Celebrated Tuscan chef Valeria Piccini took over the fine dining restaurant at the St. Regis hotel in 2014 and was soon awarded a Michelin star. Dividing her time between the St. Regis and her famous restaurant ‘Da Caino’ in the Maremma, Piccini has brought a touch of true class to Florence’s gourmet dining scene. She is known for her fresh, clever interpretations of seasonal Tuscan recipes and her menu at the sumptuous Winter Garden doesn’t disappoint. I was lucky enough to eat here recently and was blown away by her creative riff on a traditional ‘panzanella’ (a kind of bread salad) that included stuffed baby squid, a piquant ‘salsa verde’ and flash-fried black cabbage, an earthy plate of pasta with hare and wild mushroom ragù and roast pigeon with caramelized figs. Desserts, like this play on a typical zuccotto, are to die for. The wine list has all the old favourites but plenty of curiosities too: knowledgeable sommelier Mirko Eutizi will help you find your way around it. The bill is less painful that you might expect for food and service of this level, but all the same, this is a place for a special occasion.