In Florence, in the Oltrarno, a restaurant with the soul of an art gallery born from an idea of the aesthetic genius of Daniele Cavalli, artist and designer, and of chef Gianluca Camilotto, with the collaboration of the most important Florentine artisans.
What would happen if the best Florentine artisans got together to create their own place of wonders? To find out, just go to the San Frediano district, known for its artistic workshops, and book a table at the Atelier de’ Nerli, named after the homonymous square and the great Florentine family protagonist in the struggles between Guelphs and Ghibellines also mentioned by Dante in the Divine Comedy.
Crossing the threshold of the Atelier de’ Nerli one has, in fact, the impression of entering a centenary place full of works of art and precious artifacts and it is impossible for us to think that, instead, before 2019, the date of its opening, nothing like it had ever existed there before.
Our philosophy is to interpret the cuisine with the same passion and attention to detail that is infused in the manual work of the most renowned artisans. Here guests breath tradition, culture and beauty. (Daniele Cavalli)
Everything we see, the antique mirrors, the velvet sofas and soft light lamps, is the result of the creativity of Daniele Cavalli, artist and designer son of the famous fashion designer Roberto, who together with his longtime friend Gianluca Camilotto, has literally shaped from the nothing this wonderful timeless place, filling it with infinite details of extreme refinement.
To do this, he turned to the best craftsmen to commission, one by one, the pieces that would go to make up his dream restaurant. The first unique piece? The wonderful antique terracotta floor, seen and bought during a trip to Abruzzo, which also led to the subsequent choice of the Atelier’s color palette ranging from the reddish tones of the floor to the antique pink of the walls and the ocher yellow of the seats.
Each piece is a small masterpiece of Florentine craftsmanship: the bespoke chairs and tables were made by Castorina, the glassware and glasses by Ugo Poggi, the fabrics and coverings by Casa Wolf Galleria, the bathroom accessories by Rubinetterie Fiorentine, the marbles from Cfc Lavorazione Artigiana Marmo, and many of the works of art on display come from the Studio Galleria Romanelli.
Even the cuisine follows the same “artisan” philosophy: the Piedmontese chef Gianluca Camilotto, well known in Florence for the historic osteria Vini e Vecchi Sapori, gives life to a cuisine that focuses on the excellence of the Italian raw material, combining a maximum of three ingredients to make the most of its flavor, favoring traditional Tuscan recipes which he considered the needle of the balance of Italian cuisine.
Thus on the menu we find the Absolute egg by Paolo Parisi with extra virgin olive oil, Parmesan cheese and toasted bread, the Pappardella of fresh pasta with white Ragù del Cortile and scents of laurel, rosemary and juniper berries, and, among the second courses, balanced between meat and fish, the Escalope of beef served on toasted bread with oil flavored with Tuscan spices and flakes of fresh goat cheese and the Acqua Pazza sea bass with potatoes, Stromboli capers, Taggiasca olives, tomato fresh and cartoon clams.
The suppliers are selected from the elite of Italian cuisine, preferring small local artisanal businesses, such as the vegetables from the Vincenzo Sforza farm, the meat from the Soderi Butcher in Florence, and the smells created by Giacomo Salizzoni in his urban garden Orti Dipinti. Also noteworthy is the list of oils and wines which includes the noble products “of the house” that come from the Tenuta degli Dei, managed by Tommaso Cavalli, as well as the best of the Tuscan production, from Laudemio Frescobaldi to Vazart & Sons.
Charming Fabrizio and Ivan entertain guests in the dining room, looking after the tables that are set up in a sophisticated 70s New York restaurant style featuring impeccable white tablecloths, crystal glasses, flowers and lots of candles. An international touch wanted by Daniele who took inspiration from his Atelier from his travels around the world, like the beautiful antique ceiling fans of Indochinese origin.
Before or after eating at the restaurant, we recommend a tour of the ateliers that have contributed to “creating” this place of taste and beauty, first and foremost Studio Galleria Romanelli who made the external sign, located a few meters from the restaurant. An authentic sculpture studio, in which the same family of artists has been carrying on its business for almost two centuries, blending tradition and modernity (in the last photo of the gallery).
As an esthete of the 5 senses, Daniele Cavalli collaborated with Sileno Cheloni, master perfumer, to create a custom fragrance for the Atelier de’ Nerli that was inspired by the smell of art workshops. The result was an unusual note that recalls white spirit and which is diffused in the restaurant’s rooms through the air conditioning system.
Starters: 18 — 36 euro
Soups and first courses: 22 — 30 euro
Second courses: from 26 euro
Desserts: 8 — 10 euro