If you don’t know it, you may not even see it: the Tabarín is a very special restaurant and cocktail bar nestled between Piazza Repubblica and the Duomo area. You will have to cross the door of Palazzo Ricci, and then again an anonymous glass door to find yourself transported to a world apart, which seems to come out of a Lynch film, with very high ceilings, deep velvet armchairs and a dim light that makes the figures inside look like faded, like in a dream.
The sole decoration, at the end of the entrance hall that doubles as a cocktail bar, is the illuminated bottle shelf and, on a pair of shelves on the wall, ancient busts and marble figurines that shine white in the dark. Everything else is red, with such an overload of colors that makes you feel catapulted to the set of the Moulin Rouge. The name Tabarín, as a matter of fact, comes from the Parisian universe: the Bal Tabarin was one of the city’s first night clubs.
Continuing beyond the bar, you enter the first room of the restaurant, also called the Red Room. Here the color palette is the same as in the first room, but in an even larger setting, decorated with heavy velvet drapes, works of art on the walls, imposing mirrors and candles that shine at the tables. Similar is the third and last room, which instead is entirely blue, accentuating even more the sense of elegance of yesteryear that you can strongly feel in the restaurant.
The dishes you find on the menu are refined yet simple. Among the starters, we recommend the beef fillet tataki, seared in sesame oil with yuzu sauce and black garlic and the tempura shrimp pearls with spicy sauce. The first courses, also extremely linear and made with fresh products, are mostly cooked with Cavaliere Coco artisan pasta. The garlic, olive oil and chilli spaghetti with Mazara shrimp tartare are delicious and so are the veal ragout paccheri with craft beer on Sienese pecorino fondue.
The Tuscan and the oriental meet with the second courses, which blend Asian condiments, such as the umeboshi sauce on top of the Iberian pluma, and traditional preparations, such as the veal cheek braised in Chianti. But there is also a good proposal of fish dishes, such as the slowly cooked salmon in sake, the codfish lomo with black chickpeas and friggitelli, and our favorite: the filet of umbrine.
After finishing the dinner with dessert, move to the bar where the mixologist will listen to your wishes and create a perfect cocktail for you, or rely on the creativity of the team and choose one of their Signature Cocktails that will delight you. When you leave the restaurant, it will be like waking up from a beautiful dream. But, at least this time, you will know that the dream is reality.