Borgo Firenze – Borgo S. Frediano, 145r, 50124 Firenze FI, Italy

Borgo Firenze is a 13 minute walk from our recommended B&B in Florence, Velonas Jungle.

Gabriele greeted me at the door of Borgo and set the friendly tone for the evening. He’s easy going, fun, charming, jokes a lot and speaks perfect English.

“All diets and allergies are catered for here,” he explained. “If anybody has special requests, they can just email or call before they arrive to let us know and we’ll arrange something for them. The menu changes every 3 months, with the season, and since I live in the country I buy the days ingredients fresh on the way into work each day.”

Before my food arrived, there was a lovely amuse bouche of beet mousse with fresh bread.

I started with the falafel and, since it was white inside and lightly spiced, assumed it was chickpea based and made in the Syrian style. Gabriele corrected me.

“It’s fava beans, so you might say it’s a very Italian dish as we grow them here and have done for centuries! You’re doing the right thing there, eating them with a decent wine from the area. The dish isn’t acidic at all so it’s lovely with a red.”

I’d never thought about pairing falafel with Chianti but when he pointed it out it made perfect sense!

My second course was flan made of beetroot, avocado, potato and carrot. It was extremely light and the creaminess of the avocado gelled with the earthy depth of the beets beautifully.

“What are the 5 dots around the flan for?” I asked. “Do they symbolize the Medici?”

“No,” Gabriele laughed. “Nothing that deep, it’s just decoration!”

I moved onto a risotto made with Aquavello rice (which is the only white rice with the same nutritional value as brown. It’s aged for up to 7 years), pumpkin, portobello mushroom and pumpkin seeds. The mushrooms ruled this dish, each bite was a dance of textures, the deep bite of the rice and seeds, the softness of the pumpkin, in between it all was the mushroom, amazing. Topping it all were beet sprouts, offering yet another, slightly bitter, aspect to a rich, expansive dish.

Dessert was a baked pear in wine sauce, topped with sugar and cinnamon. It looked like a Flemish still life and it was a delicious, light end to a magnificent meal.

Borgo offers exceptional service delivered with humour and an authentic friendliness, and food that pushed all my buttons. Tasty, well presented, you might almost call it fine dining with a touch of rustic mixed with bohemian art cafe.

Check out their Facebook and their Instagram and please be sure to pay them a visit if you’re in the city!