Trattoria Za Za

Upon arriving in Florence, Italy this past weekend I was met at the airport by one of my best friends Danielle, who is studying there. Once we had gotten through the initial hug and catch up, we began discussing our plans for the evening, and she enthusiastically turned to me almost screaming, “we HAVE to go to Trattoria Za Za for dinner tonight, it’s INCREDIBLE” and Danielle was indeed, correct.

The two of us, along with three of her roommates made a reservation for 8:00 pm and were extremely relieved we had when we saw the line at the door upon our arrival! Trattoria Za Za is located in a quaint, colorful, and historical plaza, called Piazza del Mercado Centrale and has been in business since 1977.

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Piazza del Mercato Centrale

The atmosphere was vintage and cozy, very comfortable with mismatched furniture and chairs and winding rooms which continued to empty out into even more spaces, the restaurant literally appeared to keep going “back and back” Evidently, the extensive space was necessary for every table inside and outside was completely full, and the line to get in stretched around half the block! And it was only a Tuesday night!

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Trattoria Za Za’s menu was extensive, at least 10 pages long completed with every food option imaginable-from steak, to fish, to more traditional Tuscan cuisines such as pizzas and unlimited choices of pasta, they had it all. After much contemplation, I finally decided upon the Tagliatelle with Truffle sauce. Unknowingly to me before giving my waitress my order, truffle oil and truffle sauces are actually one of Trattoria Za Za’s specialities!

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The dish was indeed, special. The truffle sauce was rich and creamy but not over bearing, or too heavy, a problem I usually have with truffle dishes. One of Danielle’s roommates, Abby, got the Grilled Beef Tenderloin, and that did not disappoint either. An absolutely ridiculous size, the steak was served on a large wooden slab, looking almost medieval. Unfortunately they were out of the rosemary potatoes, which usually accompanies the tenderloin, but it was more than okay. The dish was instead served simply with lemon, putting emphasis on the taste of the beef specifically. The moist, tender meat was more than enough on its’ own, and I found myself asking her for multiple bites throughout the meal!

Following our entrees, we all opted for a lemon liquor sorbet to cleanse our palettes, also known as “Zaza very light lemon liquor sorbet” It was indeed light and refreshing, exactly what we needed after our extremely large meals. It was the perfect ending to a delicious meal.

I would highly encourage anyone visiting Florence to take a trip to Trattoria Za Za, but ensure to make a make a reservation ahead of time!

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Da Greco

I found a little piece of Italy right here in Barcelona, and it is called Da Greco. Upon my family’s arrival this past weekend, I was looking into new restaurants to try in Barcelona. My mom, brother, and myself, all love Italian food so I figured I would narrow down my search with that. While looking online, I stumbled upon a restaurant called Da Greco, and although they didn’t have an official website, it was continuously talked about extremely positively on Yelp, Facebook and other restaurant review sites. I decided to look up the menu and found some of their popular dishes on Foodspotting. They all looked delicious so I called and made a reservation for Friday night.

My family and I arrived at nine pm, to an intimate, white furnished building, completed with pleasant mood lighting, and elegant Italian decor. We were sat almost immediately despite the crowded, business of the restaurant, and I was evidently pleased with myself for making a reservation ahead of time.

Our waiter was both friendly and attentive, and spoke English very well which helped a lot. Everything on the menu sounded absolutely delicious, and I struggled to make a decision. I was torn between the  Gnocci al la sorretina, Fettucine al gorgonzola, and Spaguetti a la putanesca originally. However, I continued to change my mind before finally  deciding upon the Risotto al parmigiano.

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I realized my earlier struggle to decide what to order was unnecessary once our waiter brought us our food; and this was for two reasons. One, upon trying my parmesan risotto, I knew I had make the right decision. And secondly, Da Greco does an incredible thing that makes it unlike any restaurant I have ever been to before.  For each entree the table orders, a plate is brought to each person with samples of everyone else’s dish. Having to ask people to try their food, and then awkwardly attempting to transport a bit of your food to another or vice versa, was no longer an issue. I got to try every member of my family’s food and it was arranged neatly on a plate personal prepared just for me.

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My mom ordered Raviolis con setas ceps y queso parmigiano (top left), my brother ordered the Spaghetti putanesca, and my dad not much of a foodie, simply ordered Spaghetti with pesto. Although all distinct and delicious in their own sense, my risotto was by far the best, and both my brother and mom agreed. The creamy, thick parmesan sauce of the risotto was so rich, I had trouble finishing it all. Luckily, my family was more than willing to help out. Although extremely full from our entrees, we all decided to split one dessert, and ordered per suggestion of our waiter, the Tiramusi. It, just like everything else was absolutely wonderful, stacked high with light whipped cream that complimented the coffee flavoring perfectly, the dessert was a great  ending to an already memorable meal.

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