Visit: 15 August 2022
Villa San Michele is a five-star Belmond hotel in a former 15th Century monastery located on a quiet, wooded hillside just below the ancient village of Fiesole less than five miles north of the centre of Florence. The weathered, porticoed façade is said to be by Michelangelo, and the sweeping views of the city from the gardens, many of the rooms, the restaurants and the pool are breath taking.
There are a variety of restaurants to choose from, including the fine dining La Loggia restaurant that is operating at Michelin star level, Ristorante San Michelle that provides more casual Tuscan style dining, and a pool side restaurant.
The food at Ristorante San Michelle champions the Slow Food Foundation promoting local food and traditional cooking, including raw milk pecorino cheese from Maremma, red onions from Certaldo, and Sorana beans. The bread at Villa San Michelle is made from scratch at the bakery at the hotel.
The tables in the restaurant are located next to the large open windows with superb views overlooking Florence. There is an a la carte menu and the restaurant is open for lunch and dinner.
The starter of amberjack tartare, basil pesto, and grilled cherry tomatoes was very good. The amberjack was fresh, and the fish with the pesto and tomato combination was very enjoyable.
Our other starter course of Chianina beef tartare IGP, with egg cream, roasted hazelnuts, and grated seasonal black truffle, was also very good. Chianina are an Italian IGP (Indicazione Geografica Protetta) breed of large white cattle. The beef was very high-quality and perfectly prepared for a tartare.
The main course of fettuccine with Tuscan boar, with Bolgheri grappa, and juniper was also very good. The pasta was well made, and the boar sauce had deep flavour. Bolgheri grappa is made from the pomace of grapes such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, which are the varieties used for the Bolgheri Rosso DOC wine produced in the Castagneto Carducci area in Tuscany. The grappa has good tannins and acidity, and this was a very nice addition to the boar ragu.
The other main course of Florentine-style baccalà (cod) filet, and curly escarole “alla carrettiera”, was also very enjoyable. The fish was cooked precisely, and the acidity of the vegetables provided a pleasant contrast.
The main courses were accompanied by side dishes of oven-baked potatoes, with garlic and rosemary, and Florentine-style spinach with Maremma pecorino cheese.
This was an enjoyable meal using high quality local produce. The service was very good throughout.
Next door to Ristorante San Michelle is the Villa San Michele fine dining restaurant, La Loggia. This is where the extraordinary talents of Executive Chef Alessandro Cozzolino are on display, and it is operating at a very high standard.
The tables in the restaurant are located next to the large open windows with superb views overlooking Florence:
The view of Florence from the restaurant:
The entrance to the hotel: