We are recovered, thanks to a little side trip to Florence.
Zachary and I had something of a traumatic day yesterday. I was robbed, as you know. While I was posting about it on this blog, he called me in tears to say strange men were doing something on our balcony. Turns out they are doing something related to the construction next door. Nevertheless, the strange men and their strange noises had driven Zachary to hide under my bed. (They are outside in front of me now as I type on his desk.)
I hadn’t told him about the robbery on the marshrutka. Thank goodness. Meanwhile, I was worried that somehow the thieves had lifted my home address along with their significant take for the day, and that we were in for some more financial losses. So I rushed home, grateful for the two-hryvnia bus fare I found in a jeans pocket.
After a good long hug, we decided we needed a nice walk after the events of the day. Adam chose not to join us.
We wandered through the old town a new way, following Staroyevreyska Street past the Vintage Boutique Hotel on our way up to the Castle Hill. It was dinner time and Zachary was feeling hungry. Well, that it was dinner time didn’t really matter–Zachary is always hungry. When we spied an Italian restaurant I remembered he has been asking for spaghetti. So we went in.
We found a lovely restaurant with perfect service, great food, reasonable prices that has been open only a month and needs to be put on the culinary map in L’viv!
The restaurant is called “Florenzia.” It’s is on a small square that runs between Staroyevreyska and Brativ Rohatynstiv streets, bounded on the far side by Fedorova Street. That’s deep in the old town within sight of the part of the city’s wall that makes the Arsenal Museum, in the neighborhood of the ruins of the Golden Rose Synagogue.
The room is small and elegant. It has formal wallpaper and white linens. Contemporary music, Italian contemporary music, played in the background adding just the right touch of ambience without overpowering the experience.
We got there about 5 p.m. and were met by owner Ivan Duba, whose English almost made me forget we were in L’viv. He seated us and provided the menus. Which then reminded me we were in L’viv. (My lips were moving when I read the items purportedly to myself, and I kept having to remind myself that an “m” in Ukrainian script is pronounced as a “t.”) Olga took care of the bar. Irina took care of the food service. We were the only diners. While we were there, two couples came in for wine or coffee. They don’t know what they were missing!
Zachary and I poured ourselves a big glass of water to start. That’s the first thing to arrive at our table: a big carafe of water in which floated fresh mint. Usually you have to buy bottles of water around here, so we appreciated the special treat with the touch of mint. We each started with Caesar salad, his with chicken. They came on bright white china plates with little bowls for the food in the center. The dressing was tastefully subtle. Great slices of thin fresh parmesan lay around the salad like icing. The croutons were fresh and garlicky and the presentation was topped off with crown of fresh mint and punctuated with a thin crusty bread stick. The salads were delicious and left us hungry for more, which is the point of a first course, after all. Pasta dishes came next: linguini Carbonara and fusilli Putanesca (Pumaneska on the menu). Again, the dishes arrived nestled in a little bowl in the middle of a bright white plate. We at half of our dishes and then traded. We were in heaven. The portions were just right. The presentation was artistic, and the food was – well, Zachary had one word for it: “Awesome!” It was one word, but he said it over and over again. And he hadn’t tasted the tiramisu yet! The just-right portions left a little room for dessert. A different take on tiramisu, which included ice cream.
The whole meal, including wine, coca-cola, dessert and coffee, came to less than $50.
Zachary and I had a wonderful dinner and met wonderful people who allowed us to end our day in a significantly better way than we could have ever thought, considering how it began! Ivan and his team allowed us to enjoy the pleasure of their artistry and service, and to walk home relaxed after had been u until then a tense and disappointing day. Florenzia will become regular destination for me while I remain in L’viv. It’s the kind of place that, once you find it, you’ll want to go back and stay a while. And it has great art.