We finally got a chance to go to La Giostra, which came highly recommended by a waiter friend from Boccadama. After months of anticipation I started getting nervous when another couple of Florentine food lovers told me they had never heard of the place!
Well, my fears were unfounded. The crowd was a healthy mix of tourists and Italians, and the meal was fantastic. The room is a little tight (not uncommon here) and got a little noisy from a fine dining standpoint, but it had a lot of atmosphere and the owner is an entertaining charachter who puts on quite a show, especially decanting your wine. He also took a minute to admonish the staff for some minor transgression that I caught some of - actually one of the oddest observations we had was the way the staff was dressed - completely haphazardly, with one of the waiters in a nearly sleeveless t-shirt and his tatoos sticking out. If you are looking for uniformed service, I would have to say this isn't the place.
We had a very nice Tuscan red wine with the meal, a Bruno Di Rocca IGT (I didn't take notes so can't say much more beyond the fact that we all liked it a lot!). The complimentary plate of Tuscan appetizers was amazing and varied, with crostini, mozzarella, goat cheese and vegetable treats of many different types. I really enjoyed my plate of swordfish carpaccio (fresh fish, not smoked) that came on a bed of greens with razor thin slices of tomato. For my secondi I had coniglio al forno, which was fantastic - one of the best things I have had in Florence. Overall a very enjoyable dining experience. I look forward to going back.
La Giostra Ristorante
Borgo Pinti 10r
Tel. 055 24 13 41