Borgo San Jacopo - Firenze

This is Italy after all, where the piazzas only start buzzing around 7PM, right about the same time that restaurants begin to open. The first excited guest to arrive is a Japanese man in his mid 30s, dressed in a yellow leather 70's tailored suit with red boots and over sized sunglasses, sitting right by the stone entrance. A passing street photographer asks if he can snap his photo - just another Tuesday night in Florence. The foodie's colorful outfit matches the property quite well as it boasts several Picasso and Cocteau paintings. The art collection, all 400+ pieces of it, decorates Hotel Lungarno which along with restaurant Borgo San Jacopo are owned by one of the city's most famous families, the Ferragamos. The only thing more grand & brilliant than the outfits and the art is what you're here for, the food. Located alongside the Arno River BSJ has a stunning view of historic Ponte Vecchio, when you're looking away from your dish, that is. The long narrow restaurant is typical of spaces in old Europe and though it looks like an art gallery at eye level, tall ceilings reveal a more rural look of exposed wood beams and plaster work. Chef Peter Brunel treats his kitchen like a creative playground, offering delicate & inventive dishes, yet always linked to Italian tradition. Borgo San Jacopo holds one Michelin star, and I can confidently say, deserves two, which I'll discuss later in this post. We learn something new every day and that evening at BSJ, I learned about plates, yes plates. After mentioning to the captain that several other restaurants including Le Bernardin and Il Palagio used the same dishes she explained that this was no coincidence. I traveled with Claudia to the universe of plates and how this particular product line is engineered specifically to hold an exact temperature for a certain length of time...just when you thought you've heard it all! The dishes below are exemplary of the creative and delectable results of Borgo San Jacopo's Italian gourmet excellence, enjoy.

Borgo San Jacopo Interior - Source: Leading Hotels of the World

Ponte Vecchio Bridge - Source: Lungarno Collection

Exquisite cocktail who's name or ingredients I cannot trace back

Amuse Bouche - Pistachio Bread Dough with Chocolate Crumble & Home Made Butter
Gamberi with Ground Coffee Beans and Mango Emulsion 

Bulb - Shallots & Parmesan served with Artichoke Ice Cream & Caviar

Pasta & Snails - Snails & Curry Ravioli, Pumpkin Cream & Porcini Mushrooms

Grilled Pigeon on the left served with Foie Gras, Soy Cream, Radishes & Black Truffle

Autumn Spinning - Hazelnut Cream, Licorice Pannacotta, 
Pear Bavarese, Chocolate Pudding, Pear Sorbet

Assortment of Home Made Petit Fours

Not exactly what comes to mind when you think of  an Italian menu, is it? And that's exactly Chef Brunel's intent. There's a new generation of Italian chefs introducing this modern realm of preparation, platting and techniques to the home country's cooking. Not in an attempt to reinvent it, rather forge new ideas of what Italian cuisine could include. For more information on Borgo San Jacopo please click here.

I mentioned earlier that I would expand on my comment of Borgo San Jacopo deserving a second Michelin star, and I stand by that. But instead I've decided to put together an opinion piece following the next two posts with the reoccurring theme. Stay tuned!

Until then you can dream of La Bella Vita by checking out these Michelin mentioned restaurants in Italia.


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