How To Consume Massive Amounts of Food: A Field Guide to Il Latini

Before I boarded my plane to Italy, Rachel Ray and I had a very important discussion (via magazine). She made sure to tell me her favorite Italian restaurants and that two of them were in the very place that I was going to.


So, obviously, I have already been to two of them, and yet the bucket list of restaurants to eat at just continues to get bigger.

Oh well.

Il Latini, she states, is “one of my favorite restaurants in the world.” She also stated, “Not only is the food delicious, but the owner, Torello Lattini, has a gracious zest for life. John and I don’t even order using the menu: Torello brings us some of everything!”

Jared and I actually visited this noted restaurant before he left for Spain. We had decided that it would be our celebratory “last meal.” We found the restaurant down a quaint alley behind a very wealthy portion of the city center. Once we got inside, we were greeted by fresh Proscuitto hanging in the window.

Famous among tourists, the Il Latini was established in 1898 as a wine bar and delicatessen and is described as a “typical Tuscan trattoria.” The cellars date back to 1100s and were recently restored and are available to view (you just need to make sure you ask). In 1966, when Florence experienced a massive flood (of the Arno River), the owner of Il Latini worked to feed those who were unable to provide for themselves, working as a “soup kitchen” to the public.

We were quickly taken to our seat and without handing us a menu, the waiter simply asked, “Would you like to start with the typical Tuscan antipasto?” Jared and I looked at each other, hesitated slightly, and said…well…sure!

We started with (traditional sans salt) Tuscan bread with olive oil and Crostini Neri (Crostini with chicken livers).

Not realizing that we had accepted the challenge to consume a 4 course pre-fixed meal, we dove in head first. Proscuitto Parma and incredibly fresh sliced melon were next (still a part of course #1)

And of course, no antipasti would be complete without a Caprese salad and a bit of farro with olive oil, tomato, cucumber, and red onion.

And now I was full…..and had no idea that we had just begun.

“Next course,” the waiter said, “is pasta or soup.”

We were given several choices and finally selected:

I ordered the spinach and ricotta ravioli with marinara sauce.

Jared ordered the gnocchi with rabbit ragu.

Jared has described this as, “the best gnocchi ever.” After becoming obsessed with the dish, he was inspired to write several melodies about the combination of rabbit and gnocchi. They go a little bit like this:

 Hit me baby one more time. My loneliness is killing me…and I…I must confess, I still believe (in rabbit ragu).

Periodically, he goes for a more Katy Perry route.

Your hot then your cold. Your yes then you are no. The plate is full then its not.

He seriously won’t stop talking about it. Or the next course…because…of course, we weren’t done.


Jared opted for the large chunk of veal. I personally decided to go for the cut of pork that sounded lean and would leave me feeling like I had done something good for myself.

However, I should have thrown that ideology out the window before I boarded the plane to Italy.

The cuts of beef were larger than my thigh and swimming in a deliciously salty gravy-broth. In fact, as I write this post, Jared is moaning and groaning as we discuss our memory of this restaurant.

I just leaned over to him and slapped the boy to shut him up.

The boy is obsessed with meat. And not being a meat girl myself,  I must admit that the meat was dang good.

And of course, we were served roasted potatoes and spinach as a side.

I mean, they didn’t want us to leave hungry.

It was at this point in the meal that an atomic bomb could have exploded 5 feet from us and we literally wouldn’t have been able to move.

Not because of the radiation and instant death,

But because…well…we literally..just… couldn’t move.

We were to busy having food babies.

And, we had alot of wine.

Like, alot. And of course….dessert was next. And considering that we had come this far along in the development of our food baby, I figured that we might as well go to labor right here…at Il Latini.

And so…we did.

We were given a “free gift” of Vin Santo and cantucci (American’s call this biscotti, which is a double-baked cookie with almonds). It is a typical Italian tradition to dip the cantucci in the Vin Santo.

We figured that ordering another stomach would be the ideal solution, but unfortunately they ran out of those earlier in the evening. So instead, we ordered the almond cream cake (In Italia!)

And, it was phenomenal. I’m still dreaming about it. The dessert wine that was served “FOR FREE” with our dessert was their house moscato and it totally changed my view on life.

Actually, we bought a bottle.

And after we had birthed our food babies, were a bit stumbly from the wine, and had paid the bill (would should have been 3x as much for the amount of food we consumed), we attempted to remove ourselves from the establishment.

So, my recommendation to you, if you ever find yourself in a situation where Il Latini is in your future….GO. Be prepared NOT to order off the menu (I mean, it’s no fun NOT being so full that you want to die), make sure you drink the dessert wine, and act surprised when they give you a “free gift of Vin Santo and biscotti” Il Latini is an experience that Jared and I will NEVER forget.

And for Jared…he is still singing his rabbit ragu melodies and humming about his meat.

Il Latini, Via dei Palchetti 6/r (Palazzo Rucellai)

Make you call ahead for reservations!

Ciao for now!