Autentico Italiano© by John Axelrod Contact

where to find the best italian food outside Italy

Cantinetta Antinori- A Bit Of Tuscany in the Hapsburg Empire

Nearby the St. Stephan's Cathedral, in the heart of Hapsburg Vienna, lies an authentic Italian treasure. Cantinetta Antinori, established in 1995 by the famous winemaking family as a promotional outlet for their wines, defines italian cooking, Tuscan style. Antinori also has restaurants in Zürich and Moscow, establishing their European dominance of wine and food.

Here one must begin with the wines. Antinori is probably among the most famous wineries of Tuscany, pioneering the Super Tuscan labels and providing the most consistent chianti on the market. From Solaia to Tiganello to Pian della Vigne Brunello to Guado al Tasso to Antinori Riserva to Santa Cristina, there are wines and grapes of all varieties and cost. Even the whites and grappa and vinsanto are produced by Antinori.

So the menu was decided based on the wines. Having returned often to the Cantinetta, I was fortunate to sample many of the wines and much of the menu.

The antipasti is typical Tuscan. A warm insalata di plop (octopus) is a must for lovers of this special fruit of the sea. Crostini ai fegatini di pollo, or chicken liver toasts, and, of course a beef carpaccio with aged parmesan cheese. I enjoyed the thick tomato and bread soup, a necessary part of the Tuscan menu. Wild boar is often found in the Tuscan hills, and the gnocchi con salsiccia di cinghiale e funghi features the meat of the boar with wild mushrooms.

Perhaps most famous of the Tuscan meat is the Bistecca alla Fioretina, that pounded steak, grilled with salt and olive oil and a bit of rosemary. Like the cotelleta alla milanese that is usually larger than the plate upon which it is served, the Florentine Steak can make even my Texas eyes surprised by its size. Each bit was grilled to perfection and the simplicity of it all is a lesson in understatement. Size doesn't matter. It is what you do with it. Of course, once you know what to do with it, you wish you had more!

For real lovers of Autentico Italiano who want to consistently eat well and be reminded of those golden tuscan sunsets, this is the place you don't want to forget, and fortunately, Antinori, with its wine and food, won't let us, either.

Cantinetta Antinori
Jasomirgottstraße 3, 1010 Vienna, Austria
+43 1 5337722