Via Palazzuolo, 31-red (Santa Maria Novella area)
50123 Florence, Italy
Cento Poveri (which translates to "one hundred poor people") specializes in not only Tuscan food, but serves Mediterranean cuisine. Going on a friend's recommendation, we decided to taste a bit of real Tuscan food.
To reward ourselves of our all day adventure of Florentine sightseeing, we somehow managed to order food beyond our stomach capacity. My husband ordered the "Taste of Tuscany" special, which could have been easily shared for 2 or even 3, but being overindulgent, we also ordered a huge appetizer and another main entree.
As for this Tuscan prix fixe menu for 35 €, it came with an appetizer, pasta, steak, and dessert. Since it was labeled "Taste of Tuscany," we thought it was just that. A taste. Like a tasting menu in the States where the portions are no larger than a closed fist.
But we were wrong. Each "taste" could have been a meal in itself.
First from the prix fixe menu is the Salami Toscani, Formaggi e Miele (Tuscan cured meat with cheese and honey)
I never had salami and cheese with honey. That was very interesting. But I guess that is equivalent to the figs or other fruits to balance the saltiness with the sweetness. We had 4 different salami, each one delivering a slightly different taste. I liked the more mild and less meaty flavor.
Separate from the tasting menu, we also ordered a mixed crostini appetizer that were topped with pâté, cheese, tomatoes and mushrooms and lightly decorated with very spicy arugula. By this time, I was getting a bit full already.
Next on the tasting menu was Pappardelle alla Chiantigiana e Risollita alla Toscana (Broad pasta ribbons, chiantigiana, and Tuscan soup with vegetables and bread). In Italy, pasta is served first (the primi), then once you're done, the meat dish is served (the secondi). Flavors in this meaty pasta was delicious bold but not too intense.
The last "taste" was the Bistecca Alla Fiorentina e Patate Arrosto (Florentine steak and roasted potatoes). It was enormous! Really, I don't know how one person could have finished this meal. The server quickly walked by and told my husband that he had to finish all the food or else he'll be washing dishes in the kitchen. The steak was cooked nicely for medium rare and was pretty juicy.
As for my one and only entree, I ordered Chitarrina allo Scoglio e Pomodorini (fresh pasta with mixed seafood). The portion served here was incredible. Lots of mussels, clams, calamari, and shrimp. The noodles were different than what I had tasted before. They were thicker, but less dense and somehow managed to hold the wine sauce really well.
Everyone knows the saying..."there's always room for dessert." That's not always true, especially after this meal. Here is the Budino di Castagne or chestnut pudding. Okay, we did have some room, but not much. It was like a caramel flan with sprinkled brown sugar on top. Very delicious!!
The restaurant was a bit away from the main central area, still walkable, but maybe take a bus or taxi if your feet is tired from walking all day. We sat in the more quiet, dimly light, rustic side of the restaurant. There was another side that I think serves pizza and was more causal, loud and bright.
I would definitely come back here but definitely share this scrumptious tasting meal with another person. FYI, although we didn't finished everything, we didn't have to wash the dishes.