Florence, Italy: il Contadino Serves "Casalinga" Style Cooking at a Low Fixed Menu Price!
Spaghetti con Pomodorini Ciliegini
The Cost? ONLY 12,00 euro (lunch) and 14,00 eruo (dinner)- including house wine and water. Unbelievable price for good food. Family owned and operated, il Contadino has been serving casalinga (home-style) Tuscan cooking since 1974 and has a loyal client base. This is one of my favorite lunch places in the city!
Open every day, it's one of the few places in town where you can get a late lunch since it is served from 12:00 - 15:30 and dinner is served from 15:30 - 21:00. There are usually about a dozen first and second courses to choose from, and plenty of side dishes. It's best to come for lunch if you want to have more of a selection since they may run out of a couple of items by dinnertime.
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Primo, Secondo, Contorno...What to order!
Primo: First course in Italy is usually pasta, soup, or risotto. Secondo: meat, poultry, or fish. Contorno: side dishes consist of various vegetables cooked in several ways.
Since I eat at Contadino about once a week, I have literally eaten through their menu (more than once). For the primo, I highly recommend the pasta with savory wild boar ragu. The traditional recipe includes juniper berries which are really tasty. Another great choice is gnocchi with Gorgonzola and walnuts. The gnocchi are light and delightful and won't make you feel heavy.
My favorite secondo is the braised rabbit, followed by baccala (cod fish) Livorno style. In addition to a permanent menu, they have daily specials offering extra choices. Anything they've made with octopus has been wonderful, as well as seasonal treats like porcini mushrooms, butternut squash, and pumpkin.
You would think that a team of Italian mammas are in the kitchen, but this is not the case. The all male chef team are busily preparing delicious foods and experimenting with new recipes. Not only are they talented cooks, but they are also quite "simpatici" (friendly) and allowed me to take their photo for this article.
Via Palazzuolo, 69-71r
Tell them Christine sent you. As always, thank you for reading.
C. De Melo