Omnivore - Restaurant review: Taverna Fiorentina

Searching for treasure on Cobb Parkway

All but the best menus should be approached as one would a treasure hunt or a detective novel — as a search for clues, ingredients, and preparations that might make for the most enjoyable meal. Where most chefs showcase their best dishes with bravado, Taverna Fiorentina's Andreas Montobbio tends to hide his authentic, soul-pleasing Italian dishes behind the veneer of suburbia-friendly comfort. It's real Italian food posing as watered-down Italian food.

Little information can be garnered from the restaurant’s generic strip-mall façade, or from the classic dining room bedecked in dark wood and muted accents. A large flatscreen TV hovers over the bar playing a slideshow of dramatic Italian villas and vistas. Even the menu's antipasto platters, fritto misto, green salads and veal saltimbocca give the comforting impression that there’s not many risks being taken here.

But in the pasta section, clues start to arise signaling a more serious Italian heart in the kitchen than appearances would have you believe.

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(Photo by James Camp)