With his mass of snowy white hair and beard, it’s hard to miss restaurateur Fabio Picchi as he flits among the four establishments that make up his gourmet empire in Florence’s up-and-coming Sant’Ambrogio area. These days, he spends most of his time at Teatro del Sale, but his first enterprise was the upscale Cibrèo, where the Tuscan food is exquisite and the service top-notch. However, if uniformed waiters aren’t a priority, go instead to the 30-seat Trattoria Cibrèo, which serves the same fare just up the street. Sure, the atmosphere is a little more rustic—marble-topped wooden tables crammed into a small space—and you may need to wait a bit for a table (reservations are not accepted), but you’ll pay less than half the price for a more limited menu of the same dishes.
Insider Tip: To ensure a table, get here at 7 p.m.
Signature Dishes: Yellow pepper soup; pigeon stuffed with spiced fruit; Italian cheesecake with bitter orange sauce.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.