Let’s retrace the steps…

Back in the day, 2003 to be exact, when my brother still had long locks, he took a few months off to live in Firenze for summer school. He learned a lot, did a lot, and the next year when I was off to fly myself to Florence for the same program, he imparted one very wise piece of advice:

Eat at Trattoria Za Za’s and get sloshed and noshed with their Bistecca Fiorentina.

Flash forward to 2005, when it was my turn to be a Studiante a Firenze, I tried the magical meat and was convinced this was the miracle meat that myths were made of. And when I returned in 2006 (above), I took my parents and friends back to Trattoria ZaZa’s so they could experience the same meaty trance that Jerico and I felt. Clearly, the bone-chomping, finger-licking experience makes any semi-hungry tummy grumble as you read this. Sorry.

Flash forward to 2010, and both Jerico and I found our way back to the heart of Tuscany, to the Trattoria we had longed to return to. Outdoor seating for maximum al fresco exposure.

Trattoria Zaza is Florentine establishment on its own since 1977, they are known for their good food, eclectic ambiance, and energetic dining experience. I must say they are also to be credited as having one of the tastiest olive oil around. It’s so good, I don’t mind drinking it straight from the bottle! Jerico wanted to jip the bottle… but I didn’t want it anywhere near my Miu Miu!

As we sat al fresco on the porch, ToT and bro both agreed that this would be our Splurge for the day, and since we came from a long flight from Manila, we would indulge in a little R and R. We ordered their house Vino, which was a mellow rose’ wine bottled by or for ZaZas itself. I also wanted to take a bottle home with me, but I had to stop myself since we haven’t even spent 24 hours on our eurotrip. There would be more opportunities to hoard vino!

We wanted to relive our Italian culinary days, and ordered the Antipasti platter which, in itself, had stuffed us silly.

Omellette with Truffles

I love eggs with a passion, but add to that a black truffle cream sauce? Heaven in an egg dish! it was light and very simple, but the addition of the pungent aroma of truffle elevated this meager brekkie dish to new heights.

Crostini with Mushroom Pate and Chevre. I love spreads!

Tomatoes and mozzarella and marinated Carciofi (artichokes) bruschetta, plus some yummy SFIZZI. Those little balls of wonder are more like risotto balls, which are a street food delicacy in Rome as well as Florence.

Of course a selection of cured meats with sun-dried tomatoes made it heartier and more robust. I was especially in love with the prosciutto, which I pronounced “miracle meat” a long time ago.

It looked overwhelming on the plate, but the small plates were a perfect way to enjoy a taste of everything good they had for starters.

ZaZa’s exterior is pretty with mix of small stores, shoppes and trattorias, but a visit to the inside of the restaurant is mandatory to enjoy the whimsical interiors and authentic Italian dining experience. Different sections of the restaurant  are covered with photos, trinkets, and memorabilia befitting any trip down memory lane.

For our Primi Piatti (First Plate), we ordered Jerico’s favorite, Risotto al Funghi, Porcini Mushroom Risotto with a hint of Truffle aroma. It was creamy, dreamy, and everything rice was supposed to taste like. Plus I love mushrooms, so I was extremely excited about this one.

At this point… I was ready to call it quits. I was STUFFED… and drunk.

I started pairing my utensils together… but then we forgot that we ordered the motherload.

Bistecca Fiorentina ala ZaZa

Not just any steak, but 1kg of pure Tuscan Meaty goodness. Florentine meat is considered one of the best because of its tenderness and unbelievable flavor. So much flavor, in fact, that the best way to enjoy the bistecca is grilled with a little salt, pepper, olive oil, and a sprinkling of lemon

And the marbling… oh beautiful fatty meat with so much flavor. It’s a wonder how the juices stay inside the meat and none of it escapes to the platter, even if bistecca is traditionally served medium-rare. One bite of this meat, and you wonder how cows around the world aren’t treated with the same dignity and love as these Tuscan cattle are.

We thought there was now way in hell the two ToT brats could even half a kilo of steak. Granted it was everything we reminisced and dreamed about… just like that first bite 5 and 7 years ago. But we forgot that we were sloshed beyond belief by noon, and when we looked up we saw that the Trattoria was filling up fast

Next thing we knew, we looked down and also realized we had inhaled that ginormous piece of meat as if we did not have the Antipasti Platter or Porcini Risotto. WHERE DID IT GO!?

ToT’s Bro looking very sedated, from the cholesterol in his blood to the vino in his brain. I looked very similar… dazed and very stuffed.

So dazed in fact, that I had to do a take-two on the interiors as I was headed to the bagno…  It was like I was hallucinating or something!

Could not resist but to capture this ultra-chic fam with the hot momma in the Gucci glasses. The little toddler was adorable with her Spaghetti Bolognese.

And of course, we could not resist Dolce. I have no clue where I found a pocket of space for it, but I gulped it down.

So creamy and laden with mascarpone, it almost beats the tiramisu I make from scratch. Almost.

Yes, I scarfed it all down. Every drop of Mascarpone cream. It was our Splurge for the day and I made sure I did justice to all the ToT-ers rooting for me to eat my way to unchartered bliss!

If ever you are in Firenze, make time out for this wonderful culinary experience. I promise you will have a memorable time. Watch out for more Firenze posts coming up SOON! ( I’m just in China right now so I have to do this guerilla style). Someone else was in Tuscany around the same time as my trip, but since I couldn’t personally take them to ZaZa’s, I emailed extremely detailed instructions on how to get to this house of deliciousness:

  • If you’re taking the train, from the Firenze Santa Maria Novella station exit, you will see Via Nazionale across the front road.
  • Go down that path (V. Nazionale) heading to Duomo. If you will ask, duomo should be on the right hand side.
  • make a Right on Via Dell’Ariento where you’ll see a little flea market with stalls (aka tiangge) on on street.
  • on the first left (Via Panicale), take that left and you will see a big building on your right hand side. that’s the Mercato Centrale (central market). Great for produce and other stuff also.
  • turn right after that and you’ll see a couple of al fresco dining tents at the end of that little piazza. Za Za’s is the one on the corner of Via Sant’Antonino. But you can ask around. The al fresco has a lot of colorful hand painted tables. YUM Order the Appetizer sampler (what we got), Porcini Risotto, and Bistecca Fiorentina. All their pastas are AMAZING.
Piazza Del Mercato Centrale 26/R
Florence, Italy

+39 055215411