Like a delightful secret, Marco Stabile’s Ora d’Aria is safely tucked away in Via dei Georgofili. A couple of weeks ago, I contacted Marco for The Curious Eater. I received a reply, inviting me for a lunch at his restaurant and a talk on a ‘full stomach’. I willingly accepted.
Walking into Ora d’Aria I am welcomed by Federico who offers to take my coat and escort me to my table. The dining room is intimate, modern [with white Saarinen tulip chairs!] and provides a wonderful view of the open kitchen. On the background some smooth jazz tunes by Billy Holiday. A glimpse at the menu tells me that deciding on just a few dishes will be a difficult task. The suggested tasting menu comes to my rescue. And what better way to sample Marco’s cuisine? I start with poached egg on crispy porcini mousse … delicate and perfectly executed. I continue with a Sardinian inspired spagettino with capers, lime and mullet roe … a feast! I stop myself from cleaning my plate with a piece of bread. I also taste beef carpaccio [brilliantly paired with sweet pear], and an exquisite mini sized hamburger [loved the mustard seed potato puree]. I am amazed I still have room for dessert: a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate soufflé.
I finally get to meet Marco Stabile. He is a charismatic man, in a simpatico and approachable way. As a child, Marco picked up his love for cooking from his mother. Six years ago, in 2005, he started his own restaurant Ora d’Aria. Inspired by his training and his travels, Marco creates modern and exciting dishes bringing Tuscan cuisine into the 21st Century. It took him three years [without paying himself a salary!] to win over the hearts of the Florentines. At the end of our shoot I show Marco one of my portraits of him, with a smile he remarks ‘sembro un cuoco’ [I look like a chef]. A remarkable one: last week Marco’s Ora d’Aria received it’s first Michelin star.
Ora d’Aria, Via dei Georgofili 11R, Firenze, +39 055 2001699.