The Cibrèo in Florence is a pillar of the best Tuscan cuisine, a renowned gastronomic “stage” created by Fabio Picchi, a histrionic chef, writer, literate, and custodian of the millenary history of his beloved city.
Fabio Picchi, an eclectic artist and “philosopher cook”, in 1979 when he didn’t yet know he was one, at the age of only 24, opened his first restaurant in the small district of Sant’Ambrogio in Florence.
His passion for food, a symbol of his love for the family institution as well as for convivial life, started as a child when he learned to cook with his grandmother. In fact, for his restaurant, he chose the name “cibrèo” precisely in homage to a traditional festive Florentine dish that reminded him both of his childhood and the great Tuscan tradition.
To know how to stir-fry, how to make tomato sauce, is like pulling a lever that will slowly but steadily lift you to a better world.(Fabio Picchi, founder)
Right from the start, when in the 1980s most restaurants offered recipes based on “noble ingredients”, he bases his cuisine on the “poor” products from his territory, without a zero-waste philosophy, making the most of his in-depth knowledge of the millenary history of Florence. For Fabio Picchi traditional recipes are, in fact, like a perfect symphony: it cannot be modified, at most you can change the musicians to play it or compose a new one.
The furniture he sought for the Cibrèo is typical of early 20th-century Italian trattorias, another tribute to tradition, with wooden boiserie, shelves full of bottles of wine and many works of art on the walls. These are, in particular, the paintings and posters designed by his son Giulio, illustrator and artist, who today, together with chef Oscar Severini and his brigade, is in charge of all the group’s restaurants.
Yes, because, after the first success, Fabio Picchi had taken a liking to it, opening other “Cibrèos”, all located along two small streets near the Sant’Ambrogio market, with a format each different from the other. In 1979, together with the restaurant, he also invented Cibrèo Trattoria (located right next door), in 1989 he opened Cibrèo Caffè (the last images in the photo-gallery), in 2003 it was the turn of Teatro del Sale, with the artistic direction of his wife Maria Cassi, which offers the opportunity to dine while enjoying various kinds of entertainment, up to the latest born in 2017, Cibléo, a small bistro that offers Tuscan-Oriental cuisine.
Today chef Severini, with the support of a truly exceptional dining room staff who knows how to pamper and advise each customer as if they had known them for a lifetime, carries forward Fabio Picchi’s vision by preferring the most authentic traditional flavors and seeking, at the same time, the best raw material of the territory to best interpret them.
The menu offers the quintessence of Tuscan cuisine of the last two thousand years, such as Potato and Ricotta Flan with Ragù or Timballo di Tagliolini, the Etruscan Steak or the famous Pigeon Stuffed with Mustards with Sweet and Sour Borettane Onions up to the delicious desserts like the Chocolate cake, accompanied by a wine list that would make any sommelier happy.
Not surprisingly, literally everyone has passed through here; from the families of the neighborhood in festive days to Prince Charles of England who quibbled about vegetable gardens, from Hollywood stars such as Russel Crowe who wanted to be taught various recipes up to the world of fashion and showbiz.
In addition to looking for the best artisans of taste, Cibrèo has its own vegetable garden a few km from the restaurant from which the delicious vegetables that accompany, in particular, its second courses come fresh every morning, including the renowned variety of salads that have become one of the venue’s signature dishes.
Starters: 18 — 35 euro
First courses: 20 — 24 euro
Second courses: 34 — 47 euro.