Gourmet Lunch at 16 Euro
Alle Murate, situated in the ancient palace of the Notary and Judges Guild (Palazzo dell’Arte dei Guidici e Notai), offers a full four-course lunch, Unico, to art-lovers and food-enthusiasts alike, all for the modest price of 16 euro.
“Unico” features one set menu that changes daily, based on what is freshest.
Guests receive salad, a soup or a pasta dish, main course and vegetable, bread and a dessert for the set price, excluding beverages.
Past the sliding doors, soft classical music and cool air conditioning immediately set the mood for the experience, modern dining in an antique environment.
The setting is intimate, with wood floors and stone accents characterizing the décor, enlivened by dashes of magenta in the napkins and flowers. Alle Murate carefully emphasizes the details in presentation as well as in the dining experience.
As a guest sits down, freshly cut bread and cold water–not necessarily part of the typical Italian meal out—is immediately brought out, and placed on the table. The black leather place setting, featuring the restaurant’s gold birdcage symbol, emphasizes the presentation of the meal.
“Unico” begins with a salad sprinkled with bright magenta radishes, and a light dressing of olive oil and Dijon mustard.
Soup arrived piled high with sautéed calamari. The broth was made of puréed garbanzo beans, garlic, rosemary, sage, and parsley with whole legumes as a bed to the baby squid. The creamy soup contrasted both visually and texturally with the chewy, dark calamari. The soup was topped off with a splash of green herbs.
The secondo piatto, or the main event, was artfully presented stewed veal, accompanied by zucchini. Presented in small chunks, the vividly green zucchini was lightly seasoned and cooked to a slight crunch. The tender veal had a creamy reduction applied liberally. The arrangement was topped off with a fragrant green and purple flower.
The grand finale was the small round cheesecake for dessert, which provided just enough sweetness at the end of the flavorful meal. A light lemon-yogurt sauce drizzled over the warm cheesecake proved a delightful juxtaposition of flavor. In Alle Murate’s artistic fashion, the dish was brought together by an accent of a bright green mint leaf.
The daily changing menu doesn’t venture far from the fresh ingredients above. On another day a hungry guest could find the same four course meal consisting of a salad, penne alla la norma (sauced with tomato and aged ricotta), cold roasted pork with mustard sauce accompanied by cucumber salad, and finishing with a dessert of ricotta mousse and strawberries.
The restaurant accommodates to all food allergies, and will make changes to the individual’s meal if they have certain dietary needs.
In addition to a multi-course, fresh lunch, guests have free admission into the adjacent museum, featuring 14th century frescoed walls. The ceiling itself is decorated with a fresco fanning out in concentric circles, bearing symbols of city and emblems of the 21 major and minor guilds that once ruled Florence.
Alle Murate’s mission for the “Unico” states, “an idea for a light lunch in a museum.” Despite the multiple courses, the lunch is in fact light, and each dish appears like a work of art itself. (shannon pesek/photo by laura palladino)
Alle Murate, Via del Pronsocolo, 16, Florence. Tel. 055/240618. Closed Monday.