Italian Flair at its Finest at Caffe dell'Oro, Florence

Surprising moments are not far and few in between at Caffé dell'Oro, a Michelin recommended restaurant overlooking the Ponte Vecchio in Florence. Being a hotel restaurant from the Ferragamo family's Lungarno Collection, it is no wonder that a little bit of oomph is ever-present in every dish. The button-down, elegant service takes you to a different world away from the hustle and bustle of tourist laden central Florence.

Opening up our appetite was a sparkling glass of prosecco that was followed by the most unique cheese caprese and fiod di latte - fresh cheese made out of Italian mozzarella- stracciatella in a bubble as big as my palm! It didn't burst with a firecracker sound as I expected, but it is definitely something to write home about. Who could forget a dish (below) that was obviously prepared with care and that definitely woke up my weary, hungry soul the entire night.  

Italian cheese in the most enviable presentation. 
The multi-colored Oro quinoa salad and the citrus cuttlefish and asparagus salad are the must-try's for those who want a lighter dish besides from the regular pasta and pizza that proliferate the city. I believe these appetizers are also quintessential Italian bistro food- healthy and very tasty. However, I felt that the quantity of the appetizers per dish is better meant to be shared with a loved one. I was able to do this with my eating buddy, who happens to be a patisserie chef, so sharing some food notes with her made this food writing excursion a breeze.

edible flowers
Oro salad with vegetables.
Light and refreshing - cuttlefish with fennel and citrus fruits.
We paired our main and second entrees, boasting Tuscan and Mediterranean cuisines, with a glass of crisp, white Sauvignon Winkl Italian wine. The two entrees worth noting are the saffron risotto topped with edible gold - why not since this is all about Italian flair after all! - and the seafood tomato casserole, a more sophisticated version of a fish soup. I was forewarned that because Florence is not a coastal town, fresh seafood is not a specialty, but the casserole, which came in piping hot in a mini cast iron pot, didn't disappoint.

Rice with saffron and pure gold.
Spaghetti with mussels, clams, cherry tomatoes and mullet roe. 
Seabass with taggiasche olives and green asparagus.
Casserole: Octopus, shrimps, tomato, turnip and zucchini.
Take Your Pick
The dessert menu has something for everyone. Deciding whether we wanted to try a classic Italian, gelato or lighter dessert was a difficult feat, so we ended up ordering three.

Another revelation is their Bottura version of the tiramisu. Aptly named after Chef Massimo Bottura who garnered the award for top restaurant of the world for Osteria Francescana in Modena, the Bottura tiramisu is topped with fleur de sel. Freshly brewed coffee is later poured in the mid-section, giving it a sweet and salty flavor. This definitely does not warrant another cup of espresso.

A dreamy peach melba with gelato satisfied my gelato-every-meal goal in Italy, while the healthier bowl of red berries made my guilt of indulging disappear.

Can you spot the fleur de sel?
Peach melba with fresh peaches.
Red berry salad with rosehip infusion. 

Finest Five Star Property in the World

Our Italian flair experience did not end at Caffe dell'Oro thanks to the adjacent Portrait Firenze hotel staff. We were able to view the penthouse suite, overlooking the Arno River adorned by night lights. The two-bedroom suite that can house about six adults has some antiques and trinkets from the historical Ferragamo family, and best of all, it has a bathtub as a centerpiece. Unsurprisingly, Portrait Firenze was awarded as Forbes Travel Guide's One of the Finest 5-Star Properties in the World 2017. I do hope that one of these days, I too would be able to experience first-hand the Lungarno Collection hospitality.

More penthouse pics for your eyes to indulge in. Til we meet again!

Penthouse suite at Portrait Firenze.
I could sleep here like a baby :)
Bathtub #1.
The expansive terrace. 
Sophistication is the theme of this hotel.
Bathtub #2. The bathtub centerpiece! I LOVE!
Living room set-up.
Many thanks to Ling for showing us the penthouse.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary dining experience at Caffe dell'Oro in exchange for this honest, fun write-up.

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