by Melinda Gallo

Il Santo Bevitore

Last night we went out to eat dinner with one of our new friends. He and his wife had suggested we try Il Santo Bevitore. Lately, I've been checking out numerous guide books and websites to discover some new restaurants to try. After living in Florence for a few years, we end up going to the same restaurants all the time. We have gone to many restaurants and were disappointed by so many, that we had decided to stick with our favorites.

But, now it's time to open our horizons and eat out at a few new places. As I'm sure I've mentioned before, restaurants in Florence seem to change quite quickly. They rarely change names, but they do change gestione (management) every once in a while, which can be a good or bad thing.

We walked down via Calzaiuoli to get to our friend's apartment on the other side of the Arno. The shops were still open and we saw many people lined up to take advantage of the saldi (sales). One shop had to lock their doors and only let in a certain amount of poeple at a time so that the shop wouldn't get overcrowded.

We crossed the Ponte Vecchio and up an incline to our friend's apartment. We sipped a few glasses of Chianti as we looked out onto the Arno and a few of the well-lit monuments, like the Santa Croce church and Palazzo Vecchio.

Afterwards, we walked down Borgo San Jacopo, which turns into via di Santo Spirito, to the restaurant. You can't miss it because of its large glass windows. We arrived at about 8:30PM and there were only a few empty tables. I looked around the restaurant and noticed that most of the other people in the restaurant were Italian. I don't think I saw any tourists, but given that it's not a high tourist season, I wouldn't have expected many.

After we ordered our wine, I was hoping that we could watch them snatch the wine bottle off one of the shelves that went all around the restaurant. They have a long pole with a special gadget to grab hold of a bottle to get it down. But, unfortunately, we didn't see where our bottle came from, but we did enjoy it.

Dave ordered a fresh pasta dish that I tasted and loved and I ordered a zuppa di zucca con pancetta (pumpkin soup with bacon) to start. For our secondi (main dishes), we had tagliata di tonno (sliced tuna steak) and osso bucco. We were so pleased with our meals that we had to try the desserts as well. Dave had the torta al cioccolato (chocolate cake) and I had crema di mascarpone con fragole (mascarpone cream with strawberries). I saw someone else order the crema di mascarpone con fragole at another table and had to have it as it looked divine.

We were delighted with Il Santo Bevitore, which I have already added to the I miei preferiti page, and will certainly go back. It's such a pleasure to go to a restaurant, enjoy the food, be treated well, and leave happy.

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