During our amazing Florence for Foodies tour we passed by Obika Mozzarella Bar, which just happened to be next to Procacci, the truffle store. Our guide Adrienne said it was the best restaurant in Florence for Mozzarella di Bufala. Since that happens to be our all time favorite summertime meal in the Misadventures household we swore right then and there to eat a meal there before we left.
Obika Mozzarella Bar Florence (there are other locations around the world including LA and NYC) is absolutely gorgeous! Part of the restaurant is in an amazing courtyard with stone that was very cooling on a hot day. I never went into the main part of the restaurant (since the terrace is in the front) but from what I saw, it is equally beautiful. It is a minimalist design with lots of natural light, glass, iron and light wood. I guess it is quite similar to how my own house is so I felt at home!
As pleasing to the eye as it was, I could not wait to devour the Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP. This type of mozzarella is a protected regional product from Southern Italy. In the U.S. (at least in the San Francisco Bay Area) we don’t get a huge variety when it comes to mozzarella di bufala (or buffalo as we call it), but there are different varietals and at Obika you can try them all. There is the Paestum with a very delicate taste, Volturno with a much stronger taste, Affumicata which is naturally smoked and what most people see in restaurants here, deliciously creamy Burrata.
Our choice (and it was hard to choose!) was Burrata Pomodorini served with Datterini tomatoes and basil pesto.
If you have never had this cheese, you need to put it on your “things to eat before you die” list. Buffalo milk has higher fat content (about twice the fat of cow milk) which makes it a lot more creamier. It is heartier, saltier, and more full-flavored than regular mozzarella cheeses and if you have the opportunity to try some, do it! It is pretty rare stuff in the U.S.
I am not sure if they were catering to foreigners (Adrienne said that the restaurant is extremely popular with the locals, the reason why we went for lunch instead of dinner, as it is notoriously busy and hard to get into at night) but the bread was delicious! As I mentioned in my Florence for Foodies tour post, most bread in Italy is not salted and as I am a bit of a salt-fiend, I don’t love it. However, with the bread at Obika, I wanted to eat the whole basket!
I definitely would have loved to have tried all four of the mozarellas, but we decided to order other items on the menu as well. Generally speaking I am not a huge fan of pizza, but the ones I do like are in Italy. I decided that this was going to be my best shot at a really good pizza, since the cheese was so amazing so I ordered Prosciutto Bazzone with premium dry-cured ham from Tuscany and Mozzarella di Bufala Campana DOP. Simple and delicious. The saltiness of the ham with the creaminess of the cheese, was a perfect combination.
One of the reasons that I loved this restaurant is that it is a Slow Food partner. That means they have made a commitment to support and protect local foods and the artisans that produce them. Little details like the pizzas being prepared with PETRA flour from Molino Quaglia, stone ground with the local soft wheat. As well as a focus on high quality like the fact that their dough is left to rise slowly for at least 48 hours. All these things produce exceptional cuisine.
Being part of the Slow Food community, Obika also uses seafood that is sustainably fished, so the Scialatielli di Gragnano ‘Pasta Gentile’ with tuna belly filets, tomatoes, capers, pine nuts and rocket that Mr. Misadventures ordered could be eaten with a clear conscious!
The other thing that I found to be fantastico! Amazing! And surprising. At Obika they do not use ANY garlic or onions! I do appreciate these two items, but eaten raw they give me a migraine and sometimes if it is just overused it will make me sick as well, so this was like a risk-free zone, one that I have never seen before!
What a treat and one of the best meals we had on our trip. Incredibly friendly staff, aesthetically pleasing decor and darn delicious food, when you are on vacation, can you really ask for more?
If you’d like to visit Obika Mozzarella Bar Florence it is located at Via de’ Tornabuoni 16.
How about you? Have you tried buffalo mozzarella? Do you like it? How have you eaten it? Comment and share, I’d love to chat!