There are many “buche” (in Italian, holes TN) in Florence: former cellars, storerooms or dungeons that have become restaurants with a characteristic vaulted ceiling, close to the most famous historical sites and specialized in the great dishes of Tuscan tradition. The buca we are talking about here is the oldest restaurant in Florence. Buca Lapi was built over one hundred and thirty years ago, in the cellars of one of the most magnificent examples of Renaissance architecture in the city: Palazzo Antinori.
A century and more of history during which the passion for food, the knowledge of the best raw ingredients, the culinary art of the chefs have expanded, changed and enriched. Neither the restaurant or its kitchen seem weighed down by the years: indeed, when you enter at Buca Lapi nothing seems changed, the quality of the restaurant is still guaranteed. The bon ton is impeccable and every dinner takes place exactly like in the old times.
The atmosphere inside is that of a classic Tuscan trattoria. Buca Lapi, however, has something special in its main hall, with trompe-l’oeil frescoes on the walls, lampshades scribbled by tourists who wanted to leave their mark and the wide cross vaults with exposed arches covered with posters and advertisements of times past. Next to the entrance staircase is the open kitchen, with its white tiles and large, juicy cuts of meat just waiting for the grill.
Waiters in black jackets and white shirts take you to the table with perfect aplomb, but adding the right amount of warmth and courtesy that makes them a delightful company, like guides that lead us on a journey. In this case, the journey is not physical, but sensory: an exploration of the most authentic heart of the real and best side of Tuscany, an exhaustive experience that covers all the territory’s excellences.
Excellence is the goal that Buca aims to achieve through a rich cuisine, full of details and art, expressed primarily by those raw ingredients that are the true protagonists of many dishes on the menu. How could one reiterate the goodness of very simple antipasti, like those scented basil bruschetta garnished with a tomato softer than velvet? Or the beans with oil that accompany the strong dishes and literally melt in your mouth?
Needless to say, the princess of the menu is the Florentine. A steak of impossible tenderness around which is performed a true ritual, with the waiter taking it on a cart to the table, then cutting it with steel knives, revealing the red, soft fibers inside. A hearty dish, no doubt, surrounded by ribs, legs, rabbit and wild boar cuts, shanks and much more.
The meats are the stars of the kitchen, but the rest of the proposals are certainly no less wonderful. Especially with regard to the first dishes that, despite their simplicity, are made with so much skill to be masterpieces and especially with strictly handmade pasta. Two above all: pappardelle with wild boar ragout and pici senesi, both sublime.
To wash everything down, you’ll find a rich wine list. The right pairings with the food will be advised to you with great confidence by the waiters, who besides being very well prepared, cater to you with great speed and discretion, avoiding endless waits or even the smallest negative impression. Everything is based not on empty ceremonies, but on a solid, good practice, honed and embellished in years and years of honorable service. In conclusion, having dinner at Buca Lapi means experiencing the best that Florence has to offer firsthand, without filters, without compromise. Just sit back and let the journey begin.