While my culinary journey through the Italy trip has been more focused on casual restaurants where I can explore the authentic flavor and texture of the country, I also did want to see how fine dining establishments push the envelope for something truly unique out of Italy’s rich tradition. During my stop in Florence, I made a point to visit Enoteca Pinchiorri, which has been a three Michelin star restaurant for ages. Obviously, the number of Michelin stars doesn’t necessarily mean the restaurant is great, but I was certainly intrigued by the concept of Pinchiorri, which seems to emphasize the kitchen’s philosophy of bringing the Italian cuisine forward to the modern age with an unexpected mix of ingredients and techniques. In a way, my experience at Pinchiorri has somewhat proved my long-held belief that Italian cuisine is more often than not more successful in its simple, authentic form. I did enjoy the elegant dining experience here, yet it didn’t feel like a three-star experience in terms of making me swoon like I did at other (mostly French or New American) fine dining establishments elsewhere.
My girlfriend and I were still a bit full from our lunch at All’Antico Vinaio in Florence where we had excellent but humongous sandwiches when we entered the restaurant, so we proceeded cautiously and went for the shorter, four-course discovery tasting menu, at 175 euros per person. The first course felt a bit underwhelming. I saw that John Dory was cooked quite nicely, but did it need to be inside squid ink dough that totally neutralized the taste of the fish and instead all I tasted was this funky sensation of dough? On the other hand, I was absolutely in love with spaghetti accompanied by seafood, bread crumbs and bottarga (cured fish roe). I would say it was one of the best pasta dishes during my Italy trip as well as for the year. The noodle was at that ideal level of firmness, and the rich flavor as well as the multi-faceted texture from the different ingredients really made this an outstanding dish that both my girlfriend and I immensely enjoyed.
Veal loin accompanied by pepper corns, radicchio, potatoes, radishes and onions was also a successful dish, with juicy tender meat that was a pleasure to eat on each bite. For dessert, marinated figs had the delightfully sweet touch that wasn’t overwhelming to my taste bud just the way I liked it. The main dessert was later followed by a series of complementary dessert snacks, including the impressive looking chocolate plate. My girlfriend jokingly tried to take all of the chocolates in it to no avail.
The dining space at the restaurant, which was apparently a former palace, was classy and exquisite without being stuffy. The service staffs were all very professional and attentive. The vast wine list unfortunately was skewed toward more expensive ones (I think the restaurant could do well to include more bottles around 100-150 euro ranges or below). If you want to see how Italian dining can be experienced in its fine dining construct, Pinchiorri is not a bad place to start. Overall, I appreciated the creative direction of the kitchen, but would I say this was a destination-worthy experience like the three Michelin stars convey? It was hard to tell, and maybe that has to do with my previous bias on the way Italian cuisine is supposed to taste like.
- Creativity: 8.5/10
- Execution: 8.5/10
- Ingredients: 8.0/10
- Flavor: 8.5/10
- Texture: 8.0/10
Address: Via Ghibellina, 87, 50122, Firenze, Italia