From as far back as the eighteenth-century, The St. Regis Florence has been the favoured place to stay for refined visitors to Florence. The combination of opulent Florentine Heritage alongside contemporary amenities renders the hotel a deluxe stop-off. With eighty guest rooms and ninety suites, it’s sizeable for the city. The Winter Garden Restaurant is a destination restaurant here which is very much worthy of a detour.
We enjoyed a leisurely stroll along the scenic Arno River before reaching the centrally located hotel. An elegant entrance leading into a sumptuous reception room has one instantly realise they have arrived on the doorstep of somewhere befitting a luxuriate life.
As we wandered through to the Winter Garden Restaurant, my eyes were drawn immediately to the ornate hand-blown Murano glass chandelier suspended in the centre of the room. The vast space is palatial with its nineteenth-century stained glass ceiling, marble floor, columns and gold-leaf balconies. We spent a moment taking in the striking interiors before our waiter kindly showed us to our table.
An exquisite menu offering antipasti, primi, secondi and desserts showcased the most enticing array of Tuscan flavours. We opted for three of the four, and the portions were generous.
I ordered a delicious (fresh fruit) Bellini to sip on while I studied the menu, and our waiter recommended the Tuscan parma ham with melon as well as the tomato and mozzarella salad. We ordered both to share and tucked in, mopping up fresh olive oil with delicious bread from the plentiful basket. Both starters were presented beautifully and the sommelier recommended a delicate local white wine to complement them.
A weekend away in Florence was the perfect excuse to eat pasta at every given opportunity, and I opted for the spaghetti from Gragnano with cherry tomato sauce and basil. A true testament to the fact that if a pasta dish is made well enough, simple ingredients are all you need. Creamy, fresh, presented superbly and washed down with a wonderful glass of Chianti – and all the parmesan you desire.
The service was excellent but not without the signature Italian charm which calls for lunch to be a leisurely and romantic affair. Tasteful jazz played throughout and we noticed a grand piano in the corner which I imagine is used very often.
We decided on sharing a “Tiramisu” Classico for dessert but were quickly persuaded to order the dark chocolate mousse, caramel and passion fruit sorbet and a glass of pudding wine as well. They were exceptional and surprisingly not as heavy as I’d expected; we were glad to have enjoyed both!
An espresso to finish off an enormous lunch was served in beautiful china and with a small plate of dark chocolate petit fours.
Executive Chef Gentian Shehi sources the finest quality of seasonal ingredients and certainly succeeds in offering the fior fiore of Tuscan cuisine. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, The Winter Garden at St. Regis Florence is great for anyone seeking out delicious Italian gastronomy in a setting fit for royalty. A glamorous, memorable and incredibly delicious experience.
To discover more, visit: wintergardenflorence.com
All imagery courtesy of Marriott Hotels.
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