Via della Condotta
Yes, it’s strange to be eating Chinese food in Florence, but we had with us S, who was quite sick, and wanted some Chinese food, so we asked around, and were directed to Il Mandarino, along Via della Condotta. The first time we were there we had take out, since S was back in the hostel room resting. We got her some wonton soup and a seafood noodle soup. While waiting we chatted with the waiter, and we discovered that Il Mandarino is the only Chinese restaurant in the neighbourhood. They rely a lot on tour groups from China and Japan who go there for meals. Their location is quite unbeatable, literally a stone’s throw from the Uffizi, and so rental is extremely high.
We can’t comment on the quality of the take away, since we didn’t eat any of it. In any case, we told them that the food was meant for our friend who was sick, so they made sure that they prepared the food with minimal salt and minimal oil.
The next day we went there for lunch, since S was still quite under the weather. We were there before opening hours, but they let us in anyway. Sure enough there were 3 tour groups there for lunch while we ate. The servers were all really nice, and wouldn’t stop apologizing for any shortcomings in service or service times since they were really busy catering to the tour groups. This was truly night and day from the horrible service one would get in a Chinese restaurant in London.
The food was quite average unfortunately. The Cantonese fried rice that S had was quite nice, though she did complain that it was a little to oily and salty.
I ordered the seafood noodle soup, and there was obviously a dash of vinegar added to the soup, which I didn’t really like.
A had steamed rice with tofu, which was really yummy and satisfying, and also some sweet and sour pork, which was also quite nice.
Overall, the food isn’t anything to rave about. They clearly don’t rely on repeat business since they cater mainly to tour groups, who have no choice of restaurants, and go along with whichever restaurant the tour company has decided on. However, we were very impressed by the service and by how accommodating they were to our requests. It is for this reason alone that we have included this review in our blog.