Restaurant Report: Tamerò Pasta Bar in Florence

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The dining scene in Florence is mostly dominated by well-established trattorias, either tucked away in neighborhoods far from the city center and frequented by locals or situated in the heart of town and overrun with tourists. The opening of Tamerò late last year breaks this pattern: it's a hip spot in the residential Santo Spirito area that serves modern renditions of food from all over Italy and beyond.

Tamerò's eclectic décor retains touches from the days when the space used to be a garage: the concrete floor is still intact, as are the cracked white walls peppered with graffiti. Benches covered in burlap, and steel tables and chairs complete the funky, laid-back look.

Service starts with lunch, moves into early-evening apertivo and then dinner before its final iteration as a nighttime destination; on weekends, D.J.'s spin, the volume level is kicked up a notch, and dancing sometimes breaks out. Given the trendy feel and affordable prices, one might be skeptical about the food and service, but a late-spring visit confirmed that Tamerò takes no shortcuts. The focal point of the menu is over a dozen kinds of excellent pasta, handmade daily by a team in the front window.

Precursors to this main event include a handful of starters like roasted vegetables deeply marinated in rich olive oil and creatively presented in a glass jar alongside crispy Sardinian flatbread.

Then come the generous portions of noodles, which range from basics like tagliatelle with fresh cherry tomatoes and basil pesto sauce to less traditional dishes like potato gnocchi with broccoli and speck. A standout went one step further in its complexity: squid ink tortellini filled with citrus-flavored potatoes and coated in a spicy tomato sauce laden with chunks of meaty octopus.

Picks for non-pasta eaters are far from a letdown. The beef chili, for example, is a thick and flavorful stew made from hearty Tuscan beef and accompanied by deep-fried pieces of thin polenta; the appealingly crispy breaded cod is served in a long wood boat with a side of house-made mayonnaise and ketchup.

It's worth saving room for the short dessert menu, which constantly changes but usually includes a variety of cheesecake; we sampled one topped with roasted pears, which was both crunchy and light on the sweetness.

The 25 or so wines on the list come from small labels, mostly Tuscan, and many are available by the glass.

Tamerò Pasta Bar, Piazza Santo Spirito, 11r; 39-055-282-596; tamero.it. An average meal for two, with two glasses of local wine, is 35 euros, $50 at $1.28 to the euro.

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This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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