Simbiosi Expands with a New Organic Café

In keeping up with ever-changing international melting pot of cuisines, and unique dietary needs is the rise of more self-conscious diners who crave a healthier alternative. Luckily for them, there is a new local café which delivers just that and more. Simbiosi Organic Café & Lovely Bistro on Via Ginori 64r, opened its doors recently to deliver an organic experience like no other in Florence.

The lovely premises hold true to its name (Symbiosis), immersing each and every one of its clients that walks through its doors into a perfect state of bliss. The ambiance is welcoming: the smell of freshly brewed coffee in the air, the pleasant touch of rich South-American music, the vintage décor, the contemporary art, and that intriguing see-through glass floor provides a sneak peek at what goes on “beneath.”

To see a slide show, click here.

The café’ seats a total of 15 people comfortably, five of those spots are stools for the bar counter, the rest a healthy mixture of chairs, sofas, and armchairs; each one different and all contributing to the vintage look. The surrounding walls are the original ancient “muri” (walls) of the Florentine building it’s a part of; a beautiful accent that reminds you of where you are on the map.

The wonderful food does not stop there, Simbiosi offers a variety of dishes ranging from salads to soups, tapas, sandwiches, and the more typical Italian offerings like “taglieri” and “panzerotti.” Taglieri being a selection of cold cuts with cheese and products bathed in olive oil; depending on which of the three choices you choose and panzerotti being the Italian equivalent of a turnover with fillings like tomato and mozzarella, gorgonzola and red chicory, and if you’re feeling adventurous the “panzerotto” of the day.

Simbiosi offers seasonal local foods and all certified organic menu items except for the cocktails (if they could they would). Some of the many choices of organic beverages are juices, smoothies, teas, coffee, sodas, and even wine. Anything that is created with fruit inside the shop, is made with the freshest ingredients. The café & bistro gets its ingredients daily to make its way into the customer’s plate or glass that very same day.

A curious anomaly about this place that is really surprising, is that the menu items are available at any time of day. You crave eggs at 9 pm? No problem! Your desire is their command. The café is open Monday to Friday from 8 am – 10 pm, Saturdays and Sundays 9 am to 10 pm.

Some of the menu items that would make an excellent addition to your morning would be: the açaí bowl with fresh fruit and canapa seeds, muesli (granola) with yogurt and just a drizzle of maple syrup, or if you’re in the mood for something a little more familiar, how does scrambled eggs with tomato and bacon sound? These are just some of the many items available on the breakfast menu, conveniently displayed on the wall of the shop, ready to offer options for your palate.

The owners’s philosophy towards all things organic extends to its coffee, which shows an immense importance to the quality of each and every one of its products offered. One might wonder how such a place chooses its coffee beans, don’t worry; the tradition of finding a high-quality product stands true even with a single coffee bean. The management of Simbiosi is strict in its selection process, personally choosing the beans, discarding all of the bad ones and choosing only the ones at the perfect level of maturation. The process is similar to that of selecting grapes to make wine.

Everything in the café and lovely bistro is particular, from the coffee making machine down to the smallest grain of sugar. The coffee making machine attracts attention: it is one specially made entirely by hand by Marzocco. It is a one of a kind “macchina” that blends manual dexterity with the latest technologies available. The offerings range from the more refined “Svaziland,” with hints of vanilla, to “Mauritius,” with traces of liquorice, up to “Muscovado,” which is less sweet and has the aromas of molasses.

It’s refreshing to find a place that supports their local vendors and extends its borders further to support others. Simbiosi gets new roasters from abroad each month, keeping up with the latest international trends, which at the moment are espressos from Cuba and Brazil. The more constant specialty coffee available at the shop are the Ditta Artigianale, D612 coffee roaster, Nero scuro, and La Tosteria and the coffee menu is presented in the exact manner of that of wines. It showcases the name, type of roast, aromatic characteristics, variety, area of origin, and the possible methods of preparation. Some of the items on display and readily available at the bar counter to accompany any warm coffee are: banana bread, apple pie, jam tart, and lemon pound cake that is made with yogurt.

Now, let’s get down to business. The prices are affordable. If you’re a coffee “connoisseur” you know that finding a great cup of coffee at a reasonable price is hard, let alone organic products that just seem to sky rocket in terms of price no matter what the context is. A unique feature about the menu is that Simbiosi makes sure to explain why a particular cup of coffee costs a couple of cents more than your average choice.

Another curious thing about the café is the new option to share wine with either your friends or even strangers at the bar. The way it works is that you order a bottle and share a glass a head, this is a practice already popular abroad but hard to find in Italy.

On another note, Magenta reporters were able to assess the quality of some of their popular menu items. We ordered the “Energetica” smoothie which consists of mango, orange, carrot, coconut milk, and honey, as well as chai latte and a chai latte with a twist, in this case espresso. For our coffee drinkers’ curiosity, we took the liberty of ordering an espresso that was a Brazilian roast.

The “Energetica” smoothie was mouthwatering in all the sense of the words. Coming from the point of view of a mango lover, with each sip taken, my taste buds couldn’t help but hunt for that distinct tropical flavor. This thirst quencher was nothing short of amazing.  Some like all the flavors mixed together and savoring it as if it was a whole new flavor in itself. But this time it was different, each ingredient made itself known, with an unexpected punch.

We had the pleasure of actually having someone in our midst, who had never tried a chai tea latte in their life. So, we got a fresh standpoint: after the first sip, we knew we had another fan of the popular South Asian beverage. For our experienced chai tea drinkers and those craving the best chai latte in Florence, the search is over. Simbiosi has it. It is rich in flavor, creamy, and has the perfect amount of sweetness. 

As for the chai latte with a twist of espresso, we fell head over heels for it. The espresso didn’t overpower the chai spices, giving it the necessary balance that a concoction of this kind would demand. It was subtle which is what makes it go beyond just your typical Italian espresso.

The espresso we chose was a Brazilian roast that had a faint fruity flavor which made it sweet. With more sips, the pleasurable hint of orange prevailed.  

Finally, to get to the café and lovely bistro all you need to do is take a stroll down through Piazza San Marco in the direction to Mercato San Lorenzo. More than just a great place to grab a quick meal and beverage, Simbiosi offers a moment that is designed with you in mind. (ana hugues)