The Oltrarno teems with delight and the Michelin Guide has noticed, pointing out this rustic-chic restaurant in its 2018 Guide. Il Santo Bevitore (The Holy Drinker, TN) is the original stock of a family that has two other branches: the tavern, Il Santino and the baker/gourmet grocery S. Forno Panificio – all places united by the same vision and aesthetic.
Inside, the restaurant has a sober elegance given by the dark wood furnishings of a half-walled nobility wall paneling, and the classic cross-vault typical of so many local places in the city, that never fails to impress, especially if you are visiting. The young, but extremely attentive staff makes the service quick and precise.
Il Santo Bevitore celebrates the Tuscan regional cuisine, giving a refreshing twist to the typical tavern dishes through new interpretations of the recipes, which are brought to more modern and original horizons. The best way to begin any meal in a place like this is definitely to try the cheeses and cold cults. Among all, the pecorino are a must- either the Pienza classic or the one with truffles.
The menu proceeds with a selection of soups, the most original of them being the one with pink chickpeas, calamari and bottarga, and the green gazpacho with buffalo and marinated anchovies. The list of first courses takes place in the name of a refined simplicity, with flavors of the sea or traditional cheeses that combine vegetables and aromatic herbs. This is a clear testimony of the creativity that animates the kitchen.
In the subject of the chef’s specialties, however, there are the strong dishes: the evolution of the tuna salad, beans and onions become a refined dish in which the tuna is marinated, the borlotti beans take on a creamy consistency, the onion is that red wine from Tropea and a light layer of dill mayonnaise that covers everything. Other excellent surprises reserve the game: the larded rabbit and the stuffed partridge are superb.
Much of the menu content includes the fish as a co-star. And here comes the famous drunken octopus, served with lemon lentils and green beans, or the roasted grouper or other crudités of rock fish with zucchini, bisque and black garlic sauce. There are also salads and excellent desserts to end your meal.
When you have finished (and if you have looted the menu as we know you will do) you will realize two things. The first: you ate like you have not eaten in years. The second: you will have to go back to Il Santo Bevitore whenever you can.