La Giostra.....was it worth it to you?

Sep 13th, 2007, 01:02 PM
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La Giostra.....was it worth it to you?

La Giostra in Florence looks very intriguing. With better dining choices in Florence and seeing the mix of reviews on this site, It's still on our list.

-What was your experience there like?
-Besides the price, was it worth it to you?
-Is it all hype?

adventureseeker is offline  
Sep 13th, 2007, 01:50 PM
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I thought it was worth it--it was one of my favorite meals in Italy!

I found that it was mainly tourists though until @ 9-9:30, then all locals.

My experience: It was small and hard to find--it wasn't marked very well. Very showy presentations, the chef/owner came out and talked to each table and decanted the wine and his sons who were waiters were very attractive.

I had a whole fish which had been roasted and they de-boned at the table, I can't remember what my now husband had, but it was not the carpaccio that seemed to be the signature dish.

I don't recall the prices being outrageous, you definitely are paying for showmanship in terms of presentation and service but the food was amazing.

I have very fond memories of the place, but to be honest, this was several years ago and I got engaged on the trip (though not in Florence, in Rome and it was after the Florence portion of the trip), this may color my perception, but I don't think so.
cherrybomb is offline  
Sep 13th, 2007, 03:35 PM
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Hype? There was none when we were there; just a warm welcome, a pleasant outdoor table, and wonderful food.

But that was in 2000; maybe things have changed.
enzian is offline  
Sep 13th, 2007, 03:39 PM
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I enjoyed my dinner at La Giostra. I don't ever make an assessment of 'was it worth it.' so I can't answer that question.

I do ask myself was it good? would I return? would I recommend to someone else. The answer for all 3 is yes.

Would I rush back there before trying some place else that is highly recommended? No.

If you routinely pay $75-100 per person for dinner at home so paying as much at La Giostra isn't a big deal then it's a nice place. Very good food - I've had better and I've had much worse. Good service, nice atmosphere, etc. The overall package was a nice experience.

If, on the other hand, you never spend more than $30 each at home and are looking for the total package that will just wow you then maybe you should think twice. If paying that much will put a crimp in your budget and if you need to ask yourself 'was it worth $200' then maybe you should think twice.

Be sure to ask if there is an appetizer served on the house before you order. We had a large platter of assorted antipasti delivered gratis and didn't need the appetizers we ordered. Wish we'd been told as we would not have ordered.

Also, be sure to request a table inside. Outside is on the street - literally. Pedestrian only, but inside is where you want to be.
J62 is online now  
Sep 13th, 2007, 03:59 PM
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We were there last Nov and loved it...I didn't know it was a big tourist thing, a friend recommended it to us. The father/owner is a memorable character and looks just like Indian Larry (a famous motorcycle guy). I was there with my parents and my dad had a blast. One of the sons was very into motorcycles and talk to my brother awhile about them. My brother even ended up mailing the son an Indian Larry T-shirt from the US when we got back. Totally worth it - really fun and the food was fantastic. I concur with the free house antipasta platter- huge - no need for appetizer. Have fun.
kellymp is offline  
Sep 13th, 2007, 04:30 PM
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We've been there 3 times, and each time was really wonderful. Was it worth it? Absolutely yes, but I never saw the bill, so DH might be able to answer that better . "The Prince" even offered to give me free cooking classes, but we were off to Spain, so I couldn't take him up on his offer. (Besides, I really don't like to cook.)

One thing I always tell people is to try not to overorder--a huge free appetizer and 2 glasses of bubbly come with the meal, and if you don't like overeating, you really need to watch how much you order. (Plus, this will keep the cost down, right?)

The only negative that we encountered was last time we were there 2 very drunk couples from L.A. were seated at the next table and they were embarrassingly loud, but that wasn't the fault of La Giostra.

I would heartily recommend this restaurant--just did to some friends who are there now (and he's Italian).
artlover is offline  
Sep 13th, 2007, 05:39 PM
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Thank you all. That is the kind of info I was searching for.

And based on your replies it will be a must for us.

Sounds like "an experience": lively delicious and something to remember.
adventureseeker is offline  
Sep 13th, 2007, 06:00 PM
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Well, as long as you realize that it is very definitely an upscale "tourist" restaurant, adventureseeker, it is not a place that Florentines go, the "prince" in this case is Austrian-his Austrian family runs it, and has mastered (some would say) Tuscan cuisine. That's why you'll find "Sachertorte" on the dessert menu. Authentically Florentine this is not.
Girlspytravel is offline  
Sep 14th, 2007, 04:58 AM
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But authentically wonderful and returnable it is.
nevertooold is offline  
Sep 14th, 2007, 05:10 AM
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I am not sure why anyone would consider spending that kind of money in Florence when there are so many wonderful places focusing on Tuscan cuisine and charging far less money.... I, too, looked at their menu..Beluga caviar; weinerschnitzel????? In Florence??
ekscrunchy is offline  
Sep 14th, 2007, 06:02 AM
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ekscrunchy, I have to agree with you. We prefer to pay for food and service, not showmanship or the entertainment factor. I find the menu overpriced and not particularly interesting.

In this city of wonderful food and wine, I will dine elsewhere.
kfusto is offline  
Sep 14th, 2007, 06:41 AM
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That was exactly my dilemma.....

But one night of touristy showmanship and entertainment would be a welcomed break from the mom & pop's, authentic trattorias that we'll be dining at the rest of the trip.

Thank you all....
adventureseeker is offline  
Sep 14th, 2007, 10:38 AM
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With a small complimentary glass of Prosecca and a complimentary very large plate of assorted antipasti, and after splitting our priomo piatto, we were all full. We had to struggle to finish our secundo piatto. Since we did not get extra wine, the check was quite reasonable.
Jed is offline  
Sep 14th, 2007, 10:43 AM
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We ate there many years ago. Yes, the owner is a character and our waitress was a hoot. We were with 18 of our friends.

I thought the meal however was so-so.

The service and attention were terrific, but far better places to go.
tripgirl is offline  
Sep 14th, 2007, 11:38 AM
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Hi all,

Since this is our first trip to Italy (and we know that many others who have posted have been a dozen times or so and possibly lived there).....we're on vacation and need at least one night of fun/party that isn't "is this the best or authentic meal?". La Giostra will be it.

I'd regret it more if we didn't try it than if we did and had a substandard meal.

adventureseeker is offline  
Sep 14th, 2007, 12:19 PM
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We loved it. Yes, it was expensive, yes, there are places with more authentic Florentine cuisine, but the food was terrific, the service was terrific, and I'd go back in a heartbeat.

The portions are HUGE, though, and the free antipasti are generous, so be careful how much you order.

el344 is offline  

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