In a place like Florence, it is seemingly difficult to find something a little bit off the beaten path, specifically in regards to food. The gorgeous town is bustling with tourists all year round, cramming into different restaurants hungry for some of Italy’s best dishes. While options are aplenty, one restaurant sticks out. Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco is one of Florence’s best hidden gems.
Not hidden at all in terms of location as it is only a few blocks away from the famous Ponte Vecchio, this restaurant is not difficult to find. As most places around areas like this can become extremely touristy, pricey or a bit boring, Osteria Cinghiale is the exact opposite. If you are looking for a place with legit, home style and authentic Italian cooking in Florence, this is it.
Upon entrance, the experience begins immediately. The faculty is extremely welcoming as they make you feel comfortable and at home. I have been all over Italy and I can promise you, I have not truly encountered a city restaurant staff like this. They work hard to make a connection with each guest. When you have a connection with a server, the food just magically tastes better.
The interior is rustic while the table space is a little tight, only adding to that true Italian atmosphere. In one section of the restaurant, there is a table placed inside of a tiny cave like structure while the table above it is the only one in the restaurant accessed by a small set of stairs. There are not many tables inside and they fill up quickly after 7:00 pm which makes a reservation important.
It is of course not only the friendly, family like Italian atmosphere that make this place awesome as the food is really damn good too. The staple here is Cinghiale, or wild boar, but there is something delicious for everything on the menu. This Osteria truly excels in anything with Cinghiale, which one would expect as it is part of the restaurant’s name. For starters, the “Cold Cuts of Wild Boar” appetizer is a great kick off to any meal. As Italy is always famous for its cured meats like prosciutto, some wild boar is a change of pace. It is really easy to eat and melts in your mouth.
Another great use of wild boar comes in one of Florence’s most popular dishes, “Pappardelle al Cinghiale”. This dish is a combination of wild boar sauce and handmade pappardelle, which are long, flat and wide noodles. The sauce has a strong and robust flavor that is the perfect accompaniment to pappardelle. When you’re in Florence you need to try this dish at some point, and Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco has some of the best.
My favorite plate from the menu includes more of the famous Cinghiale, but this time it is constructed with polenta instead of pappardelle. If you haven’t had a proper made polenta ,then you are truly missing out. The cornmeal in this specific dish is extremely creamy and full of flavor as it melts in your mouth. The bowl is served with large chunks of tender, wild boar meat while covered with an abundant amount of Cinghiale sauce. I have been to Florence on multiple occasions and samples Cinghiale at each restaurant I have visited, but nothing has ever compared to this. My mouth is watering thinking about it.
Apart from the Cinghiale dishes, there are of course many other options to choose from. One of the best antipasti dishes I can recommend is a board of Pecorino cheeses. This specific type of cheese is very popular through out the Tuscan region and is always worth having before or after any meal. The Pecorino cheese board includes a few different varieties of the famous sheep cheese, ranging from cave aged to new. They are served with some different jams and honeys which always add to the flavor.
If you’re looking for some basic Italian dishes, you can’t go wrong with some handmade spaghetti with homemade tomato sauce, accompanied by an order of meat balls. From the first bite, the pristine taste of the handmade spaghetti is immediate. The tomato sauce is extremely fresh while the meatballs are very tender and melt in your mouth.
To go away from traditional Tuscan just a little, but enjoy another Italian classic, go for the Tagliatelle and Pesto. There is truly not much better than some homemade noodles covered with fresh pesto. This dish might not be from Florence, but it definitely tastes as fresh as ever here. Pesto is typically from the nearby Genoa Region, however Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco has no problem making their own version of this Italian specialty.
What good is an Italian dinner in the Tuscan region without some wine? If you go to Italy, and don’t indulge in a house made table wine, you should probably stop reading anything I write about this country. ALWAYS order the table wine. Not only is it always a big bang for your buck, typically under $10, it is nearly impossible to find a bottle that isn’t delicious. I have had a lot of house wines through out Italy, but I can officially say that Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco is now home to one of my favorites. Their house red and white are both incredibly smooth and easy to drink. It is hard to not drink the wine as if it is water, so be careful to not drink it too fast. For a unique touch on the wine, it is served in a very cool ceramic pitcher with a wild boar carved into the side. A touch of art in Florence makes anything just a little bit better. If you aren’t into house wines as much as I am, the wine list has plenty of options from the nearby hills of Tuscany.
Bread, antipasti, prime piatti and second piatti weren’t enough…? Open up that dessert menu and don’t pass on the tiramisu. Tiramisu is always good, but it is much better in Italy, especially when done right. A piece of tiramisu with a side of espresso after an amazing Italian dinner is always a magical experience. This tiramisuis made with the perfect amount of Marscarpone, cream, coffee and lady fingers.
It isn’t hard to find good food in Florence, but it is hard to find an atmosphere like this. The food is fantastic, but that authentic Italian family atmosphere makes it that much better. When visiting Florence, do yourself a favor and book a table at Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco.
For more information to make a reservation at Osteria Cinghiale or to check out the full menu, follow the link below.