cibleo - florence, italy
Rating: 8 / 10
To the people who turn their nose up at those who explore "alternative" food whilst in a famous food city, well, sadly you are missing out on a treasure trove.
It took three attempts to dine at Cibleo. Confounded at first by the apparent autocorrect that kept directing me towards "Cibreo" until I finally found it too late in the afternoon as they were about to close. I then tried to go in the evening but they only offered tasting menus, so I took the opportunity to reserve a table for two for lunchtime the day after.
Sometimes obstacles are hiding miracles.
After the waiter cleared up the confusion between "Cibreo" and "Cibleo" (yes, there were sinister undertones), I took my seat in direct sunlight and ordered a sharing starter of Gyoza followed by their duck breast Udon.
The Gyoza arrived as perfect as you could hope for. Plump, crisp on one side and perfectly moist on the insides. They were seasoned to the T and set up the palate for what came next.
Balanced expertly the two bowls of Udon landed at the table like a taste sensation flying saucer. The gloss of the clear broth, the decadent pink of the duck breast, the hidden surprise of mushrooms, spinach and eggplant lying beneath all culminated in the perfect balanced lunch. To shy away from the Tuscan food for a brief respite and revel in the depths of a bowl of noodles is a worthy pursuit, and Cibleo is your dealer.
The only reason this isn't awarded top marks is because the service can be a tiny bit distracted and the prices, tho not expensive, are on the dearer side for the portion sizes (15 Eur for Gyoza is a bit extreme). However, it's quality ingredients made in a dedicated fashion, so you can happily splurge and try it.
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
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"Tastes are subjective, so take everything with a pinch of salty tears"