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  • Piazza di Cestello 8
    50124 Florence
    Palazzo Pitti
  • Phone number +39 05 52645364
  • Business website cestelloristoclub.com

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    • Qype User Chiant…
    • Maidenhead
    • 71 friends
    • 95 reviews
    5.0 star rating


    Standing on the Cestello square facing the south bank of the Arno, the Cestello describes itself as a 'Ristoclub'. A new word to me with my woefully-scant Italian, but Google will drum up a few of these for you, (if not that many). This name might indeed sound pretentious to some (it did to me initially), but the concept does seem apt. The 'risto' prefix goes without saying and the 'club' aspect becomes abundantly clear from the subtle décor, service quality and a few other aspects (read on).

    The website states: "The Cestello Ristoclub is ready to satisfy and spoil guests. Every dish, prepared with excellent ingredients and utmost care towards Mediterranean gastronomy, is the outcome of the highest competences and skills, but its unique character offers a new sensation each time. Every taste almost becomes a special event. Small and large morsels are a continuous surprise, flavours and scents come together in an irresistible symphony."

    Are we getting pretentious again? Well maybe, but I don't think that they can be accused of exercising economy with the truth after our experience there.

    You wander in, where you are welcomed by the bar area and staff. It is easy to describe friendly staff as 'charming' and I often do that. Here, you are give a sort of subdued, discreet yet friendly and sincere welcome. It is pleasingly different and is an aspect that seems to be reflected throughout the place.

    Behind the bar, the tables run along the sides and centre with subdued lighting
    Photo link: i221.photobucket.com/alb…
    and timeless stone/brick walls. and there is a rather more brightly-lit area at the back, which is either for the benefit of the camera-toting visitor or those who like to ogle their food in appropriately well-lit technicolour. Its stylish ambience certainly comes over as being more 'clubby' than 'restaurantish'.
    Photo link: i221.photobucket.com/alb…
    (The photos on the website do better justice than mine do.)

    The attentive waiter  embodying all of the above-mentioned attributes  discreetly asked whether he had had the pleasure of attending to us before (which had in fact been the case in March 2009). Subtleties like that inevitably fall on receptive ears after just one previous visit and suggest that either the staff are indeed highly professional, or that your behaviour on the previous occasion left something to be desired.

    Stage one was of course an aperitivo while studying the menu.

    Then it gets even more interesting.

    To learn more about what is on offer, you are accompanied to their in-house
    Photo link: i221.photobucket.com/alb…
    'fish-market', where they are delighted to explain the delights of the sumptuous and screamingly fresh spread on offer,
    which they will cook according to their recommendations or indeed even to you favourite recipe.

    We decided to share a sea-food platter as a starter and here I discovered a further missing aspect of my local knowledge, which was namely the extent to which raw fish was eaten in Italy. Apart from oysters and various colourful shellfish, the platter included both raw tuna, salmon and if memory serves  another type of raw fish. Breaking with Mediterranean tradition, the seasoning on offer hailed from Japan and included the usual ingredients of 'Wasabi' green horse-radish, soy sauce and vinegar.

    I had let myself be tempted into a fish which I was told was very popular in the south and I was sure I had ever eaten before. Upon recommendation, I had it with a mild delicate sauce which was ideal to let its alarmingly fresh taste come through. Sublime. Having made a special note of this fish for future reference, I was furious to later discover that I had lost that note.

    La contessa comforted herself with a (cooked) lobster and sadly had to enlist my assistance in fully demolishing it; a request which I felt duty-bound to comply with for reasons of politeness towards her and the staff of this establishment.
    Photo link: i221.photobucket.com/alb…
    The dessert we chose was a mixture of fresh fruit and gelato which touched the spot in a big way.

    Naturally, the logical conclusion was limoncello and coffee.

    We did put the boat out" in a big way (if you will excuse the pun) and the financial damage was appropriate, but I should add that on the previous occasion we had consumed less and ended up paying not too much above EUR 100. Some guides list prices per head as being between EUR 30  35.

    I would strongly recommend this experience to any visitor to the Renaissance city. In terms of ambience and cuisine, it is a far cry from the usual hearty Tuscan restaurant and fare, delectable and

  • 3.0 star rating

    The food is unbeatable & worth 5 stars!
    Ambiance & friendliness is spectacular. The prices are as high as the quality of food, which I am happy to pay.

    The 3 stars is for how long it took to get my food.
    I was stopping by after appetizers for a light dinner. I was immediately shown to the "fish market" area where I selected the most beautiful Sicilian prawns - 2 types. & then added a salad & risotto.

    They automatically start you with prosecco, bread & a soup. The salad came quickly & was wonderfully fresh.
    Then I waited 30 mins for my risotto. It was amazing when it came. And I understand that risotto takes a long time so I was patient.
    But then I waited another 30 mins for my 4 grilled prawns on salad greens. Dinner took 1 1/2 almost 2 hrs.
    When I finally politely but firmly complained, they were extremely apologetic & gave me some complementary dishes: seared scallop, fois gras & potato, gelato, & extra wine. But honestly at that point, I didn't want more food, I just wanted to leave.

    I would have been happier if they knocked off something from my bill instead.

    I would go back for the food because it really was that good, and I received many promises that I would get faster service.

    I hope next time, I can give them the 5 stars that the food deserves.

  • 5.0 star rating
    1 check-in

    A local Florentine took me here when I told him that I don't really eat meat but do love fish. I was completely blown away. Cestello Ristoclub is an upscale restaurant with a stylish interior, superior service and brain-meltingly good food. We started with a selection of raw fish and seafood... amazing. This was followed up with a risotto topped with raw red Sicilian shrimp... amazing. The wine was delicious. I absolutely adore this restaurant. Lucky I didn't have to pick up the cheque though!

  • 5.0 star rating

    We had not heard about this place until this year. What fabulously fresh seafood!!! The presentation and service where also excellent (although this is Italy so they take their time). A nice plus - they had great jazz playing all night during dinner. A lovely atmosphere to go with a terrific meal.

  • 5.0 star rating

    Beautiful restaurant. Terrific staff. The best restaurant fish I've had in years. Amazing sourcing by any standards but by far the best fresh fish in Florence.  The restaurant photos do not do it justice.

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