Tamerò: A Hidden Treasure in Florence
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When most people think of Italy, they assume every Ristorante, Osteria, or Trattoria will have incredible pasta. That is actually not the case. So many of these places in tourist filled areas don’t catering to locals or don’t need to rely on return customers. In fact, they are catering to tourists who are probably just looking for a quick “taste of Italy” and then are back on their way to another museum they will never visit again. So what you end up with is a fast food, McDonalds version of “authentic” Italian Pasta. I found this to be true during my most recent trip to Florence.
Florence in general is not known for pasta, it’s known for Bistecca Fiorentina and Panini Lampredotto, both incredible! But I’m still in Italy right? I should be able to find incredible pasta just by stumbling out the door! Well I’ve been all over from tourist traps, to tratorria’s in the middle of nowhere, to Mercato Centrale. All in all, mixed reviews. The mom and pop shops have been the best of the bunch in Florence, Mercato is pretty good, and a lot of the touristy places are just Chef Boyardee with a hefty price tag. Like my Italian friend, Rebecca, says, she can make better pasta than most restaurants in Florence. I can attest as I’ve been eating her pasta for years.
Yet, by lucky coincidence, the book store I usually work out of was closed for no reason in particular other than the fact that it’s Europe, and that’s kinda what they do here. I had to go further from the city center to find another coffee shop with WiFi, and during a stroll to find some pizza, I came across Tamerò Pasta Bar. It was off the beaten path, but still looked busy, so I was immediately intrigued. When I got back to my coffee shop, I began my all important Google and Yelp recon. Reviews were promising, the New York Times even did an article on it.
So when it reopened at 7pm, I was there waiting. They have have two dining rooms: one just for people interested in pizza, and another for those desiring pasta. I wondered what happened if one person wanted pasta and the other pizza, so I’ll have to go back and do another post. We were in for the pasta and were quickly sat in a very cool, almost too American dining area. After perusing the menu, the wine list was good and pretty inexpensive and I wanted 95% of the food menu (5% that I didn’t want is dedicated to the mushrooms that will kill me).
I tried the Soave Classico as I thought it would pair well with the Cacio e Pepe and Culurgiones con Gameri Pancetta E Crema di Zucchine. FINALLY a pasta dish that did not disappoint in Florence! The pasta was obviously fresh and made by hand that day, although you kinda figure that out as you walk in and see the women in the window making the pasta. The pasta was cooked perfectly al dente and finished in the sauce that it would be served in because the sauce clung beautifully to each noodle/dumpling. The Cacio e Pepe had a nice thick creamy sauce, although I would have liked slightly more pepper. The Culurgiones were expertly pinched and folded, anyone who has made hand folded dumplings of any kind, knows how much of an art that is. They also change the menu seasonally which I love. During my Google search, I found the Autumn menu which included a Wild Boar Ragu… Yum, I will be back!