Even though I’m not always lucky enough to indulge in a bistecca fiorentina everyÂ time I visit, just like Pavlov’s dog, my mouth starts watering for one as soon as I settle in on a Florence-bound train. This last trip, I had the good fortune to eat at Perseus, just off the Piazza della LibertÃ in Florence, for the second time. We ordered nothing out of the ordinary: ribollita, bistecca Fiorentina, and funghi porcini alla griglia (I know, but we were celebrating a number of occasions that merited a splurge).
Bustling Perseo did not disappoint, neither the first time I ate there, nor this one. There are fresh-cut vegetables on the table when you arrive; nothing pretentious, but munching them as opposed to bread orÂ grissiniÂ (breadsticks) takes less of a toll on your appetite for the real food to come. The ribollita was the perfect warm-up for the stunning Fiorentina, which arrived sitting straight up on its ossa, with sizzling, serving-sized slices surrounding it. And the porcini?Â Mouth-watering, abbondante,Â and grilled to perfection, with just a touch of oilo eÂ sale that did nothing but enhance the flavor of these marvelous morsels. A meal fit for a Medici, te lo dico io.
Perseus is quintessential Tuscan, quintessential Florentine. Comfortable, traditional surroundings, marvelous meats and an otherwise broad menu of all-things-roasted and regional delicacies, and home-made desserts; you can drink the house Chianti along or choose from a broad finer wine selection. Staff is friendly and energetic. You really can’t go wrong.
One word of warning: la bistecca is served rare, al sangue. Period. No one will ask you how you want it cooked. A good Fiorentina Chianina is an extraordinary meat, and to overcook it would be an insult, un gran peccato (I equate it to using 18k gold to caulk the bathtub, and have the same opinion about overcooking tuna). If rare meat is not to your liking, don’t order the Fiorentina, but instead opt for any one of the other delectables (meat and vegetable dishes both) you’ll find on the menu of this simpatico locale.
via Don Manzoni, 10 (click for map)
+39 055 588 226
Open for lunch and on Sundays
â‚¬20 and up (count on â‚¬40+ for the bistecca or specialties like porcini)
Be sure to reserve!