Florence, Italy: Enoteca Coquinarius- Creative Cuisine
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Coquinarius: Color, Flavor, Texture...
I once held a job that required a lot of travel. I would live in hotels for long periods of time and eat out three times a day. As exciting as this may sound to some people, let me tell you, it gets old very fast. I longed for my own bed and for homemade food from my own kitchen.
Now when I go out to eat, I expect to get food that is as good as I can make at home or better. I also want to try things that I normally don't make. I want fresh ideas and combinations- food pairings that I wouldn't have thought up on my own. This is why I LOVE Coquinarius.
NOTE: Coquinarius is NOT a full restaurant that serves meats like the famous Bistecca Fiorentina, but it is perfect if you are looking for imaginative pasta, creative carpaccio dishes and generous salads. Also, they make great crostini and bruschetta (I'll have to dedicate a page to those) and homemade desserts that are absolutely sinful. This small wine bar has become quite popular due to all the new B&Bs and hotels in the area, but also because of Taste Florence (we highly recommend it on our tours).
If you happen to be in Florence, it is definitely worth your while to visit this trendy, but cozy eatery. You can enjoy a long, relaxing lunch or romantic dinner. Prcies are reasonable and their wine list is very good (as expected from an enoteca). You may see one of the owners, Igor- a charming young man who likes to display the work of cutting edge artists. The staff is very friendly, making people feel welcome from the moment they walk in through the door. Also, there is more than one cook back there whipping up magic and all of them should be greatly complimented!
I love how they playfully mix textures and flavors, like their fresh octopus carpaccio with creamy chickpea torte, or their papardelle pasta with savory rabbit ragu over silky eggplant sauce and tomato confit. Their smoked swordfish carpaccio with red grapefruit and pink peppercorns literally explodes in your mouth with so much flavor. Everything is full of deliciousness! Who would have thought of putting these things together? My husband and I have never been disappointed with a meal (or the wine, for that matter). I love the fact that I get new ideas that serve as an inspiration to experiment at home.
Last week, Silvia (one of the nice young ladies who works there) mentioned that she is willing to share her grandmother's recipes with me, but only if I am interested (recipes from an Italian grandmother? Of course, I am interested!!!). I hope to get at least a few before I leave Italy.
I will miss Coquinarius and its wonderful staff (so will my palate), but I plan on returning to Florence in the future. Thank you for reading!
C. De Melo