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Aug 12, 2009 12:48 PM

Teatro del Sale or Trattoria Cibreo???

If you had to choose between the two, which would you pick and why? one night we are eating at trattoria sostanza and need a dinner for another night - looking to choose one of these two. how do they compare/differ with regard to food, atmosphere, prices?

and does anyone know if il bussola is open at lunch time?


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  1. It's a tough call. I haven't been to either, but I've been to the Cibreo restaurant several times and love it. I'd probably go with Teatro del Sale because you can make a reservation and because I'm already familiar with the main Cibreo kitchen (which supplies the trattoria too). The Teatro is a beautiful place, and his father and brother think the young chef is brilliant.

    10 Replies
    1. re: mbfant

      A lot of difference between these 2 places: Trattoria Cibreo is a sit-down place to which a waiter/waitress will come to take your order and deliver it when ready. No credit cards and no reservations and it's a somewhat small venue so you might have to get there early to find a table.
      Teatro del Sale, on the other hand is a fairly large room with many tables and chairs in 2s, 4s, 6s, etc. (don't be afraid to sahre a table - you might meet someone who speaks your language and can translate for you what is being served). Nor waiters/waitresses; you get up from your table when they announce what they have placed on the serving table, and you help yourself to all and everything you like or want to try. You return to your table, eat, then take your used plates to the "dutch door" at the kitchen so the staff can clean them. After appetizers have been served and consumed, another announcement will come from the kitchen as to what is now being served, and you repleat the process. This goes on for 4, 5, 6 different offerings, all placed on the large serving tables for you to select what you want. Just outside the main room is an area where you will find mineral water and spigots which allow you to pour your own wine, either into a glass or into a carafe to take back to your table. These drinks, plus coffee and tea, are included in the meal price (30 Euros per person, plus 5 Euros to join the club on your first visit). After the dinner plates have been cleared, diners move chairs to face the old stage and watch whatever entertainment is offered after dinner: music, dance, comedy, films, etc.

      In short, there is a much livelier dinner experience to be had at the Teatro del Sale. And the same family is connected with all 3 restaurants (3rd being the Ristorante). By all means, make your reservation in advance for Teatro for dinner, as they are required for that meal and theatrical show at dinner (but not required at lunch (20 Euros, no entertaninment after, but otherwise the same). If you like to eat many different foods you have never had before and in quantities you mostly select, you will not forget your night at Teatro del Sale!

      1. re: CJT

        I personally would avoid both. I had a very bad experience at Cibreo: average food and no coffee! There are plenty of less pretentious (and less expensive) dining alternatives in Florence, which offer far more authentic representations of the city's culinary tradition.

          1. re: jamesviola

            do you have any recommendations for other options that are in the same price range? thanks!

            1. re: niclaf77

              One bad experience in a restaurant should not be the criterion for castigating a place. We've eaten in Trattoria Cibreo on several occasions and always found the food good (polenta was outstandingly creamy) and service satisfactory (we got complimentary Prosecco before one dinner there). I repeat my recommendation on trying Teatro del Sale -- you will see many local Florence-area residents eating there at lunch and dinner.

              If you want a write-up on other restaurants in Florence with prices listed, search here for my post "Florence Report - December 2007" You'll find advice on Vini Vecchi e Sapori, Antico Fattore, and a few other places. Not written up there is Trattoria Sostanza, but you plan to go there and you will enjoy it.

              1. re: niclaf77

                look at this board and you will see jamesviola's recommended places, posted just today

                1. re: jen kalb

                  It appears fromt he original post that niclaf77 has only 2 nights in Florence. jamesviola's post of Auguat 19 concerns mostly restaurants in the Oltrarno, but if niclaf77 has only 2 days to see Florence, a trip to Oltrarno for lunch is not advised due to distance from the major sites to visit, and they already have Sostanza on their schedule for one of these nights.

                  1. re: CJT

                    huh? the Pitti Palace and Santo Spirito and its piazza are major sites in my book and if I recall correctly da Camillo and some of the other restaurants he mentioned are not all that far from the Ponte Vecchio. .Anyway OP is looking for options to Cibreo or Teatro from jamesviola who dissed those restaurants, which I passed along.

                    1. re: jen kalb

                      He dissed Cibreo, which is not the same as Teatro del Sale. Unless he dined at the latter and can specify why he liked or disliked it, his comment on Cibreo should not affect anyone's thoughts on going to Teatro.
                      As for the Oltrarno comments, I agree Pitti Palace is worth visiting and we enjoyed Casalinga also, but many people visiting Florence for 2-3 days concentrate on Duomo, San Lorenzo, Bargello, Accademia, Uffizi, and the like and the Oltrarno gets neglected (unfairly) often.

              2. re: jamesviola

                "Pretentious" Cibreo has "average food?"

          2. Teatro del Sale is the way to go - when we were there the food was excellent and the entire experience was a blast.