Il Palagio, Four Seasons, Florence

Refined and ravishing, the Four Seasons Florence is perhaps the most dazzling of the Four Seasons properties I have visited. Before entering Il Palagio, the Michelin-starred hotel restaurant, we had time to take a peek at the palatial central courtyard and the luscious flower-filled gardens.

The resplendent dining room was empty when we sat down for an early dinner but soon filled up with couples celebrating special occasions. Lilac roses adorned the tables, chandeliers hung from the ceiling, and impressive paintings covered the walls.

Upon settling down at our table, we were presented with glasses of Ca’del Bosco, a lovely bubbly from Erbusco, which served as the perfect aperitivo.

Iberico de Bellota ham Joselito ‘Gran Reserva’ was an unconventional choice in a top Italian restaurant but we couldn’t resist trying a plate of this superior cured meat. It didn’t disappoint, presented with wonderfully ripe green figs.

‘Bollito’ beef salad with frisée and roasted peppers cream was a very authentic and traditional recipe, made from slow-cooked beef. The meat was richly flavoured and paired with a light red pepper dressing, it didn’t look particularly appetising but it tasted divine.

Ravioli is my all time favourite dish and on Italian menus it is what I look for first. After discovering a delicious ravioli option on the Il Palagio menu, I didn’t even need to look at the rest of the pasta list – my mind was made up. Ricotta cheese and zucchini raviolini with tomato sauce was exquisite, so fresh, completely homemade, with lightly grilled courgette flowers and basil – it makes me salivate to remember it now.

My guest, a seafood fan, chose the Cavatelli pasta ’cacio e pepe’ with marinated red prawns and baby squid. A pale and pretty bowl of aromatic pasta covered in the most addictive, creamy sauce. The seafood was ultra-fresh and a lovely addition.

Roasted ‘Cinta Senese’ suckling pig with apple crème, glazed pig trotters,braised onion and black cabbage was the ideal meat option. A pretty layout of different ingredients and components on the plate, every mouthful was a delight. The meat was tender and delicious, covered in a smooth, sweet gravy. We managed to scrap the plate clean even after our big bowls of pasta.

After a petite course of the finest soft and hard cheeses and a sweet amuse-bouche of sorbet and melon it was time for desserts. Pudding was the least exciting course, slightly forgettable hazulnut and cream cake and a chocolate cylinder with a caramel sauce. Macarons, limoncello and coffee completed the Michelin starred meal.

A truly elegant hotel, a beautiful dining room and a kitchen producing excellent food, Il Palagio is hard to fault, a real Florentine masterpiece.

More information and book here.

Many thanks to Firenze Cards and the Florence Tourist board for their help with this trip.

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