Restaurant review

La Ménagère — Restaurant review | Conde Nast Traveler

What were your first impressions when you arrived? A contemporary and versatile space housed in the high vaulted open-plan rooms of a former palace just north of the San Lorenzo market area, La Ménagère is part restaurant and cocktail bar, part florists, part interiors and bookstore, partly working space. Recently revamped by renowned local architect Claudio Nardi (of Riva Lofts), this is one of Florence’s coolest hangouts, day or night, an intriguing space full of beautiful objects and people.
How is the crowd? It’s open from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., so the crowds change throughout the day. There are the early risers grabbing a cappuccino and croissant on the way to work, followed by a more relaxed breakfast/brunch group, lone workers with laptops for company, leisurely sipping lunches wine and tourists taking a break. The evening crowd — here for cocktails and tapas or a full-fledged gourmet dinner — is more elegant.
What should we drink? There’s everything here: great coffee (iced in the summer), fresh smoothies and juices, fine wines, craft beers, and classic and signature cocktails. It all depends on what you want to drink. Grab a table on the “loggia” for a frothy cappuccino. Perch on the long counter of the retro-glam bar for a classic Negroni or a signature Diablo 2 (tequila, elderflower, wild berries, ginger, melon). Order from the short but interesting wine list that covers all of Italy and far beyond (though the markups are steep, especially by the glass). And end the day with a glass of single malt or a fortifying grappa.
Main event: food. Give us the details, especially what not to miss. The food, too, covers all the bases. Breakfast and brunch dishes (served until noon) include poached eggs with hummus, avocado, and spinach, plus French toast. For lunch (served from noon to 6 p.m.), ceviche, bucatini pasta with Castelmagno cheese and asparagus, beef tenderloin, club sandwiches and burgers. To mop up pre-dinner cocktails, expect tapas such as fried marinated octopus with kimchi mayonnaise and lobster roll. The eclectic dinner menu is a step up in price and sophistication – think oysters, beef tartare with sea urchins and fermented rhubarb, nettle ravioli and fillet of bass with Wagyu, chicken and with yuzu juice and citrus powder.
And how did the people in the room treat you? There are a lot of pretty young things in black dressed around, full of good intentions and beautiful smiles, but sometimes a little distracted.
What is the real-true why we come here? The food and drink menu says it all: it’s a place that attracts all kinds, from the lonely smart worker tucked in a corner with a cinnamon roll and an espresso, to a table of chatty ladies having lunch, in through lovers. couples for a romantic evening for two.


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