Bistecca + Pesce Acqua Pazza

Bistecca alla Fiorentina – what you need to know

Every Tuscan home cook is an authority on Bistecca alla Fiorentina, a traditional Florentine steak dish made with just five ingredients. The steak is typically seasoned with local spices and grilled over red-hot coals. The steak is usually from Chianina cattle, an ancient Tuscan breed known for its flavoursome and nutritious meat. It’s traditionally served rare, so trust us when we say, even if you don’t usually eat your meat rare, this one is a MUST to experience in all its rawness !

Here is everything you need to know about Bistecca Alla Fiorentina.


This recipe is said to be first created on farms in Florence Italy at the end of the 19th century when old or castrated cows were butchered.

The Guild of Butchers in Florence was highly respected. Throughout the Middle Ages and into the 17th century, Florentine butchers carried out all of their operations on the Ponte Vecchio. And do you know why? The butchers would slide their leftovers into the river water, which would flow towards the sea and carry them away from the beautiful bridge over the Arno.

It was Grand Duke Fedinando I de’ Medici who banished the butchers from the Ponte Vecchio because he was irritated by the horrible smell during his daily trips from Palazzo Pitti (the Medici palace) to Palazzo Vecchio (the seat of the Florentine government) via the Vasari Corridor, which passes over it.

What is A Porterhouse Steak?

A Porterhouse steak is a cut of beef from the short loin, fillet and tenderloin. It is considered to be one of the most flavourful, juicy, and expensive cuts on the cow because it includes two delicious steaks; a bone-in strip steak (the fillet) and a boneless New York Strip (the tenderloin). It is usually grilled or pan-seared for balanced flavours that please any palette.

The T-shaped bone that links the two cuts gives this steak its distinctive cut. Both the strip and tenderloin are extremely lean and delicate, making the porterhouse a truly unique dish to prepare.

What Is The Difference Between A T-Bone And Porterhouse Steak?

The distinction between a T-bone steak and a porterhouse is based on size. They’re both cuts of the same steak, taken from the short loin. The porterhouse, on the other hand, is larger because it comes from the bigger side of the tenderloin.

How to Choose A Porterhouse Steak For Bistecca alla Fiorentina

Because the size of the tenderloin fillet at its widest point determines whether a steak is classified to be a t-bone or porterhouse, it is possible that you may get a porterhouse that has a fillet that is thick in one spot but thin in others.

When selecting a porterhouse steak, the fillet’s size is critical (the smaller of the two sides). You want to get one that is uniform all the way through and gives you plenty of fillet.

Who wants to be robbed of their tenderloin? We sure don’t!

Marbling is another important thing to look for in your porterhouse steak.

If you didn’t already know, that’s the amount of tiny white flecks within the meat. The greater the marbling, the better your beef’s quality.

How to Grill Bistecca alla Fiorentina

The way Bistecca alla Fiorentina is grilled is what sets it apart from others. The steak for this dish is always cooked at a high heat.

A high temperature for that big of a steak you ask?

That’s the whole point.

Traditionally, Bistecca alla Fiorentina is cooked rare in the middle with a good crust on the outside.

The unique flavour of the meat is shown by the rareness inside meat, while the crust creates a lovely contrast to each bite with its caramelization.

It is an art to cook a Bistecca alla Fiorentina. The steak should always be cooked from room temperature and not from the refrigerator. Over a high heat, grilled for only 3–5 minutes on each side, turning it once, with no sauces.

The outside should be almost blackened, with grill lines from being over live charcoal (no gas or electric hobs here!) and the inside will be quite rare and only warm, not piping hot. A simple sprinkle of salt before serving is ideal. A perfect Bistecca alla Fiorentina won’t even need pepper, olive oil, or other seasonings.

How to Serve

It’s as simple as brushing it one last time with butter and herbs, then carving the cuts of steak away from the T-bone for a really unique and rustic appearance.

The choice of side dish is completely up to you. This already filling and nutritious steak is paired beautifully with any greens such as insalata (salad), broccolini, potatoes, creamy polenta and mixed roasted vegetables.

Fiorentina Bistecca alla Fiorentina - what you need to know


  • On both sides of the porterhouse steak press chopped rosemary then set on a plate and allow to sit and marinate for at least half an hour (1 hour preferred)
  • Prepare hickory hardwood charcoal for an outdoor barbecue and turn to high heat when the coals are white and glowing.
  • Rub or brush olive oil over the steak, then season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
  • Preheat your grill to high.Place the steak on the grill and let it cook until a dark, golden brown (not burnt) crust forms, 5 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness of meat. Turn over and continue cooking for 5 to 10 minutes until golden brown on the other side. Allow steak to rest for a few minutes before serving.
  • To serve, Trim any undesirable fat off of the round (tenderloin) steak, cutting it into 6 equal pieces at an angle along the grain. On the other side of the bone, fan out. Finally, garnish with lemon wedges and a sprinkling of additional sea salt if desired

If all this talk about the grand delicacy, la bistecca alla fiorentina is making your mouth water, then don’t wait any longer. Search “Italian restaurant near me” or stop into the best Italian restaurant, one of our many Italian restaurants sydney, Italian Street Kitchen for the best Bistecca you will ever eat !

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