The Gastronome Restaurant Reviews - La Leggenda dei Frati a Villa Bardini, Costa S. Giorgio 6/a, 50125, Florence, Italy

Visit: 16 August 2022

Award: 1 Michelin Star

Price: ***


The Review:

La Leggeda dei Frati is a 1-star Michelin restaurant located in the centre of Florence.  It is located inside Villa Bardini, that was built in 1641, and, because of its panoramic position, it’s called Villa Belvedere.  In good weather, you can dine on the terrace that has stunning views across the city.  Filippo Saporito is chef patron, together with partner Ombretta Giovannini.  Their food is creative, contemporary and terroir-based.

There were tasting menus, including a vegetarian, and a seven and nine course options, as well as an a la carte option.  We chose a la carte.  You can select two savoury courses at 95 Euro, or three savoury courses at 130 Euro.  Desserts are priced separately.

We were greeted by Chef Saporito who explained the menu to us and took our order.  A variety of breads were served, as well as some excellent bread sticks, crisp breads and a selection of amuse bouche.

Stuart Clarke Restaurant ReviewThe starter of Mazara red shrimp was like a chowanmushi (Japanese custard dish) with excellent shrimps, potatoes, hazelnuts, wild salmon eggs, and saffron.  This was a very good start to the meal, with superb shrimps and a well flavoured sauce.

Our other starter was a chicken liver terrine.  This was clearly a very popular dish, and had been on the menu since 2004.  The terrine uses Colonnata lard, figs and crème caramel.  Colonnata is an Italian village situated in the Apuan Alps, and is known worldwide for the pork fat Lardo di Colonnata.  The lard (which has been awarded the IGP quality certification) is cured in local marble tanks that have been rubbed with garlic.  Layers of lard are flavoured with sea salt, ground black pepper, fresh rosemary, and garlic cloves.  The marble lids that cover the marble tubs remain closed for 6-10 months.  The terrine had figs layered through it as well as being accompanied by figs.  A very good starter.

The pasta course of ravioli with wild herbs from Chianti, chickpeas, marrow and scampi was very good.  The scampi were very sweet, complemented with broth made from chickpeas.  Our other pasta course was cappelletti (ring-shaped pasta with a characteristic shape that resembles a hat) that were stuffed with eggplant, almond, plum, tomatoes and tahina.  This was packed with flavour.

The main course of guinea fowl was served with bell pepper ketchup, lettuce and green peppers.  The guinea fowl supreme were very tender and moist, and the acidity from the ketchup helped balance the richness of the meat.  Our other main course was fish and clams in a soup, with olives and green beans.  The selection of fish included monkfish, amberjack and snapper.  This was disappointing and lacked flavour.  The fish soup was under-seasoned for our palate, and tasted like a thin broth.

Next, we were served an unusual pre-dessert with intense lemon and sage foam, and lots of dry ice smoke.  This had a very strong taste that cleared our taste buds completely of savoury food.  This was our least favourite course of the meal.

Much better was the main dessert that had apricot with Sichuan pepper ice cream and basil (this was priced at 25 Euro).  This dessert was excellent.  We were recommended a memorable dessert wine, Maculan, Passito Bianco DOC 2019, Breganze Torcolato, to accompany the dessert, and this was an outstanding combination.

Chef Saporito came to our table to chat and ask for our feedback.  He presented a wide selection of Tuscan biscuits for us to choose from.  Finally, we completed the meal with a small piece of caramel, which was very refreshing.

Before we left, we were able to visit the rooftop of the restaurant building.  The night-time views across the city were memorable.

Chef Saporito is very innovative, and you will be surprised by some of the taste combinations.  The food at La Leggenda dei Frati is very good, and the service was excellent.  This was a memorable experience, and I will revisit when I next return to Florence.

The Menus:

The Food:


The Restaurant:

Outside the restaurant:

Views from the terrace over Florence:

View towards Villa Belvedere:

Night-time view from the terrace looking over Florence:

View from the roof top of the restaurant:

View from the roof top of the restaurant:

View from the roof top of the restaurant:

View from the roof top looking down on the restaurant terrace:

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