is on my restaurant bucket list for 2023. Dinner only.