Italy is famous for its culinary delights. And Florence, in particular, is famous for its beef-steak.
The famous Florentine steak is known by many names:
- Bistecca alla Fiorentina
- Florentine Beef Steak
- Bistecca Fiorentina
- Florentine Steak
For an authentic taste of the real Florentine
But what makes it so special?
Read on to discover all you need to know!
T-Bone or Porterhouse? – Getting the Right Cut
A good Bistecca
But the Fiorentina doesn’t have to contain the fillet. You can have a
Once cut, the steak is actually a T-bone steak, or a Porterhouse when it has the fillet and sirloin.
But what makes the difference is the breed of the cow, the thickness, the cooking style, and the way it’s served…
The Florentine Steak is 2 inches Thick (At Least)
According to the ‘Accademia
A good Florentine Steak is not less than 2 inches (5 cm) thick, or 3 – 4 fingers, as the Florentines use to measure. A steak this thick will be around 1 – 1.2 kilos – that’s over two and half pounds!
Don’t worry though! Traditionally a Fiorentina steak is supposed to be shared with at least 2 people. And remember to leave space for the starter, sides and dessert! More on that later…
Cook the Steak at a Really High Temperature – But only for 5 minutes
It’s got to be hot! Traditionally the Florentine Steak was cooked over Oakwood embers, but these days thanks to health and safety and top-notch cooking equipment, grill pans or griddles can be used, usually around 550 °F
Place your steak on the searing hot pan to singe to seal in the flavors and get the signature grill marks
But not for too long as we’ll see next…
The Only Way to Eat a Florentine Steak: Rare
And that means, bloody:
As a general rule, a Bistecca
After cooking, the meat should rest for around 10 minutes, so the juices redistribute, before being cut into slices using a smooth blade knife and served.
Florentines never, ever eat a
Take a look at the video for a taster (pun intended) and try your hand at cooking your own Florentine Steak in our unique cooking experience!
Simple Seasoning is the Key to the Best Steak…
Some leave the Florentine Steak in a warm oven to rest, instead of beside the grill, but other very hungry revolutionaries go straight to the point and eat it right away!
Either way, it’s important to note that no sauce goes on top of the
The best salt to use is an incredibly tasty salt from the marble vats of Collonata – a little town nestled amongst the peaks of the Carrara marble mines in Tuscany where the marvelous ‘Lardo di Collonata’ comes from.
….that said, a little pepper and Extra Virgin olive oil wouldn’t go amiss either! Some might even add rosemary or a squeeze of fresh lemon.
But it wasn’t always this way according to Pellegrino Artusi…
Traveling around Italy, you might start to notice the food in Rome is very different
200 years after the unification of Italy, in 1891, Pellegrino Artusi, an elderly former businessman, published a book about the regional cuisines of Italy called ‘La
The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well
Here’s what Artusi says about our Florentine Steak:
So for starters, the meat is much thinner in his words, at only 1 – 1.5 fingers! But then…he adds butter to the mix! Take a look at his recipe for the ultimate Florentine Steak Experience:
“Set it to cook over hot coals just as it came from the animal, or, at the most, wash it and pat it dry. Turn it several times, season it with salt and pepper when it’s done, and serve it topped with a piece of butter. The steak shouldn’t be
These days, butter on your steak would be considered blasphemy and a drizzle of olive oil quite acceptable. So be careful what you ask for, but at least now you can always reference our friend Artusi when asking for your steak!
The Best Steak Comes From Chianina Cows
A true Florentine steak must come from the big, white, free-range Chianina breed of cow.
The animal has to be between 15 and 18 months and the meat needs to age for some days in a refrigerated room – times vary from a week to more than 30 days – before being ready for the grill.
The Chianina breed remains still nowadays a peculiarity of central Italy – mainly Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio – and it is very hard to recreate the particular environment she needs to grow up healthily in the rest of the country.
Cannellini Beans is the Side Dish – Not fries!
Sorry, we know you were secretly hoping for some crispy fries with that but not in Florence!
The top traditional sides to your Bistecca Fiorentina are:
- Cannellini beans with a swirl of extra virgin olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Roast potatoes – you won’t find any French fries here!
- Fresh salad: a “
scoltellato” – a salad prepared with Tuscan wild greens typical of the region
- A good Chianti wine – don’t forget a glass of the region’s great red wine
Where did the Florentine Steak come from? You can thank Saint Lorenzo…
Florence’s history is dripping with good stories. And the good stories usually go back centuries to the Renaissance and the most famous Florentine family: the Medici family.
The story of the celebrated Florentine beefsteak also goes back to the 16th century and the festival night of San Lorenzo (Saint Lawrence) who became more important in Florence due to his famous namesake Lorenzo de’ Medici, known as Lorenzo The Magnificent.
On August 10th, Italians celebrate the festival of San Lorenzo by going out to watch for shooting stars. These symbolize, for some, the tears of the martyr, and for others, the sparks of the fire on the
According to this latter version of the story this is how San Lorenzo became the patron saint of cooks!
So what better way to celebrate this “roasted” Saint than setting up a big grill in front of his namesake Church and serving the Florentines free roasted meat?!
Legend has it that a group of English merchants approached the crowd waiting for their piece of meat and when they saw and smelled the delicious beefsteaks roasting on the grill they shouted “Beefsteak! Beefsteak!” in order to get a piece for themselves too.
Since the plate didn’t have its own name yet, somebody started to use the word that the English men were shouting but… the “
We know, it’s funny, but that’s the story of the birth of the infamous Bistecca
…So that’s it!
Congratulations! Now know everything you need to know about the Florentine Steak, it’s time to try for yourself!
Chin Chin! (Italian for ‘Cheers!)
“To Beef or Not To Beef-That is the Question”
Our Top 5 Restaurants for a Bistecca in Florence:
If you don’t get the chance to try our ultimate Florentine Steak Experience™, where you can cook your own delicious steak, then here’s our list of the best spots to get a good Bistecca
- TRATTORIA SERGIO GOZZI: in the very center of the city, this restaurant is a real authority in the market neighborhood of San Lorenzo – so really back to the roots of the
bistecca allaFiorentina! – serving locals since 1915! Open only for lunch and closed on Sunday this restaurant is really like going back in time and eating with your Florentine grandmother. Prices are incredibly fair for the high quality of the food served!
- OSTERIA DI GIOVANNI: this is the restaurant opened by Giovanni Latini – the son of the owner of one of the most famous restaurants for a good
bisteccain town – and his American wife Carole with the help of their two daughters this restaurant based on true Tuscan kitchen with a fusion touch is becoming ever more the favorite destination for Florentines looking for a good bistecca. The restaurant is very near to the shopping area of Via Tornabuoni and Via della Vigna Nuova and could be a good way to rest your feet and get some energy at the end of a shopping day!
- OSTERIA BADALÌ: recently opened in the relaxing neighborhood of S. Niccolò, this restaurant
haveboth an experienced chef and a real wood grill. It’s a win-win. The list of wine is very curated too and the food authentically traditional but served in a modern environment. Very appreciated also by locals, so totally recommended.
- BBQ: homestyle
tuscankitchen and everything grilled on a wood fire, in this little restaurant at the border of the coolest neighborhood of S.Frediano but out of the crazy crowd. They, too, have a very good wine list almost 100% local with organic options too. Easygoing but very curated!
The Top Restaurants out of Florence
Dario’s butcher shop in the pretty hilltop town in Chiant called Panzano in Chianti
ANTICA MACELLERIA CECCHINI
Via XX Luglio, 11
50022 Panzano in Chianti (Fi)
tel. +39 055 852020
fax +39 055 852700
open every day: 9.00 am – 4.00 pm
Bone-in steaks must be reserved two days in advance
Dario’ s Restaurant
tel: +39 055852020
Every day lunch at 1.00 pm and 1:30 pm
Every day dinner at 7.00 pm, 8.00 pm and 9.00 pm
Dario’s other restaurant
OFFICINA DELLA BISTECCA
tel: +39 055 852020
Every day lunch at 1.00 pm and 1:30 pm
Every day dinner at 8.00 pm and 8:30 pm
Another one of Dario’s great restaurants
Tel: +39 055 85202
Monday – Saturday:
Sundays, pre-holidays and holidays: closed
12.00 pm – 3.00 pm
We seat on a first-come-first-serve basis.