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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Disappointing At Best ... Undercooked Pasta, Mediocre Service, A Poor Value

Trattoria La Casalinga
Via dei Michelozzi 9R
50125 Florence, Italy
Near Palazzo Pitti
Phone: +39 055 218624
Prices: $$$$

Insalata Caprese
After reading the wonderful reviews on Yelp, including one written recently by a trusted Yelp friend from New Orleans, I was looking forward to a nice lunch in Oltrarno near Chiesa Santo Spirito while in the neighborhood visiting Elizabeth Barrett Browning's former home, Casa Guidi. The last time we ate on this side of the river, we were disappointed at best and, unfortunately, that was also the case on this our second visit. 

We were seated right away, but the waiters were too busy with everyone else in the room and we had to wait ten minutes to be acknowledged. Even then, the waiter was in a hurry, rudely interrupting our questions about the menu to run off to another table. Strike ONE!

Once we finally ordered, our drinks appeared promptly, a bottle of mineral water (€2.50) and a half-liter of vino rosso della casa (house red wine - €4). The water was water and the wine decent and at a very reasonable price for Florence.

We shared an Insalata Caprese (€7.50) which turned out to be a small ball of mozzarella, two small tomatoes cut into sixths, and two basil leaves. It was "OK", but more expensive and not nearly as big or as good as many I have had in Italy in recent months.

I ordered the Ribollita (€6.50), a hearty Tuscan soup made with stale bread, cannellini beans, and vegetables like cabbage, carrots, celery and the like. It was tasty and filling, accompanied by the local unsalted bread which I utilized to mop-up what was left in the bowl. For such a basic dish, what Italians would unassumingly call a "peasants" dish, the price was a tad high and probably should have been in the €4-€5 range.

Tortellini Panna e Prosciutto
My wife had the tortellini panna e prosciutto (€7.50), a not so generous dish of apparently handmade tortellini, bravo, in a cream sauce with pieces of prosciutto crudo. Unfortunately, her tortellini were not close to "al dente" and could have used another minute or two in the boiling water. I have eaten is hundreds of restaurants in Italy and I have never been served either undercooked or overcooked pasta. If a kitchen in Italy cannot cook pasta properly, they have no excuse for being in business. Strike TWO!

When the waiter arrived and asked how our meal was, my wife told him about the pasta, but he seemed to care less. We ordered a piece of tiramisu to share and it was also below average. While waiting for the check, I saw several tables of "locals" being served a complimentary "digestivo" before leaving, usually a local beverage such as grappa or limoncello. But the tourists, my wife and I obviously, were neither offered a digestivo nor an apology for the poorly cooked pasta. After all, we were "just a couple more annoying tourists". Strike THREE ... YOUR OUT!

With the bill coming to €36.50 for a salad, two pasta dishes, one dessert and drinks, including a mandatory €4 service charge, it was not an overly expensive meal, but the bang for the buck just was not there and it was not a good value.

CombatCritic Gives Trattoria La Casalinga 4 Bombs Out Of 10 ... More Bombs Are Better!

Read More Reviews By CombatCritic On Yelp And TripAdvisor ... And Don't Forget To Subscribe To TravelValue TV on YouTube

Title: Disappointing At Best ... Undercooked Pasta, Mediocre Service, A Poor Value

Key Words: Trattoria La Casalinga, trattoria, casalinga, Florence, Oltrarno, Santo Sprito, santo, spirito, Florence, Firenze, Italy, menu, review, travel, value, Yelp, TripAdvisor

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