Borgo San Jacopo

Borgo San Jacopo, 62, Florence, 50125, Italy

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This restaurant has a riverside location in the Lungarno hotel, near the Ponte Vecchio. The dining room looks out over the river Arno and the famous mediaeval bridge with its jewelry shops. The establishment opened in May 2004. Executive chef Peter Brunel once worked at Villa Negri in Riva del Garda, where he was awarded a Michelin star in 2003.

There were tasting menus at €90 and €115 as well as a full a la carte choice. The restaurant had an extensive wine list with over 500 labels. Example bottles were Dievole Novocento 2010 at €55 for a wine that you can find in the high street for €23, Sesti Brunello di Montalcino 2007 at €90 compared to a retail price of €68, and Antinori Tignanello 2011 at €120 for a wine that you can find in a shop for €81.

 A trio of nibbles began the meal. Beef tartare needed more seasoning, raw shrimps with vegetable powder was decent, and squid ink crisps topped with smoked mayonnaise were pleasant (13/20). A starter of vegetables was attractively presented as a little ornamental garden with both raw and cooked vegetables embedded within it. There were radishes, turnips, tomatoes, asparagus, sweet corn, carrot, potato, gourds, enoki mushrooms and even a Brussels sprout. The quality was reasonable, but the asparagus was overcooked and the sprout undercooked, so it was something of a triumph of form over substance, though a honey dressing was quite nice (13/20).  Better were scallops served on a warm rock and covered in lardo, with a separate plate of asparagus, pea mousse and leaves. The shellfish were sweet and tender, and the peas had good flavour (14/20).

Black cod with potato mousse and black olives was rather disappointing, the cod cooked all right but the accompaniments rather bland (12/20). Better was wild boar ravioli with breadcrumbs and a pork jus. The pasta was tender, the boar had good flavour and the seasoning was accurate (14/20).

For dessert, hazelnut ice cream and biscotti came with passion fruit cremeux. The hazelnuts tasted fresh, the passion fruit was fine and the ice cream had nice texture (14/20). Coffee was pleasant, as well it might be at €7, offered with a selection of chocolates.

The service was good, with friendly staff. The bill came to €160 (£118) per head, with a starter, pasta and dessert, no pre-dinner drinks but a nice bottle of wine. If you shared a modest wine and had a main course then a typical bill per head would be around £100. To be honest this was just too expensive for the level of food that appeared, river view or no river view.

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