Rating: 8 / 10
Never in a million years did I think bittermansguide would be dropping 8's on a Szechuan restaurant in Florence, but this just teaches you again to never judge a book by it's cover. I had made a late dash for a take-away chilli beef the day prior, catching the chefs just before their 3pm relaxation period. I foolishly told the guy to make it spicy, and he didn't ignore me.
I wept back in my hotel room, eating dynamite hot authentic szechuan food, tongue burning, lips like napalm and tears flooding like a crack in hoover dam. Two nights later I returned with a bunch of local friends who had never heard of the spot, nerves jolting inside making me doubt my own tastebuds.
We ordered far too much food, but suprisingly nothing was left when we finished. Gasps and oohs and aahs emanated from around the table, and silence rode it's pale horse around us.
Every dish was packed with flavour, spices, herbs, succulent meats, crisp vegetables, oily but downright brilliant. Not a single plate was bad or even mediocre.
I don't know what alchemy goes on behind the kitchen door, but this was some of the best Chinese food I have eaten outside of China, and better than a lot I ate IN China. We reserved a table right from opening and were surrounded by tables of Chinese families gorging in happy song. As we left, ushered out by the waiter who was nervously wanting to flip the tables, we saw a crowd outside all whetting their appetites for what was to come.
No wonder the waiter was in such a hurry for us to leave, they don't make money off idle conversation.
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.
"Tastes are subjective, so take everything with a pinch of salty tears"