Gourmet Southern Italy at ‘Gourmettino’

The delectable eggplant parmesan with stracciatella cheese

A gourmet restaurant with a homemade twist is a new addition in the center of Florence. Il Gourmettino (Via Matteo Palmieri 31, not from Santa Croce), inaugurated in November 2016 and continues to please customers well into the new year. Customers can find Southern Italian delicacies at affordable prices and a chic atmosphere to accompany it. Local artists’ works are displayed on the walls for the customers to enjoy, cushions line the seats, and fairy lights adorn the walls.

The staff is friendly, welcoming, and experienced in the food business. The owners and chefs are also from parts of Southern Italy including Campania, Puglia, and Bari. An inside garden is available for those looking for a romantic evening or just a nice atmosphere. The restaurant also provides gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian dishes.  Il Gourmettino is open everyday from 10 am – 11 pm.

The Easter menu, served all day till closing offers two antipasti: egg-based in honor of the holiday and another featuring baccalà paté and almonds; as a starter, a choice of pasta with asparagus and white chocolate cream or shellfish; a main course of either lamb chops or a fish dish, oven baked turbot.  Homemade tiramisu comes for dessert.  The cost is €35 excluding beverages and each dish can be ordered as take out for €15, tiramisu at €8 (phone 055 200 1237).

Apart from Easter, a typical meal begins with warm bread made according to a recipe from Southern Italy and follows with calamari topped with melon cream, stracciatella cheese, and eggplant. Fish lovers can enjoy the baccalà with creamy sauce, strips of lemon peel, and almonds. For those looking for a simple appetizer the mini panini’s are a good option: made with pizza dough and filled with meat and stracciatella or green olive and sun dried tomatoes.

As an entree, restaurant guests can choose from Il Gourmettino’s pizza menu or try one of their main courses. The eggplant parmesan is filled with fried eggplants, creamy tomatoes, stracciatella cheese, and bread crumbs. The pork from the entrée menu comes with tomatoes on top and potatoes and applesauce on the side. It is slow cooked for 24 hours in a vacuum packed container to give it Il Gourmettino’s special flavor.

For dessert, an option is to try leche: a creamy pastry served hot filled with lemon and chocolate chips. True to southern Italy, there is no rush to leave, the staff is always ready to help, and the food is sure not to disappoint.  (danna friedman)