Eclectic Ambiance, Fantastic Art & Amazing Food at La Cucina del Garga

I’m just going to say it – I’m the luckiest girl in the world!

Last week, I spent a delicious evening feasting with Sharon Oddson owner of “La Cucina del Garga” located in the heart of Florence, Italy’s historic center. Sharon and her son, Chef Alessandro (former Executive Chef in New York City’s famous “Mezzogiorno Restaurant”) have created a dining experience like none I’ve ever had.

Garga RestaurantLa Cucina del Garga is the perfect combination of art and food. From the moment you walk in the doors, you’re greeted with a multi-colored cornucopia of brightly colored walls with compelling works of art everywhere. If being delighted by the sight isn’t enough, the delicious aroma wafting in from the kitchen teases you with a hint of the phenomenal experience you’re in for.

As I sat down with Sharon, I knew I was in for an incredible treat. The menu houses innovative takes on traditional Tuscan cuisine. And what makes La Cucina Garga even more special – the chef is a certified gluten-free chef and your gluten-free options abound.

                    Garga - Walls     Garga - Art     Garga Statues

We started off with a lovely red wine and a cheese dish that blew. my. mind. This soft cheese topped fresh cracked pepper drizzled with a delicate olive oil and serve with fried polenta is the perfect start to any meal. In fact, I’ve had dreams about this dish since eating it!

Garga - Polenta

Next came a tender octopus dish that was so off the charts, there really are no words for it. And a shrimp dish cooked to perfection and paired with sautéed greens to round out the richness of the shrimp. We followed it up with a pasta con funghi. The sauce was light and yet earthy and grounding. I’ve eaten a lot of pastas with mushroom sauce in my years and this was next level preparation here.

                      Garga - Octopus Garga - Pasta Garga - Shrimp

And finally, came the desserts! I can hardly talk about them and do them any justice. Sharon (reading my mind, clearly) generously suggested we try two desserts – a cloudlike mousse with berries and a chocolate molten heaven that the Gods would be jealous of….both were absolutely spectacular. Had I not been trying to be on my best behavior, I would have licked the plates – I would have!

                               Garga - Berries        Garga - Cake

Between the fascinating conversation – Sharon’s story of coming to Italy to create a new life for herself and what it was like to be an expat is absolutely compelling – and the unforgettable food, my evening at La Cucina del Garga was as close to perfect as an evening can get. The fact that every dish was completely gluten-free and then safe for me to eat, put a grin on my face that lasted a full week.

If you are in Florence, La Cucina del Garga should be a must on your list!

(and by the way, did I mention that Sharon hosts a delightful and unique cooking lesson and lunch experience at the restaurant? It’s an experience not to be missed!)

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