Fiorentini offers Italian farm-to-table cuisine in Rutherford
TAlthough they never met growing up, the owners of Fiorentini in Rutherford are both from Florence, Italy. In fact, Antonio and Brenda De leso didn’t meet until they were both in New York. Now the couple are bringing a taste of their roots in Rutherford, NJ with their new restaurant, Fiorentini. (The Italian word for the citizens of Florence.)
The 1,800-square-foot Fiorentini can seat 49 indoor diners, though they plan to open an outdoor garden by the summer. The restaurant emphasizes sustainability and Brenda knew exactly what she was looking for. âI wanted to create a warm, comfortable and elegant environment without being pretentious,â she says. âThe restaurant is a reflection of who we are as people. “
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Fiorentini features lush vegetation made of natural moss to reflect the concept of sustainability. In fact, this greenery is pretty much everywhere, even the toilets! âI wanted to create something that was visually appealing,â says Brenda. Plus, customers can watch the chefs in action via the show kitchen. âWe wanted the kitchen to be transparent to customers and encourage employees to be clean and organized,â she adds.
An authentic Italian menu
The restaurant’s modest menu changes with the seasons, because âit’s based on what the earth gives us in each season,â says Brenda. Overall, she describes the food as Italian with a modern, global twist. âWe wanted to stay true to our roots,â she also says. In other words, you will only find authentic Italian dishes such as Pappa al pomodoro at this family-run place.
However, they prepare fresh ingredients every morning. To fully understand this point, Fiorentini doesn’t even have a freezer. âWe don’t store anything and don’t have any leftovers,â Brenda says. If they have anything left at the end of the day, they give it to the needy locals. In particular, they are delivered twice a week from a farm that does not use any chemicals. During this time, they only use wild fish. âIt’s important to know where your food comes from,â Brenda says. “This is our priority, and we wanted to share this at Fiorentini.”
Favorites on the current menu include the most requested item, the Mediterranean octopus starter; as well as wild halibut and tagliatelle starters. As for dessert, they serve a tiramisu with a caramelized banana inside. âIt gives the banana a boost,â says Brenda. They also serve Tuscan bombolongcini, a traditional Italian dessert made from small donuts to dip in cream. Click here to see the full menu.
About the owners
Antonio was fired from his role as executive chef at the Metropolitan Opera at the start of the COVID epidemic. Brenda, a producer and event planner for 15 years, was also laid off. âOur restaurant was born out of difficult times,â says Brenda. “We thought it was time to give it a go.” The couple live in Cedar Grove, but chose Rutherford because it perfectly complements the Fiorentini concept.
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Yes, they take reservations through Resy.
Yes, they do serve gluten free options.
Fiorentini offers vegetarian options, yes.
They don’t offer take out, no.
They don’t offer delivery, no.
No, but they are BYOB.
No, but they can respond to requests.
All photos: Â© Fiorentini