Cities like Paris, London or Florence are never tiring, and Florence in particular, it could easily become my refuge, if by any reason I’d have to leave my Porto!

It’s always nice to come back to where you were happy! A city you always want to revisit, a restaurant we always want to visit again in a city.

In Florence, the capital of Tuscany and cradle of Renaissance, there are lots of good interpretations of the regional cuisine, with great and emblematic restaurants, which despite the tourism flow were always able to respect their origins, traditions and consequently their future.

And here my refuge is this Cibrèo (about which I talked about here), for its vintage atmosphere, cozy environment, peculiar figure and the sympathy of  Fabio Picchi, the chef, and for the boldness of not serving pasta in his ristorante.

Fabio is a celebrity among locals and foreigners these days, but keeps his business with the same inspiration of when he opened it, more than 30 years ago, and gave it a modest name that personifies its cuisine – Cibrèo is a famous ragu that Fabio’s mother prepared with mastery during his childhood – a cuisine built from family recipes, simple, of simple cooking, where the product is king and flavor gets the spotlight.

Speaking of returning to a place that made us happy is talking about expectations, desires, passion and flavor memories – like the oxtail and the chocolate cake I tasted there before.

And walking along the streets of Florence, without a map, destiny guided us in our memory. The entrance is the same, the books are different, with several new editions, but the faces, the warmth, and genuineness remain.

At the table, we realize everything is still the same, from the decoration to the music, the environment and the service, even the confusing scheme of presenting the menu. There’s one employee that sits with us explaining the available dishes of the day, we easily forget some of them, but the question about our preferences and suggestions make the process very charismatic and exciting.

After making our request, quickly the table is full of the usual amuse bouche of the chef, or in this case a pre-meal, concerning the abundance! Highlight to the sausage tartar, unusual and full of flavor, the guts cold salad and the always amazing spicy tomato Aspic.

A fantastic way not only of sharpening our appetites but also of bringing up all my memories of the flavors and textures of Fabio Picchi’s cuisine.

Followed an artisanal prosciutto, cured in Tuscany and cut by hand, that the chef handed us himself. Meat with the right texture and flavor, good cut, and amount of fat. A much more interesting proposal than the majority of prosciuttos we find in the market and other restaurants.

Minestrone with White Tuna 
A classic soup worked with mastery and enrichened with pieces of white tuna, typical of the Italian coast. Rich flavor with highlight to still crunchy texture and cut of the vegetables. The celery brought the necessary freshness to the soup not to become overly heavy and linear.

Ricotta Sformattino, meat Ragù, Parmigiano 
One of the emblematic dishes of the restaurant, and some of the textures Fabio Picchi masters like few others. Rich and intense flavor with a great contrast between the cheese and the meat. Delicious!

Porcini mushrooms, beans
Beans and mushrooms are a well-marked tradition in the region, being in season when we visited, the Porcini were an obvious choice. A mushroom of great quality, cooked perfectly, meaty and flavorful, nicely paired with the beans and the aromatic olive oil. Simple becomes perfect!

Rabbit stuffed with sausage and prosciutto 
A classic dish, perfectly cooked, good sauce and interesting sides, with highlight to the nicely glazed onions and the mashed potato gratin, a must! Another dish of refined taste and full of flavor!

Oxtail stew, potato, green beans
Once again the dish of the evening, a stew that has as much of mastery as it is simple. A dish where time is one of the key ingredients and the combination is surprising. High score also to the artichokes cooked in olive oil and the famous bread – mammoth bone.

This oxtail was worth the wait.

Dried fruits pie, vanilla, and honey 
We started by the least interesting of the desserts, where the excess of sweetness takes some interest off the game of textures and flavors of the several dry fruits.

Raspberry Pie, Vanilla
If the previous pie had some flaws, this one quickly fixed them, fresh, light, good balance of sweet and a great combination of fresh raspberries and the vanilla cream. Very good!

Meringue Tart and cocoa powder
The name says little about the dessert in question, but its texture and the flavor of the cream leaves completely surrendered!

(If Fabio Picchi is reading me he can always leave the recipe in the comment section below!!!)

The wine list is also a species of a museum, with options to every taste, where clearly the wine production from the several sub-regions of Tuscany wins.

Accompanying the meal was a Chianti Classic Montefioralle Reserve of 2013, 100% Sangiovese, the fruit of a selection of the best vineyards of a small producer, which then stall 24 months in wood, resulting in a complex, rich and structured wine, with well-integrated wood and silky tannins. combining really well with the creamiest textures of the dishes.

The Service is of great quality, from the first to the last minute. With the particularity, opposite to fine dining, of wanting us to feel at home.

Final Remarks
Fabio is not only a Marketing genius, or a spontaneous success, his small empire (5 spaces already in a 50 meters ray) comes from the authenticity and charisma of the its cuisine. Cibrèo is one of those restaurants in which we may fall in love (like me), we can even not like it for several reasons, but it is one of those space you just can’t eat badly. It’s for sure a restaurant and a cuisine full of quality and personality.

Not cheap, for sure, but as I said, visiting Florene without trying Fabio Picchi’s cuisine is not the same, and we can always opt for the Caffè or the Trattoria, which propose the same quality of cooking, with a more informal and relaxed service.

Ristorante Cibrèo
Average price, for person, with wine:100€ 
Via del Verrocchio, 8r, Florença
+39 055 234 11 00

Versão Portuguesa

Photos: Flavors & Senses

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