Arnolfo (**) – Tuscany

Food: modern cuisine based on local, organic products
Address: via XX Settembre n 50 – 53034 Colle di Val d’Elsa – Siena – Italy
Phone Number: +39 0577 920549
Website: www.arnolfo.com
Guide Michelin: 2 stars
What I paid: 160 € (tasting menu per person, excluding wine, water and coffee)
Visited: October 27, 2017

Colle di Val d’Elsa is a charismatic Medieval town that makes a good stop-over if you are visiting the much more famous Siena or close by San Gimignano. The small town is foremost known for its crystal glass production, but it also offers a Medieval atmosphere and great views of Tuscany. Our visit was foremost for the Arnolfo restaurant, that has taking its name from the local architect and sculptor Arnolfo di Cambio.

Colle di Val d’Elsa has two parts:

  1. the (old) historical center, located on the top of the hill and
  2. the newer part (below the old one)

 

The two Sicilian native brothers Giovanni and Gaetano started restaurant Arnolfo in 1982 in the old historic part of Colle di Val’Elsa. The restaurant itself is located in a Medivial house from 1600 and houses a roof terrace and two dining rooms where the main one offers a great view over the Tuscan landscape (it also has two private dining rooms).

Head chef, Gaetano Trovato, takes pride in supporting a new farming mission, developing in his region. He sources ingredients from a new generation of local, environmentally friendly farmers. Trovato encourages them not only to grow specific organic products, but also to prioritize taste and quality.

Brother Giovanni is the sommelier and the cellar has quite a lot of interesting wines and that not only from Tuscany.

The food served is a modern cuisine based on local, organic products and there are several menu alternatives with different profiles. Usually they are named Contemporary Evolutions, Vegetable architectures and Essence of the Land but all of those menus are also following the different seasons. Consequently, if you go there and it is the same name of the menu, but in a different season (or for that matter a different year…) it will for sure have changed.

We opted for the Contemporary Evolutions (Autumn 017) menu:

Amuse-bouches:

Some tasty amusements started the dinner…

Amuse-bouche

Amuse-bouche

Amuse-bouche

Amuse-bouche

Amuse-bouche

Langoustine, goose liver, smoked endive, passion fruit:

Langoustine, goose liver, smoked endive, passion fruit

The first “official” dish on the menu and goose liver and the passion fruit was a really good match with the Langoustine. Top notch!

Scallops, avocado, hazelnut oil, ginger:

Scallops, avocado, hazelnut oil, ginger

Even the second dish on the menu delivered!

Ravioli fresh pasta, red mullet, clams, saffron:

Ravioli fresh pasta, red mullet, clams, saffron

Yet another tasty dish with clean and good flavor combinations.

Blue lobster, Mountain potatoes, fish broth, finger-lime:

Blue lobster, Mountain potatoes, fish broth, finger-lime

Very tasty!

Turbot, cauliflower, vanilla Bourbon, crispy red onions:

Turbot, cauliflower, vanilla Bourbon, crispy red onions

Good!

Granny Smith apples, Calvados, cardamom:

Granny Smith apples, Calvados, cardamom:

Yet another good dish, this time the first dessert!

Cake, exotic fruit, praline, roasted almonds:

Cake, exotic fruit, praline, roasted almonds

Good; again…

Petit fours:

Petit fours:

In summary: I was very happy with my dinner here with good flavor combos and high quality products. In my book, it beats most (but not all) of the 3-stars in Italy (and I have eaten on all of them). Tons better than the dinner we had the previous night at the 3-stars Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence.

The food served at Arnolfo expresses a number of influences; both Gaetano’s training in some of the best kitchens across Europe, but also from influences closer to home. Sicilian flavors make a presence, where the chef was born, while his 30+ years in Tuscany have resulted in a strong relationship with local farmers and suppliers in the neighborhood.

Highly recommended!

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