Inside the historic Four Seasons Firenze, taste the sophisticated blend of classic Italian dishes and seasoned creativity by Chef Vito Mollica.
If you ask any local, or Italian enthusiast for the best place to eat in Florence, the answers will vary between hidden kitchens and places to find the best bistecca Fiorentina or ribollita. But ask them where to find true Italian fine dining; dishes that have the familiar flavors of Italy yet with refinement that comes from years of experiments and passion. Well the answer was unanimous… visit Michelin starred Il Palagio at the Four Seasons Hotel.
With reservations at 9:00PM, we made sure to arrive a few minutes early to walk around the hotel and marvel at the architecture and decadence of a time long gone. The hotel is full of unique art and historical highlights that lend a little insight into complex Florentine culture. Or of course you can just arrive early to grab a drink at Atrium Bar, which is a spot in itself.
As we were guided to our table at Il Palagio, our eyes couldn’t help but widen at the vivid detail and decoration that characterizes the restaurant. The ambiance of the restaurant is refined and elegant (totally classic Italian), yet somewhere behind the marble, wall tapestries, and oversized chandeliers, we found ourselves in a modern space, with a mixture of fashionistas, jetsetters, locals, and plenty of lovers. Our table was romantic and quiet and the only light was a flickering candle and the sounds we heard was the fizz of chilled prosecco being poured in our glasses.
Executive Chef Vito Mollica is a down-to-earth, deliciously fantastic chef. He is a legend within the Four Seasons brand, with culinary experience in both the Milan and Prague hotels. With a passion for the highest quality ingredients and local producers, Chef Vito feels at home in Florence, and Il Palagio thrives under his watch.
Chef Vito won Best Chef of the Year by Italian dining guide Il Sole 24 Ore, for his unique creations that value the traditional flavors of great Italian cuisine. In a deep Italian accent, he expertly explained his menu to us and his passion was contagious as he spoke. I knew we were going to have an incredible Italian dinner before we even tasted our first bite.
As with any fine dining experience, we strongly recommend going with the chef’s tasting menu and wine pairing. This way you know you’ll taste the most notable dishes while enjoying unbeatable wine selections that you would have otherwise never ordered.
After our first sips of prosecco, started the perfect sequence for various dishes. We had everything from lentil puree with blackened cabbage and prawns to the best cacio e pepe, I’ve ever had. Chef’s cavatelli cacio e pepe is award wining and with good reasons. It’s served with generous bites of lobster and baby squid (which melts in your mouth) and the strong flavors of pecorino romano cheese just linger in your mouth. It’s re-imagined and different, yet those flavors of cheese and tender bits of seafood are so perfect together, it leaves you wanting more! I had to ask Chef Vito how he made his sauce so creamy and delicious, because mine always ends up a stringy mess! His response - buy the best cheese and transfer your pasta to a heated dish before you add the cheese, never mix in the pot you boiled the water! Duh!
Some of our other favorites, was the creamy asparagus risotto, served with morels and fresh Italian cheese, an ode to the seasonal Springtime ingredients available. The lobster salad was also deliciously reinterpreted, flaunting the inherent creativity of the menu—a savory sauce complemented the richness of fresh lobster perfectly. The cuisine at Il Palagio is a necessary indulgence, paired with a wine menu that would be hard to beat. The restaurant offers over 400 wines, with 50 by the glass. Plus, an extra bonus: they have a vegetarian tasting menu!
You will leave Il Palagio happily bewildered at the culinary leaps and bounds made by this restaurant and ready for bed! Your tastebuds will be happy, your camera will be loaded with great foodie pics and you will have enjoyed every moment! The menu is very rich, so pace yourself and maybe order a salad for lunch! Every bite of the seasonal, local, and innovative menu is an insight into classic Italian culture, making Il Palagio a necessary stop on your Italian adventure.
For more information about Il Palagio, visit their website: