BRILLIANT ACHIEVEMENT FOR THE BRUNELLESCHI HOTEL
With Chef Rocco De Santis the Santa Elisabetta Restaurant is awarded a Michelin star
Only the Michelin star was missing to complete the unique character of the Brunelleschi Hotel in Florence. After the excellent reviews received by all the important food guides, 2020 is the year when the Santa Elisabetta Restaurant with Chef Rocco De Santis obtains this prestigious award thanks to his brilliant and creative synthesis of Campania and Tuscany and his passion for traditions, the real leitmotif of his menu.
So a star shines now on the “Pagliazza” Byzantine tower, the oldest building in Florence, where the intimate and elegant Santa Elisabetta Restaurant ( ristorantesantaelisabetta.it ) is situated. The star confirms the synergy between Executive Chef Rocco De Santis, the Sous Chef Fabio Silla, the Restaurant Manager Domenico Napolitano, the Outlet Manager Alessandro Fé, the hotel management and all the staff.
This is the flattering judgment obtained by the Santa Elisabetta Restaurant signed by the Michelin Guide inspectors: The Pagliazza Tower, probably dating back to the Byzantines, was put to many different uses: in the 12th century it was even a women’s prison, but today it houses one of the city’s most interesting gourmet restaurants. The Chef is from Campania and his menu is characterized by dishes with clear and intended Mediterranean quotations, although the Chef was able to establish a perfect dialogue between Tuscany and his region of origin. The result is a creative and elaborate cuisine that materialises in appealing food presentations. Tables are only seven, hurry to reserve!
“It is with great pride that we receive this important recognition. It represents the greatest reward for our entire team’s efforts and an enormous satisfaction for the owners who have always firmly supported the project of high quality catering for the Brunelleschi Hotel. I am deeply grateful to our guests, who have honored us with their preference over the years and are the fundamental protagonists of this journey” commented General Manager Claudio Catani.
A totally new menu was issued at the same time as the award, in which the finest points of Rocco De Santis remain constant: there is a lot of Campania, his region of origin, of which he has vivid
memories. Childhood dishes that are lightened, modernized, but above all interpreted to harmonise with Tuscan cuisine. A tribute from Rocco De Santis to Florence, his adopted city. A recognizable style that gives the restaurant a strong identity thanks to the Chef’s vision. It is easy to say “tradition and innovation” but great charisma is needed to create this combination in a credible and original way.
The signature dish still on the menu is the Cappelletti (small stuffed pasta)… a Sunday memory: Cappelletti made of buffalo ricotta accompanied by a thick Neapolitan ragu. An exemplary dish of Rocco De Santis’s work. The Neapolitan ragu, a strong point of tradition, is emulsified, concentrated, and laid out at the base of the dish as a mirror on which the pasta filled with ricotta
cream is placed, with a light basil pesto.
Another traditional dish is the Genoese stew, which De Santis makes with lamb and turns into a first course: Potato gnocchi with lamb Genoese sauce, sage, parmesan mousse and truffle.
His raw ingredients and menus are chromatic, olfactory but also emotional palettes: the Chef wishes to accompany the client during his journey in the present (the season) and in the memory (the dishes of the past).
In the Autumn menu of the Santa Elisabetta Restaurant the dishes change as a natural consequence of seasonality: it is the triumph of mushrooms, white truffle, hazelnuts, Jerusalem artichokes,
pumpkin, broccoli, cabbage, game, sweetbreads, lamb, pork. In addition to the ingredients, the consistencies and the concept of comfort also change: in Autumn the desire for hot, hearty and rich
dishes increases. More meat dishes are featured in the menu than fish dishes.
Among the starters are the Quail breast and thigh, pear, foie gras rocher and “friarielli” peppers rocket, and Veal sweetbreads, “fiolaro” broccoli, “pioppini” mushrooms and chestnuts from
Among the first courses, in addition to the aforementioned dishes from his memory, there is also a risotto that is a tribute to Autumn and to the combination between Campania and Tuscany that
characterizes De Santis’ cuisine: Risotto with pumpkin, scampi and truffle from San Miniato “Stefania Calugi selection”. The same concept is at the base of the main courses: Grilled pluma
pork cut from Romagna, wild radicchio, Jerusalem artichoke and chilly honey and Pigeon grilled on charcoal, parsnip, “annurca” apple and black cabbage. In the encounter between the famous
apple grown in Campania and the typical Tuscan vegetable resides the balance that drives the menu.
Fish is interpreted according to Tuscan tradition: Fish with tomato soup and sautéed chicory; Red Mullet dressed in a saffron bread crust, raisin and pine nut pesto, garlic sauce and red onion jam;
Brill escalope, stewed endive, “pizzaiola” sauce and anchovy milk.
Almost all the ingredients are sourced from Tuscan suppliers: from the butcher’s in Pontassieve, to the Livorno fish market that respects the biological standstill and follows seasonality, to the local vegetable grower. Some niche products are from small special producers: for example olives come from Campania, lemons and other citrus fruits from the Amalfi Coast, to enrich various dishes.
Desserts can be chosen separately from the Dessert Menu.
Autumn is celebrated with its sweet symbol: D’Auteur Mont Blanc. Or Almost Strudel and Contaminations: ricotta and pear, with the best seasonal fruit.
In De Santis’ cuisine the theme of travel often recurs, meant as a journey made by the client’s palate.
In the dessert named The Ecuador-Sorrento-Tokyo trip, the fil rouge is citrus and chocolate: it is a 100% chocolate mousse, a creamy citrus from the Amalfi coast and a yuzu gel.
The menu has been structured so that you can choose between three tasting menus, or select dishes from the à la carte menu. Tasting menus are 9 courses (Chef Experience, at the Chef’s discretion, 179 Euros), 7 courses (Contaminations, 149 Euros), 5 courses (Traces of Innovation, 124 Euro).
The Brunelleschi Hotel
The doorway opens onto a cozy square in the heart of Florence, a few steps from the Duomo, Palazzo della Signoria and the Uffizi Gallery: the hotel is surrounded by the shopping streets
and the most famous museums of the city. The building includes a Byzantine tower dating from the 6th century and a medieval church, completely renovated yet respecting its original features.
Inside, a private museum displays exhibits found during the tower restoration and a bath of Roman origin, now set in the foundations. The Brunelleschi Hotel is part of the Florentine Historical Businesses. The hotel has been renovated in a very elegant contemporary yet classic style, where soft shades and the gray color of the typical local stone predominate.
The Santa Elisabetta Restaurant ( ristorantesantaelisabetta.it ) is the hotel’s fine dining restaurant and one of the finest gastronomic addresses in Florence. It was awarded one star in the Michelin Guide 2020; in the Gambero Rosso Guide 2020 with the rating of 2 “forks” and in the L’Espresso 2020 with one “hat”. Located in an intimate dining room with only 7 tables on the first floor of the Byzantine tower that is part of the hotel, it boasts an enviable location, a sophisticated atmosphere and a refined cuisine. It is open Tuesday to Saturday, 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm. Every Friday and Saturday it hosts food and wine events.
Since 2017 the menu is signed by Chef Rocco De Santis. The team is completed by Restaurant Manager Domenico Napolitano and Alessandro Fè Santa Elisabetta Outlet Manager.
The more informal “Osteria della Pagliazza” opens every day from 12:30 to 2:30 pm and from 7:30 to 10:30 pm. Located on the ground floor of the hotel, during the summer it also has outdoor tables in the charming square in front of the hotel and offers a delicious menu of dishes based on local ingredients.