Jun 13, 2012

Da Delfina

Last week, in celebration of my boyfriend Nicco’s birthday, we went out to a special dinner at an exceptional restaurant. Da Delfina is unique for multiple reasons – it’s difficult to determine where to even begin.

[Da Delfina]
The food is traditional Tuscan cuisine, cooked to perfection, served with style and surrounded by spectacular scenery.

The location is in the hills of Prato, just outside of Florence, in a charming medieval village called Artimino. The restaurant is frequented by Italians (so you know the food is good) and tourists (many of whom are American), despite the fact that it’s off the beaten path of travelers (so you know it’s worth the extra effort to get there).

[The view from the parking lot. The villa in the background to the right is 
of the Medici family and was built in 1596. It is also referred to as 
the "Villa of the hundred chimneys" because quite literally, it has 100 chimneys]
[Steps up to the restaurant]
[Entering onto the terrace]
The restaurant was originally founded by Delfina Cioni, who used to cook for hungry hunters in the area and is now owned and operated by her son, Carlo Cioni. Carlo is friendly and welcoming and despite the restaurant’s success, Carlo still modestly refers to himself as just a farmer. He never hesitates to share his infinite knowledge in the art of food-making to an interested listener. 

The wait staff is attentive, prompt and personable. Primo, the head server, is fluent in multiple languages and effortlessly makes you feel comfortable.

[Just a fraction of the incredible views]

The cooking staff is phenomenal of course. The pictures illustrate their skills better than my words ever could. My personal bias here and which made the night all the more special, is that one of the top chef’s is Nicco’s brother, Fabio. He’s been with the restaurant for five years, initially making the appetizers and eventually working his way up to preparing the primi piatti (pastas) and ultimately the secondi piatti (meat dishes). He is an incredible cook and it’s nice to see his face popping up in the kitchen throughout the meal. (He’s also nice to have around for family dinners). 

Here's a glimpse at what we ate:

[Spinach with a bean sauce and crostini]
[Asparagus with a bean sauce and diced tomatoes]
[Crostini misti (mixed)]
[Red wine from the area]

[Chicken with potatoes and fried vegetables]

Just as our main dishes were served, fireworks started going off in front of the Medici villa. I'll pretend they were a part of the original plan.

It wasn't our intent to order dessert as food babies had made their presence known, but Fabio surprised Nicco with this beautiful yogurt cake that was ah-mazing. How could we possibly say no?! Totally wasn't a option.

If you're ever in the area, give Da Delfina a taste! And call me beforehand so I can come with.

Via della Chiesa 1, 
Artimino, 59015

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