Source: Florence and its restaurants c. 1910   Leave a comment

The following comes from a British account  c. 1910 relating to dining in Florence. The famous Doney’s is mentioned – a restaurant that appears in Zeffirelli’s Tea with Mussolini. We see also though the rise of the ‘purely Italian’ restaurants, a phenomenon that is just beginning before the First World War.

The restaurants of Florence are those of a city where the natives are thrifty and the visitors dine in hotels. There is one expensive high-class house, in the Via Tornabuoni Doney e Nipoti or Doney et Neveux where the cooking is Franco-Italian, and the Chianti and wines are dear beyond belief, and the venerable waiters move with a deliberation which can drive a hungry man and one is always hungry in this fine Tuscan air to despair. I like better the excellent old-fashioned purely Italian food and Chianti and speed at Bonciani’s in the Via de’ Panzani, close to the station. These twain are the best. But it is more interesting to go to the huge Gambrinus in the Piazza Vittorio Emmanuele, because so much is going on all the time. One curious Florentine habit is quickly discovered and resented by the stranger who frequents a restaurant, and that is the system of changing waiters from one set of tables to another; so that whereas in London and Paris the wise diner is true to a corner because it carries the same service with it, in Florence he must follow the service. But if the restaurants have odd ways, and a limited range of dishes and those not very interesting, they make up for it by being astonishingly quick Things are cooked almost miraculously. The Florentines eat little. But greediness is not an Italian fault. No greedy people would have a five-syllabled word for waiter.

 

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Posted December 23, 2010 by zachmon in Uncategorized

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