Girl in Florence

A Tuscan Texan immersed in Florentine life

Osteria de L’Ortolano – foodie spot near the Accademia Gallery



While I adore offering friends, family and you guys restaurant recommendations in Florence, Italy – the one area that I have always been a little ‘eh’ about was around Piazza San Marco and the Galleria della Accademia.

I received an invite recently to check out a small deli and restaurant on via degli alfani in this area which unbeknownst to me has been operating for over 50 years. The lovely tiny Osteria de L’Ortolano is owned by a friendly couple Marta & Massimo, who warmly greeted us with flutes of champagne and fried vegetables upon arrival.

Well, allright then! You can win me over with fried food and bubbles any day. 

Needless to say, we were off to a great start.

ortolanoThis cute place takes pride in what they create, including sourcing much of their seasonal produce from a local farm, Podere Torricella. You can stop and order food to go or take a ‘sosta’ (rest) from touring one of Florence’s most famous art galleries, La Accademia (home to The David).


For a first time visitor, the place may look like a take-away deli, but I recommend having a look around because they have a room in the back for lunch & dinner. Colorful and cute, I liked browsing their jars of marmalade and various Tuscan yumminess before sitting down for a taste of their spring menu.


We started off with a ‘millefoglie’ of eggplant & tomato with delicate paprika served with a glass {or two} or Nebbiolo” Metodo Classico Rosè di Ettore Germano [great choice]. I have seen a fair amount of ‘millefoglie’ variations on menus across Florence which really is a way to stack and layer dishes, the word itself meaning ‘a thousand leaves’. This dish was a great way to begin this gastronomic evening, the tomatoes were out of this world – it got us curious enough to eagerly anticipate the next course.


Next up was penne with gragnano I.G.P. (type of fish) with a turmeric sauce, carbonaro nero & asparagus. While the pasta for me was great, the stand out star was the Tuscan vodka ‘O de V’  {yes I said that right! made & distilled with wine and grapes} and which we ate with this seafood pasta dish. Strange sounding? I thought so too, but both the vodka and fish were actually complimentary and an interesting combination I would try again. The vodka is served in ‘tubes’ resembling cigar holders placed in a glass of ice and then poured in a cup to be sipped along with your meal.  ortolano_firenze 20140415_211637

The last savory treat “star” of the night was roasted guinea fowl with a sauce of Montecarlo and wild chicory, served with Montecarlo ‘Etichetta Blu, Az Buonamico (2012) wine. It was a knock-out winner for me, I am a huge fan of all types of birds and this was certainly no exception, a rich flavor that really went well with the bitter chicory. #winning


As we were being served, Massimo took the time to explain each dish and you could really see how passionate he was about his cuisine and this menu. This is yet another reason I adore this country, these small business owners keep our city a place I want to live. I loved how much he stressed that both him and his wife decide the menu together, I reckon many people could take a lesson from that sort of collaborative relationship.

The grand finale was a variation of different torta Martarè (in a liquid, creme and cake form). This delightfulness is created using four different kinds of cacao {at least 75% from different areas around the world, namely South America} in various dosages with butter, egg, sugar & Jamaican rum. It’s consistency is super rich and melt-in-your-mouth worthy – a must try!

Not ever being a crazy chocolate kind gal, this cake is something I would eat for breakfast lunch and dinner – it’s that good! I also really enjoyed the dessert wine, ‘Recioto della Valpolicella, Roccolo Grassi (2002)’ . Probably one of the best dessert wines I have ever tried {and usually cost a pretty penny too}.

Osteria de l-Ortolano_8a

How much? 

The antipasti {appetizer dishes} are all 8 euros, very reasonable for Florence, especially when you consider just how awesome that millefoglie was. The primi {first courses} are all 9 euros (and you can add the vodka if you want to mimic how we tried it) for an extra price while secondi {second courses} are 14 euros and dolci {desserts}| 7 euros {which is quite high but man, oh man did I love this dessert!}.

So next time you happen to be in this area, I highly recommend having dinner here. I love that I now have a great foodie recommendation for the Piazza San Marco, Accademia area of town and I am certain you will love both Marta & Massimo, their happy energy is contagious at best.

Osteria de L’ Ortolano
Via degli Alfani n° 91/r – 50121 Firenze

website: Facebook



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0 Responses

  1. Should not read these posts on an empty stomach. This place really sounds interesting. Food looks and sounds delicious.

    1. It looks like that from the outside but they have their back room tucked around the corner, go have dinner and let me know what you think {their wine is superb too}! Very very cute!

  2. Looks fantastic! One of my friends will be in Florence soon, I’ll have to recommend this place to her. Looks very unique! And if it has regional jars of fruit or honey, that would be an added bonus for her to bring back to her mamma.

  3. Thanks, Georgette, looks wonderful! can’t wait to try the vodka in tubes, and I love their neon sign that spells out the name of the place.

Georgette Jupe

Welcome to my personal blog by a curious American girl living and working between Zug, Switzerland and Florence, Italy with my husband Nico, our newborn Annabelle and Ginger the beagle. This space is primarily to share about my love for Italy (currently on a 13 year romance) with a fair amount of real talk, practical advice, travel suggestions and adjusting to a new culture (Switzerland). Find me on IG @girlinflorence @girlinzug

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