VILNIUS - The variety of food on the Vilnius restaurant scene is pretty monochrome 's at affordable prices, your choices are mainly limited to the Cili restaurants and some other dour 'kavines' (traditional eateries). A few restaurants do something different, but these are often too expensive to justify their product or not interesting enough to warrant a return visit.
But a new contender has entered the ring, and it is a knockout. The Fiorentino Italian Restaurant is the refurbished Sole Luna cocktail bar that was so popular with tourists and students.
A whole new interior design with furniture from Tuscany sets the scene as you walk in the door. Beautiful tableware on simple tables populates the table in the Tuscan style. Tuscans will tell you that the best things in Italian food are the simple ones 's good quality produce is all you need.
Roberto is the owner/manager of Fiorentino and agrees with this idea of simplicity. "We just do things simple 's sometimes good oil and good vegetables and bread can be better than something complicated." Roberto is from the northern city of Brescia, but believes that the best food comes from middle Italy.
The menu is expansive and set out in an Italian style. There is the option to have up to six courses, not including salad 's if you want to spend the day eating great food.
An Italian chef was imported for a month-long training course for the chefs who picked up secrets from him. "Its amazing 's they always get it just right," Roberto said, referring to the shop-made pasta, which is cooked al dente. If you are Lithuanian and cook your pasta for 30 minutes, it may come as a shock to you that pasta can have texture.
Pasta isn't the only thing on the menu, with some items that people would not usually associate with classic Italian cuisine. A crepe with ricotta cheese and spinach baked with cheese on top is a traditional meal from the hills of Florence and tantalizes the taste buds.
Roberto says the best thing about Tuscan cuisine is just the idea of the rolling hills, the meat and the red wine. Indeed the wine selection is nothing to sneeze at. Not only is there a huge range in terms of quality and price, but every wine in stock is exclusive to his restaurant in Lithuania. He imports them directly from small producers in Tuscany to complement the menu. The prices of the wines range from table wine at 48 litas (13.90 euros) to 790 litas (229 euros) for special occasions.
Punters shouldn't be scared by the price of wine because the food is more than reasonable, with entrees starting at seven litas (2.03 euros) for Bruschetta. Mains start at 14 litas (4.06 euros) for Pancakes a la Fiorentina and go up the 42 litas (12.17 euros) for the beefsteak with red wine.
Food and wine aside, Lavazza Coffee representatives deem Fiorentino to be one of the best places to get coffee in Lithuania. Roberto laments the fact that Lithuanians don't like 100 percent Arabica coffee, but he is proud of his reputation.
The restaurant has an indoor section and a large courtyard for al fresco dining. Functions can also be held at the restaurant and in the courtyard.
Fiorentino Italu restoranas
4 Universiteto street, Vilnius
Tel: +370 5 212 0925