FLORENCE – ALLA VECCHIA BETTOLA

Florence – Alla Vecchia Bettola

Our last meal in Italy was one of the highlights of the two week trip. Dinner at Alla Vecchia Bettola was the perfect mix of homey comfort, delicious food and unlimited house wine. Looking back, I wish I had cut a few days in Rome in favour of more time in Florence and Tuscany. We likely won’t be visiting Italy again soon but hopefully the next trip will include a reservation at Osteria Francescana.

Atmosphere: We headed to the restaurant as doors opened and had no issues being seated without a reservation. This was not the case for many well-reviewed restaurants in Rome, a happy difference. The restaurant was cozy with well worn wooden stools and marble table tops. I loved how warm the bustling space felt with a wall lined with wine bottles and brass sconces lighting each table. This was the kind of restaurant where dinner could easily stretch late into the night with good company and good food.

Service: While the menu was in Italian, it wasn’t too difficult to decipher with some Google Translating. Our server took our order in English and it was a just a short wait before our pasta dish arrived. The Florentine Steak was ready quickly after and we were left to enjoy our meal. I liked that the bread charge was clearly stated on the menu in large font.

Food: Dinner was good. Really really good. After placing our order Stephen and I started chatting with the older couple next to us. They told us how they came to Italy for their honeymoon years ago and loved the Penne alla Bettola (penne in vodka sauce) so much that they come back to Alla Vecchia Bettola almost annually for the dish. After just the first bite, I could see why. The pasta was an excellent texture and the sauce addictive. I liked how it was sweet and cheesy without being heavy and too creamy. Stephen and I both agreed we should have each ordered our own plate instead of one to share.

Then there was the steak, 40oz of beautifully cooked perfectly rare beef. We didn’t ask for a certain doneness while ordering and opted to embrace however the dish should be served. The steak was quite rare with a nice crust, lightly seasoned and extremely tender. We devoured the platter, but even for carnivores like us it was a feat. The bottle of house Chianti, which was unlimited, helped.

Overall, our meal at Alla Vecchia Bettola was superb, from the classic feel of the restaurant to the simply well cooked food. With a few missteps in Rome, I had been unsure if Italy was for me. The second part of our trip changed my mind with authentic flavours and stunning views.
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