Ottone: Italian cooking in the neighbourhood

Ottone: Italian cooking in the neighbourhood

Fri 31 May 2024 11:42 AM

A word of advice to restaurant goers: head outside the city centre and into the residential neighbourhoods for some quality nosh. Ottone is just around the corner from piazza Beccaria and The British Institute’s language school in viale Mazzini. 

“OTTONE. Cucina Italiana”: the friendly signage describes the dining within, the words set against an oh-so-Florentine bugnato stone façade. The menu rests on an easel by the entrance next to a handsome mint-green Vespa with leather accessories. The lobby leads into an elongated space lined with wooden tables, upholstered banquettes and circular wall-mounted lights, while the counter opposite is manned by smiling staff. Owner Daniele Martini and his team indicate the walled garden (perfect for alfresco dining) as well as a separate lemon house corridor with fern-print wallpaper that is used for private occasions, from baptisms to birthdays. 

Our table is in the low-lit upper dining room. (Ottone is much larger than it first appears from the outside.) Franciacorta bubbles and a tangy serving of pappa al pomodoro set our tastebuds in motion as we peruse the short yet considered menu. While meat courses are prevalent, there is no shortage of vegetable, fish and seafood options. We start with three antipasti: a knife-cut Fassona steak tartare served three ways, au natural, which is nevertheless elevated with a bell pepper sauce, one with crunchy vegetables and a spot-on version with raspberries. The second starter is a chicken liver rocher studded with chopped hazelnuts, while the coccoli (just-fried pasta dough balls), prosciutto and soft cheese are Daniele’s pride and joy. “How many times do you order coccoli and then you realize they were fried hours before? Here we always fry them to order.” I enquire about where Ottone sources their meat. “The Fassona beef comes from Mantua because that’s the best supplier I’ve found, while the prosciutto comes from Scarpaccia in the Casentino.” A romantic Pinot Nero from the same Tuscan hills proves a superb match with the ham and the courses to come. 

A ceramic bowl reveals a serving of Piedmontese plin (“house-made every day by our pasta cook”) robust with three types of roasted meats and their unctuous cooking juices, while the ossobuco with saffron risotto is something to write home about. “Our chef’s from Milan, so it’s his speciality.” The meat is so tender that it peels off the bone. 

Ottone’s renowned for the tiramisu trolley. A moka pot of espresso coffee, a shaker filled with cocoa, mascarpone and sponge fingers are rolled in as the waiter prepares the much-loved dessert before your very eyes. 


Via Pietro Colletta 26R

+39 055 4931975

This review was written based on a meal for two kindly provided by Ottone.

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