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Delfina - what to order?

meganinlosfeliz Mar 20, 2007 06:14 PM

Based on some 'hound recommendations, we are going there on Friday. I went 4 yrs ago and loved it, but not only do I not remember much, I assume the menu has changed since then. :)

What dishes at Delfina are a don't-miss? I prefer to order antipasti, salads, vegetables and pastas, just because then we can try more things. Looking at the website, everything sounds good...

I imagine we will get dessert too, so any tips there would be great.

So excited for this trip!

  1. tara Mar 23, 2007 07:03 PM

    I like the calamari with white bean salad, the spaghetti with tomato sauce, the roast chicken, and the warm chocolate cake. Everything I've ever had there has been good, though.

    1. Squeat Mungry Mar 21, 2007 05:04 PM

      If I see rabbit on the menu, that's what I go for.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Squeat Mungry
        readingstand Mar 21, 2007 05:53 PM

        Doodleboomer's quite right about the calamari--which are great, and revolutionary if you've only had them fried in the past (though, I know, you wouldn't likely be on chowhound were that true)--and about the campo. (If you want to sound in the know when you order, just ask for "a campo." ;^) ) The mantecato's good but I think of it as good for a group, so each can have a bit--it might get monotonous for two to consume a whole order. I agree about rabbit, too--after having been a Delfina regular, I went to da Delfina outside Florence (where Craig the chef spent some time), and had their rabbit, and it's very, very similar, i.e., it's a pleasingly authentic Tuscan dish.
        I myself am a fan of the crostini and (an overlapping category) anything with chicken liver--that one appetizer is itself a mini variety pack. Another thing you should consider is the spaghetti. You probably won't 'cause it's . . . spaghetti, but it's exciting 'cause it's the Platonic ideal of spaghetti--and you can get a small order as one of several things. Speaking of which, I strongly agree with your pro-variety strategy of getting, inter alia, contorni (i.e., veggies); the chard is very good, while the broccoli rabe provides a very strong bitter counterpoint to whatever else you might order (and is less filling than the chard, thus maybe better suited to maximizing the number of things you can get). Oh, but if they have turnips with their greens, that's an absolute must (tho' I've no idea if it's in season). Another classic that is on the menu now, I see, is the slow-roasted pork shoulder. It's a straightforward, homey dish but deeply satisfying.
        As for desserts, my main advice is that, if you plan to get & share more than one, make one the panna cotta, which is beloved for good reason; its mild, delicate flavor very nicely balances, say, the chocolate cake or profiteroles. (And FYI the profiteroles are made with caffeinated espresso gelato and chocolate sauce so don't choose them if you hope to be asleep within 2 hours or less of dessert!) And finally, order a cappuccino if you at all enjoy them; the servers are all very good baristas.

        1. re: readingstand
          meganinlosfeliz Mar 22, 2007 12:55 PM

          I am salivating reading this... Thank you so much for the recommendations. Of course I will post a report.

          1. re: meganinlosfeliz
            readingstand Mar 22, 2007 02:07 PM

            Yeah--I got myself so excited that *I* went to Delfina last night! The crostini were indeed excellent, and I reiterate my recommendation for that and for variety's sake; the campo (a classic for good reason) was also great--bright both visually and gustatorily, with a very satisfying mix of textures, and a pretty hearty size and mouthfeel true to its campo roots but some sophisticated flavors; finally--in a true-American style that I'm a bit embarrassed to admit on Chowhound--I had a pasta (the squab agnolotti) as an entree. The dish reminded me why pastas aren't entrees, as it was a bit monotonous by the end, for one person, but the first half (i.e., what you'd have as a sensible person sharing it as a pasta course) was very comforting/gratifying in that pasta way, with a nice contrast in texture between the buttery sauce and the firm pasta--though in flavor perhaps a bit butterier than ideal, with the squab a bit buried, but overall still very good.
            And as always, I just asked my server to please pick a glass of wine to go with what I'd ordered (an Aglianico, last night), which on many, many, many visits I've always found a very good strategem at D: servers are very professional and work hard to know the foods and wines and pairings (or else they just don't last).
            Have a great dinner!

            1. re: readingstand
              m
              Mick Ruthven Mar 23, 2007 12:23 PM

              Thanks for the great and timely report. What's the noise level like for conversation?

              1. re: Mick Ruthven
                readingstand Mar 23, 2007 04:26 PM

                Well, I usually go alone with a . . . wait for it . . . reading stand, so I'm not the best judge, but I've never had a major problem on group visits. It is fairly noisy, but I find that the smallness of the tables puts you close enough physically to make up for it. But that said, it is fundamentally a pretty noisy, tightly packed restaurant, so you can't have an intimate, half-whispered conversation. (If you reserve well in advance, you can try to get a relative respite by requesting one of the tables in the windows.)

              2. re: readingstand
                r
                RoccoPizzoferrato Oct 4, 2007 08:41 AM

                The suggestion to let the server chose your wine is a good one, either by the glass or bottle. They know what's up, and Delfina has a fairly eclectic selection. I'm a big fan of Lagrein.

                Just about anything on the menu is going to be excellent. I've been eating there for about eight years and can recall very few misses and a lot of hits. Small plates are a good way to go: house-cured anchovies, calamari with white beans, salt cod with their incredible flatbread, beautiful salads. Especially if they have Little Gem lettuces.

                I'll admit to a few dinners where I've ordered a double calamari with white beans as a main course. But one reason I think Delfina disappoints some diners is the hype. The food is very simple- deceptively, exquisitely.

        2. daveena Mar 21, 2007 07:50 AM

          I just wouldn't get the gnocchi... unless things have changed since the last time I went (a few years ago), the gnocchi were terrible, dense little things.

          1 Reply
          1. re: daveena
            mariacarmen Oct 2, 2007 02:42 PM

            agree on gnocchi. had them last night - they were a bit dense but mostly boring. i have to say i didn't love their tripe, as others here have. i may be spoiled because i had the most sublime tripe in Florence and Delfina's really didn't come close. Did love the calamari with cannellini - such a fine smokey flavor! salt cod montecato was wonderful too, very creamy as the name implies, and not as salty as i've had in other places. a fresh juicy heirloom tomato salad with mozzarella (alas, they didn't have burrata on the menu, tho it was on the weekend's menu. no duck sugo either, sadly.) and basil olive oil was perfectly prepared, seasoned with just a bit of sea salt and pepper. i think this is what delfina's is known for - good fresh ingredients prepared simply, elegantly.

          2. rabaja Mar 21, 2007 07:40 AM

            Everytime I've been to Delfina and seen tripe on the menu I've ordered it. It is ethereal; lip-smacking, plate-licking, bread-dipping good. And rich.

            1 Reply
            1. re: rabaja
              vincentlo Mar 23, 2007 03:58 AM

              That tripe is indeed amazing! And so rich that my tummy was complaining last time I had it. It could be just me since I usually don't eat such rich stuff in my everyday diet.

              Seriously order anything you like from the menu. Delfina is a serious contender for the #1 restaurant in the city in my book, if one has to take everything (food, wine, service, atmosphere, and of course price) into consideration. The menu's selection is not that big anyway.

              Vincent

            2. d
              Doodleboomer Mar 21, 2007 12:54 AM

              their calamari with warm white bean salad, insalta del campo, and salt cad mantecado are great. their menu doesn't change too much, funny enough.

              if they have any handmade pastas like their rosemary tag with guinea hen sugo, or ravs, try those

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