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A case near the entrance of Florence's Golden View Open Bar restaurant displays the fresh foods used for many of the elegant restaurant's appetizer dishes -- fresh balls of Italy's famed mozzarella di bufala, smoke-cured hams, tasty salamis and more.

A case near the entrance of Florence's Golden View Open Bar restaurant displays the fresh foods used for many of the elegant restaurant's appetizer dishes -- fresh balls of Italy's famed mozzarella di bufala, smoke-cured hams, tasty salamis and more. (Sandra Jontz / S&S)

FLORENCE, Italy — If beef is your fare, Florence is your city.

Diners at the Golden View Open Bar restaurant are greeted with a complimentary glass of prosecco, a white sparkling wine, and led — if they’re lucky enough — to tables that overlook the famed Arno River that winds through the city.

But seat-with-a-view aside, there really isn’t a bad spot in the house in any of the restaurant’s three dining rooms — and this is one place where going for the food should be the main goal.

The steak was out of this world, tender, juicy and cooked to the stated preferred perfection.

Beef eaters flock to Florence for the famed Florentine beefsteak. On one particular evening, the smallest portion available would have been a 1.2 kilo (yes, that’s 2.6 pounds) slab of T-bone steak.

I took a pass on the hunk o’ beef — and instead ordered steak topped with thinly sliced Parmesan cheese set atop a bed of fresh arugula. Yum.

If beef isn’t what you’re looking for, the Golden View offers a full range of meals, from spaghetti allo scoglio (spaghetti with seafood), risotto con gamberi e rosmarino (risotto with shrimp and rosemary), tonno alla Taormina (Taormina tuna fish) and bocconcini di cernia alla birra rossa (grouper in a red beer sauce.)

Our meal, comprised of a platter of wild boar cold cuts, two thick steaks, a glass of Reserve Chianti wine, a serving of mixed salad, and a serving of grilled vegetables, totaled 80 euros.

Desserts abound as well, including chocolate truffle ice cream, fresh fruit, cheesecake topped with a wild berry sauce and tiramisu, ranging from 6 euros to 8 euros apiece.

The restaurant, which opened in April 2002, is a jaunt across the famed Ponte Vecchio (the only bridge spanning the Arno that was not destroyed by retreating German forces in World War II), and located on the opposite side of city’s main tourists attractions, i.e. the Duomo, Piazza della Signora, and Uffizi Gallery.

Reservations are strongly recommended, but not necessary.

The restaurant boasts an upscale yet relaxing atmosphere and offers patrons a chance to dine to live jazz music.

The staff sticks with the restaurant’s philosophy, which is stated on its Website: "Golden View follows the slow food philosophy, that is to say dining in total relaxation, far away from the tourist fast-food track."

To see previous After Hours reviews, go to:stripes.com/afterhours

Golden View Open Bar - Florence, Italy

Hours: Noon to midnight (pizzeria open until 1 a.m.)

Specialties: Steak and traditional Italian meals

Dress: Casual to dressy

Clientele: Mostly tourists

Menu in English: Yes

Address: Via dei Bardi – 58r

Telephone: +(39) 055-214-502

Web site:www.goldenviewopenbar.com (Site is in Italian and English)


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