New Restaurant: Il Locale, Florence Italy
LOCALE∞ is Florence’s latest restaurant, opened last month, in the historic city ceter. Located in Via delle Seggiole, between the Duomo, Palazzo Vecchio and Santa Croce, a few steps from the Museum of Bargello and the Casa di Dante Alighieri, the prestigious building was once part of the Palazzo delle Seggiole, first constructed during the Italian Renaissance.
Locale’s modern take on traditional cuisine and expert blending of contemporary design within its fifteenth century interiors together offers diners a unique culinary experience. Interiors designer, James Short, takes patrons back to the Medici court of the Grand Duke Cosimo I creating a place for commune and conversation while 28 year-old chef Fabio Silla’s Italian culinary menu touches upon Tuscany’s vast region with dishes modernized through his ideas, inspirations and culinary technique.
Upon entry patrons are plunged into a modern-day palazzo that recalls the luxury of the internal gardens during the Italian Renaissance. The large entrance opens with the sight of a jardin d’hiver, a modern vertical garden made from plants that scale the walls up to a thermal glass skylight.
The central bar is the main attraction finished in black zinc, centered in the garden, the bar design recalls the cocktail lounges in paris from the late 70s.
Interior furnishings are kept minimal in a palette of gray and black. The deep palette co-exists well with the original walls and flooring which were carefully refurbished to maintain their integrity.
The ground floor dining space is outfit with bistro style chairs and tables surrounded by floor to ceiling shelves filled with wine, interspersed with large refrigerated cellars for champagne and white wine and highlighted by LED lightening. The dining room feature a 16th century tiled stove with the coat of arms of the Medici and Concini family and original stucco and frescoes line the ceiling.
The atmosphere details include decoupage walls, tapestries of velvet damask and allucciolati, columns in sandstone, large bell-shaped lumiere tables, original antique chandeliers in Murano glass and Onofrio Pepe statues. The furnishings and tapestries are elegant but not décontracté which furthers the modern dining experience.
A stone staircase descends to the second floor that leads patrons to a new point in history. The stairs whose origins are traced back to the middle ages feature a vaulted-tunnel one can image lit by torches which bend around a corridor and opens to a vast and spartan space with large communal tables, robust leather chairs, tapestries and a massive geometric counter.
The 13th century space includes the original wall plaster as a backdrop. Meant for large dinner parties, diners are serviced in a medieval manner which includes wine served exclusively in magnum bottles. The ancient kitchen hosts a monolithic fireplace, a stone sink and bears the octagonal cross of the Knights of the Holy Spirit.
The kitchen is ruled by Fabio Silla. The twenty-eight year old former sous-chef of Villa San Michele in Fiesole is the “helmsman” of this LOCALE∞. The young chef designed a menu focused on ‘Land and Sea’. Many of the dishes offer a modern take on traditional Italian cuisine.
Designed around the chef’s specialty in meat, dishes primarily explore the Tuscan area. The Chianina beef, treated through an ancient meat process in Cesa, a province of Arezzo, is presented as an appetizing tartare, as well as “salted meats” which hail from the province of Trentino.
Other items include beef Carpaccio, chops and sirloin steaks, veal tongue and veal for scottona (stuffed, grilled veal rolls) which allow customers to better appreciate the different textures and different flavors. Also included on the menu is a modern-take on “planciata”, pot belly, served as a tender and crispy appetizer in the lounge and dining area. Other meats include rack of suckling pig, duck and pigeon served with risotto and Mugello sirloin lamb.
As mentioned the chef focused on Land and Sea. Seafood dishes include shrimp and seared tuna tartare, spaghetti with squid, risotto with clams, and Livorno style fish dishes made from sea bass and amberjack.
Locale a Firenzi
Via delle Seggiole 12 Firenze.
Telephone: +39 055 9067188
Hours: 7:30 – Midnight