Visit: 17 August 2022
Award: 1 Michelin star
Borgo San Jacopo is a 1-star Michelin restaurant in the centre of Florence. The quality of the food, level of service and overall experience were all very high, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were awarded a second star.
The restaurant has two floors and is situated directly on the Arno River, close to the Ponte Vecchio. There are a few tables on a balcony outside over the river, but we sat upstairs. There were a range of tasting menus and an a la carte menu. We chose a la carte.
To start, we were presented some very good homemade grissini with a crémeux of buffalo ricotta cheese cream dip. We were also served some good whole grain cereal bread and extra virgin olive oil.
There were four very innovative and tasty amuse bouche that were very enjoyable. These were a spicy salmon Montanara (crispy fried pizza) with smoked ricotta cheese, topped with tomato sauce, a beignet stuffed with goat’s cheese mousse, with tomato sauce and cucumber on top, a squid ink financier biscuit base topped with a gel ball of fennel and anchovies, and a beef sandwich with toasted hazelnuts and orange gel.
Next, we were served a “welcome from the kitchen” which was a gnocchi made with cuttle fish, with a basil pesto, cream, and lemon zest. This was very enjoyable.
The first course was an excellent Fassona tartare, topped with toasted bread and black summer truffle, with radishes, and a mustard and wine reduction. The very high quality Fassona beef was very lean and perfectly diced for a tartare. Fassona beef is an exceptionally lean meat from the grey-white coloured Fassona Piedmontese breed. The tartare was one of the best I have eaten anywhere.
Next, was a tagliatelle with sea urchins, tuna bottarga (which is a salted, cured fish roe pouch, typically of the grey mullet or the bluefin tuna, that adds incredible taste, aroma and umami to a dish) and fennel frisella (frisella is a snack food in the form of a bread roll that has been cut in half and baked again). Again, this was an outstanding dish, and one of the best pasta dishes I enjoyed during this tour of Florence. The bottarga elevated the pasta and added huge amounts of umami.
We also tried the risotto with Pecorino di Pienza cheese, chicory, and saffron, with small Chianina meatballs on top. Chianina is one of the famous large, white Italian IGP (Indicazione Geografica Protetta) cattle breed. This was very, good.
The main course of suckling pig was wrapped in porchetta and served with salsify, shallots in port, and Dijon mustard. The pig was very moist and tender, and the shallots cut through the richness of the pork. This was an outstanding dish.
Our other main course was tempura red mullet fillets, served with aubergine (eggplant), sweet and sour red onions cooked with raspberry vinegar, mozzarella cream cheese, and pistachio puree. This was memorable and my favourite dish of the evening.
We were served a deconstructed Black Forrest pre-dessert, with a cherry lollipop, a raspberry, chocolate, and a chocolate sauce. The main dessert, which we shared, was a baba of lemon marinade and cream, toasted almond ice cream, with a nougatine wafer. The baba was soaked in a lemon liqueur and extraordinarily moist. We were also served excellent petit fours.
The service was very good throughout. Our waitress was very friendly and knowledgeable, and Chef Claudio Mengoni visited our table for a chat afterwards to ask for feedback.
This meal and overall experience were exceptional, and this is one of the very best I enjoyed in Florence.
The Tasting Menus:
The Executive chef is Claudio Mengoni. In the past, Claudio has worked with a range of top Italian chefs – Andrea Berton at Il Ristorante Trussardi alla Scala in Milan (1 Michelin Star), Gaetano Trovato at Arnolfo Restaurant (2 Michelin Star), and Andrea Migliaccio at L’Olivo (2 Michelin Star) in the Capri Palace.
Claudio has also spent time at 3 Michelin Star Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence and Assaje (1 Michelin Star) at the Hotel Aldrovandi in Villa Borghese, where Claudio was awarded his first Michelin star in 2016.
Outside the restaurant: