Review by Sterling Swift, Eryn Brinitzer, Annie Letizia, Anastasia Finney, and Nick Tyndall
Trattoria Zio Gigi is a quaint, inviting establishment lying in the shadows of the Florentine Duomo. The first thing I noticed upon arriving at Zio Gigi was how packed the restaurant was, my first sign that it was going to be an enjoyable dining experience. I didn’t see one empty table in the place besides our table in the back, so I was very happy with our decision to make a reservation Wine bottles and paintings of the Tuscan countryside decorate the walls against which modest chairs and tables are placed. The atmosphere was cozy and local, which is made the restaurant seem very authentic. We were immediately greeted by who I imagine was the owner. He sang in Italian, very loudly and was great entertainment during our dinner.
To start, we ordered the house red wine and the bruschetta with pecorino cheese. The fresh, plump-diced tomatoes were the perfect topping for the traditional Florentine style stale bread. The bruschetta had a more prominent garlic taste than others than I have had in the past, but I thought the extra garlic flavor made the dish even more decadent. The slice of pecorino cheese on the side also was a good addition to the traditional dish. We then tried pasta pomodoro. Although this is a very simple dish, it was one of the most excellent versions of the dish that I have had during my time in Florence. The sauce and the noodles were clearly very fresh and the taste reflected the ingredients’ authenticity. We also tried the grilled salmon with a side of potatoes and the tagliatelle ai fungi. The salmon was exquisite, cooked perfectly throughout the fillet. The “crust” was crisp and well-seasoned with salt and pepper. It also had a good amount of saltiness, with hints of lemon. The potatoes were boiled to a soft consistency and offered notes of rosemary and salt. They complimented the grilled salmon quite nicely. The tagliatelle with mushrooms was well-cooked. However, the mushrooms were fairly large and somewhat lacking in flavor. The pasta dish overall was very watery, sitting in an excessive amount of water, oil, and mushroom moisture, so this was not our favorite dish of this night. To accompany my entrée, we split some cannellini beans lightly tossed in olive oil. This side dish did not disappoint as the beans were cooked perfectly, prepared just to our liking – coated in olive oil and complete with a pinch of salt. The beans were not over cooked and had a bite to them.
What an incredible, authentic ambience at Zio Gigi! The restaurant owners and staff made the experience so welcoming, warm, and fun. Everything down to the music and décor was so enjoyable and the food was absolutely fantastic. In addition to the excellent food that I had at Zio Gigi, the experience was also one to be remembered. It was one of the most authentic Italian restaurants that I have been to during my time in Florence. The place was packed with locals and the restaurant was loud and had a very fun atmosphere. The owner of the restaurant actually came around to the tables and sang in Italian, something that I have never seen in the United States. He made us feel included and welcomed even though none of us could communicate with him and speak Italian. Honestly, I could not say enough good things about this establishment and I will definitely go back before the end of the semester. Overall, I loved Trattoria Zio Gigi. I loved the food, atmosphere, and people who run the restaurant. I look forward to going back and trying even more dishes.
Trattoria Zio Gigi
Via Portinari Folco 7R
Tel.: 055 215584
Hours:Monday-Saturday Lunch 12:00-2:30pm; Dinner 7:00-10:30pm