Eat Out critic Tracy Gielink visits neighbourhood favourite Al Firenze in La Lucia.
The food at Al Firenze has stood the test of time. For decades, locals have been mesmerised by signature dishes like the spectacular trifolati (an enormous plate of wild boletus mushrooms sautéed in olive oil, garlic and parsley) and the rosette pasta, which sees Italian ham and cheese wrapped in spinach-and-egg pasta and baked in the pizza oven in a cheese sauce.
The wood-fired oven is well utilised, producing thin-based pizzas and dishes like artichokes baked in parmesan, garlic and parsley, or quail stuffed with olives, herbs and Parma ham. There are always interesting specials, so check out the chalkboard before ordering.
Expect an unexpectedly extensive wine list for a neighbourhood trattoria. It is clearly broken down by varietal, and white wines get more representation than their red counterparts. There’s a smattering of imported Italian wines and those made from Italian varietals.
In keeping with the setting, the service is casual, informative and friendly. Locals are placated by the kitchen’s quick turnaround time, but service can falter a little when the restaurant is operating at capacity.
The restaurant appears like a culinary oasis in the heart of suburbia. The gentle aroma of garlic and strains of Italian music waft in the air and entice you into the restaurant, which spills out onto a covered veranda. It has a cosy charm despite the somewhat standard décor of checked tablecloths paired with red plastic chairs and a large Ferrari flag on the wall.
The kids’ meals are well priced and generous.
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