Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Florence Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


  • Please log in to reply
205 replies to this topic

#31 DaleJ

DaleJ
  • participating member
  • 324 posts

Posted 10 November 2003 - 01:39 PM

I was in Florence last February for four days. I ate at Il Ritrovo four times. Food and wine were great, but I think it was Rosetta that brought me back.

#32 oscubic

oscubic
  • participating member
  • 30 posts

Posted 11 November 2003 - 12:04 PM

Il Ritrovo was almost full, but able to accomidate a single diner (myself) without a wait for a somewhat late lunch last week. I was also the only non-Italian. Possibly due to the communication barrier, they were reluctant to sell me a bistecca below 1 kg, not even at the 600g mark that seems to be the standard for most Florentine restaurants. I politely insisted, and although they seemed doubtful of my ability to finish it (and said "no primi for you" or something to that effect), they relented and served me my 2.2 lb steak. I sense that being of somewhat less than imposing stature and asian suggested to them that I was one of the many Japanese tourists in the area that happened to wander in by mistake. Evidently they have never seen footage the skinny hot dog eating champion. At any rate I finished my steak with much gusto and satisfaction (delicious, as reviewed earlier), they seemed happy and relieved, comped my wine, and I didn't need to eat for the next 22 hours or so, except some gelato to ease it all down. Bravo to the bistecca!

#33 MarkinHouston

MarkinHouston
  • participating member
  • 269 posts

Posted 15 February 2004 - 07:27 PM

As an aside to Schielke's thread in which Pan provides some excellent information regarding Florence itself, I would like some ideas regarding day trips. We will have about 8 days in Florence, and we want to venture out in several directions: to Arezzo, Siena, Lucca, and Bologna.

I have read that the bus is the best transport to Siena, and I would expect the train to Bologna is fastest. But my primary concern is whether a one day round trip to Bologna via public transportation is worthwhile--if the last train leaves at 2030 and my only dinner reservations are at 2100, we have a problem. My wife wants to go to Arezzo, so I have no input on that one! We have been to Siena and could probably survive on a quick trip ino town. Lucca may present the same issues as Bologna--does bus/train travel really allow for a one-day trip from Florence, or will a rental car ameliorate the situation? Thanks.

#34 Pan

Pan
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 15,544 posts
  • Location:East Village, Manhattan

Posted 15 February 2004 - 07:43 PM

Lucca is easy: 1 hour by train, many trains. I'm having trouble finding a website that will easily provide you train schedules, though. No doubt, someone has it bookmarked.

#35 cmvnapa

cmvnapa
  • participating member
  • 91 posts

Posted 16 February 2004 - 05:53 AM

I don't know if this is the easiest one, but www.trenitalia.com is one resource.

#36 dls

dls
  • participating member
  • 383 posts
  • Location:Chicago IL / Sarasota FL

Posted 16 February 2004 - 07:50 AM

I don't know if this is the easiest one, but www.trenitalia.com is one resource.

To the best of my knowledge, it's the only (and probably official) resource. All other sites that I'm aware of eventually link back to Trenitalia.

Trains between Firenze and Bologna are numerous and depart about every 30 minutes or so. Travel time is about an hour.

When I do a day trip to Bologna, I generally leave about 09:00 - long lunch around 15:00 - return around 19:00.

If I recall correctly, the last train from Bologna back to Firenze departs around 22:30

#37 "T"

"T"
  • participating member
  • 356 posts
  • Location:off Commercial

Posted 16 February 2004 - 11:48 AM

I had the same problem with both Bologna and Lucca. Remedy, a good lunch, a long stroll afterwards and a beautful evening back in Florence.
slowfood/slowwine

#38 Antonio Galloni

Antonio Galloni
  • legacy participant
  • 8 posts

Posted 16 February 2004 - 02:22 PM

Unless you are really patient, I would highly discourage you from renting a car to go from Florence to Bologna. Both cities are highly congested. In Florence you have many one way streets that can be a nightmare if you don't know your way around. Bologna is often besieged with trade show traffic. The train is definitely the best way to go. The bus to Siena from Florence is convenient and cheap, it leaves from a terminal off ot the side of the train station.

A car is essential if you want to see the countryside outside Florence, which is beautiful.

Outside Florence are several fashion outlets. If your wife like Prada, take her to the Prada outlet in Montevarchi, 80k south of Florence and near Arezzo. Warning: you will be there for a while.

I have never enjoyed Lucca. I find it overly tourisy and completely lacking in charm, especially compared to the other nearby towns, which are still heavily touristed but much more pleasant. Lucca is good if you want to go to the opera at nearby Torre del Lago.

Best,

Antonio

#39 Pan

Pan
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 15,544 posts
  • Location:East Village, Manhattan

Posted 16 February 2004 - 04:14 PM

One warning about the bus from Florence to Siena: Do not take the "Diretto"; it's the slowest route! Take the bus that says "Via Cassia." From what I remember, the trip lasts just about 1 hour.

#40 vigna

vigna
  • participating member
  • 61 posts

Posted 16 February 2004 - 04:27 PM

Another site for getting train schedules all over Eruope is run by Deutsche Bahn. The address for running searches in English is: http://reiseauskunft...?datesel=custom

Bologna, Pisa, Arezzo, Lucca, and Siena are all reached by train from Florence. Bologna, the furthest, actually has the most frequent service (up to twice an hour) and is reached fastest (except for Arezzo) in a bit less than an hour usually (high speed trains and fewer stops). Service to the other cities mentioned is about once an hour and can take from 40 minutes (Arezzo) to an hour and a half (Siena). Last trains back to Florence leave at 21:51 (Lucca), 21:22 (Siena), 22:47 (Arezzo), and 22:46 (Bologna). Be sure to check the schedules once in Florence.

The train would be a very good way to get to Bologna, Arezzo, and Lucca, but the Arezzo train station is not well located with respect to the old part of the town (neither is the station in Siena). For other sites in Tuscany, a car is really necessary. A drive from Florence to Siena through the Chianti region is really wonderful. The towns are atmospheric, food is good, and one can stop at various cantinas to try wine. Another town not accessible by train is San Gimignano, definitely worth a day. An advantage of driving to Arezzo is that you can extend the drive to Sansepolcro and Monterchi to see additional paintings and frescos by Pierro di Francesca. South of Siena, nice drives include Montepulciano and Montalcino. So I would really recommend at least a few days with a car -- perhaps making Siena or a town in Chianti as a center for this part of a stay rather than staying exclusively in Florence.

One final comment. I am surprised by Antonio Galloni's negative reaction to Lucca. I find Lucca really enchanting -- a completely medieval town surrounded entirely with an intact wall; several wonderful unaltered romanesque churches; a Roman arena site that has been converted into houses; and several fine restaurants.

#41 Pan

Pan
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 15,544 posts
  • Location:East Village, Manhattan

Posted 16 February 2004 - 05:02 PM

I enjoyed my visit to Lucca, too. The atmosphere was peaceful and relaxed, but it was some time ago (1991!), and perhaps now the place is much more overrun than it was then.

Many smaller towns will doubtless be reachable by bus, too, but the schedules may be problematic. When you get to Florence, have a look at schedules at the bus station right next to the Santa Maria Novella Train Station.

#42 robert brown

robert brown
  • legacy participant
  • 2,239 posts
  • Location:New York/Nice

Posted 16 February 2004 - 05:52 PM

Doesn't the ENIT have a website? It's the Italian train system. It worked okay for me recently.

#43 Antonio Galloni

Antonio Galloni
  • legacy participant
  • 8 posts

Posted 16 February 2004 - 06:41 PM

The bus to take to Siena is a blue bus, similar to a Greyhound bus in the US. It goes non stop from Florence to Siena in 45-60 minutes.

Antonio

#44 magnolia

magnolia
  • participating member
  • 978 posts

Posted 10 March 2004 - 02:45 AM

Will be in Florence this weekend, Friday morning through Monday evening - anyone want to go for a gelato, PM me.

#45 hathor

hathor
  • participating member
  • 2,691 posts
  • Location:New York, Montone, Italy

Posted 10 March 2004 - 07:27 AM

I can only be there in spirit. Have a wonderful, wonderful, rain free weekend!!!

#46 magnolia

magnolia
  • participating member
  • 978 posts

Posted 11 March 2004 - 01:36 AM

Thanks !
Rain or shine, it will be fun. And fattening.

#47 divina

divina
  • participating member
  • 712 posts
  • Location:Florence Italy

Posted 11 March 2004 - 02:07 AM

Ciao
I live here in Florence, but will be teaching on Saturday... Sunday will be going to the Santa Spirito Flea market
here is my Florence's Ice Cream Guide

You must go to Vestri!!! he is a chocolate maker and his ice cream is kept in the cans in the counter!!! the BEST love the chocolate and chili!!!

#48 ghostrider

ghostrider
  • participating member
  • 1,754 posts
  • Location:swamps of Jersey

Posted 11 March 2004 - 11:26 PM

We had a rental car in Florence - had picked it up in Rome, worked our way north, kept it in Florence for a couple of days before dropping it off there so that we could do some day trips.

Parking was trickier than the one-way streets, but I have an uncanny sense of how to get around. I wound up using a commercial parking garage near our pensione.

We did wonderful day trips to San Gimignano - vigna is absolutely correct above - & to Volterra, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I found the Etruscan gate at Volterra spellbinding, I was transfixed.
Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

#49 ghostrider

ghostrider
  • participating member
  • 1,754 posts
  • Location:swamps of Jersey

Posted 11 March 2004 - 11:29 PM

Do I want to? O god yes!

But I'm in New Jersey at the moment..... :wacko:
Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

#50 divina

divina
  • participating member
  • 712 posts
  • Location:Florence Italy

Posted 12 March 2004 - 12:56 AM

Easy daytrips..
for one thing, with daytrips, make lunch your big meal out! Almost everything shuts down at lunch time, so it makes sense.
Bologna is a fabuluos day trip, I love their market outdoors between the buildings off the Piazza.. and the food!

Chianti can be reached by bus.. Greve has a great new winetasting cantina hidden near the Coop grocery store..a fabulous experience for wine lovers!
you get a prepaid card.. 10,20 Euro, are handed a glass.. and go to one of the round tables with 14 wines, and push a button and are give a 1 oz tasting of a wine, this can cost from 30 cents to 8 Euro!

There is more info on my site.

Both Lucca and Arezzo are easy train day trips. ( Depending when you are there, they are both towns that have incredible antique markets on the weekend. Arezzo the first Sunday and the Satruday before and Lucca the Third Sunday and the Satruday before)

Again LUNCH!
It is easy to dine in Florence at night even lightly after a large lunch!

Edited by divina, 12 March 2004 - 01:00 AM.


#51 Marco_Polo

Marco_Polo
  • participating member
  • 457 posts
  • Location:Devon, England

Posted 12 March 2004 - 01:46 AM

An easy day trip is to visit the wine zone of Carmignano. You can rent bicycles and cycle to Artemino (big climb to the top helps work up a healthy appetite), visit the Medici villa, and enjoy lunch in a sensational restaurant not to be missed, Da Delfina. Also visit Poggio a Caiano (another Medici villa), Carmignano itself (worth popping into the Church of San Michele to see the famous but weird mannerist 'Visitation' by Pontormo), Etruscan tombs in Comeana on the Calvria wine estate, the Cappezzana wine estate (appointment necessary for visit), and the wine estate of Bacchereto, which also has a great farmhouse restaurant, the Cantina di Toia, located in the house Lucia di Zosa, Leonardo da Vinci's maternal grandmother. Good traditional foods, some cooked in woodfired bread oven, and great wines.

The Chianti Rufina wine zone, to the north of Florence, is also worth visiting. Far less visited than the Chianti Classico, it is located on a steep balcony of hills and is stunning countryside combined with sensational and still somewhat undervalued wines. The Museo della Vite e del Vino in Rufina itself is a good point of reference.

Just outside of Florence, it's worth the trip to Lastra a Signa to eat at the Antica Trattoria Sanesi for authentic, well prepared bistecca alla fiorentina in a typical Tuscan eating house.

MP

#52 divina

divina
  • participating member
  • 712 posts
  • Location:Florence Italy

Posted 13 March 2004 - 11:58 AM

WOW complementi!
you bike to Delfina's from Florence!!!
The wines from Carmignano are fabulous as is the tour of capezzana!
It is a great day trip.. but I am a car babe for that!

I do like Lucca.. and if you have a car.. there is the fabulous restaurant outside going up towards the hills called La Mora.

#53 divina

divina
  • participating member
  • 712 posts
  • Location:Florence Italy

Posted 16 March 2004 - 02:11 PM

Small world! Little did I know that Magnolia was a friend of a friend I was meeting! :raz:

#54 docsconz

docsconz
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 9,806 posts
  • Location:Upstate NY

Posted 16 March 2004 - 03:16 PM

Life is full of little serendipities, although I find they are more common in Italy!
John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."
- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

#55 magnolia

magnolia
  • participating member
  • 978 posts

Posted 16 March 2004 - 03:24 PM

Small world! Little did I know that Magnolia was a friend of a friend I was meeting! :raz:

Yes, that was me! Have just been nibbling on that fantastic mostarda di albicocca and cheese you introduced us to !! More later...

#56 Craig Camp

Craig Camp
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,274 posts
  • Location:Napa Valley

Posted 08 April 2004 - 09:21 AM

Please post your personal reviews of restaurants in Florence and Siena here. This is not meant to be a debate about individual restaurants but a compendium of dining experiences. The more detailed these descriptions are the better. If you wish to debate a particular restaurant or dish please start a new thread for that discussion.

Make the first line of the post only the name of the restaurant. Phone and fax numbers are always appreciated and be sure to include the date of your experience. Please make each restaurant an individual post and you are encouraged to update your comments on your post (with date) as you visit these restaurants again.
<a href='http://www.cornerstonecellars.com' target='_blank'>Cornerstone Cellars, Napa Valley</a>

#57 Craig Camp

Craig Camp
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 3,274 posts
  • Location:Napa Valley

Posted 08 April 2004 - 09:36 AM

Florence Teatro del Sale, Fabio Picchi of Cibreo's new space
<a href='http://www.cornerstonecellars.com' target='_blank'>Cornerstone Cellars, Napa Valley</a>

#58 cmben

cmben
  • participating member
  • 31 posts

Posted 15 April 2004 - 06:19 PM

Ristorante Mugolone Via dei Pellegrini, 8-12 Siena Tel: 0577-283235/283039
Perhaps my favorite in Siena. Small, elegant dining room with gracious service. My Veal chop was the best I have ever had and the fresh pasta w/ truffles was, in all its simplicity, perfect. I'll be back in Tuscany this June and nothing will keep me away from visiting again. :rolleyes:

#59 ericeric

ericeric
  • participating member
  • 22 posts
  • Location:Manila

Posted 03 May 2004 - 08:09 PM

Sostanza detto il Troia, via Porcellana 25 r, Phone: 055.212691

April 2004. One of the best steaks we've had. Sostanza's was recommended on this board and did not disappoint. They have two seatings for dinner, 7:30 and 9:00pm. Went there on a wednesday night with a reservation and it was full. We had to share a table with some locals, who were quite friendly. We each had a 700g porterhouse, some vino tavola, and sliced florentine tomatoes w salt and olive oil, and some bread. Steak was crusty, crunchy and salty on the outside and rare, tender, juicy and sweet on the inside. I've not been to Peter Luger's but wife has. I've been to Del Friscos in texas, mortons, and a bunch of others though. This was really excellent. My wife rarely finishes steaks, but demolished this one. Sostanza's feels like a small, friendly, neighborhood restaurant. Lots of locals, but a few tourists also. Probably a good idea to reserve.

#60 ericeric

ericeric
  • participating member
  • 22 posts
  • Location:Manila

Posted 03 May 2004 - 08:42 PM

Nebrone, Mercato Nuovo

April 2004. This is a stall on one end of the main Florence food market. I understand its an institution. They serve fagioli, sausages, trippa, ribollita and other local dishes either to eat there or to go. The ribollita and fagioli were so-so. People were lining up for the sandwiches, so that's what we had. A guy slices a hard roll, dunks half in broth, spears a chunk of bollito (boiled beef) or lampredotto from the pot, slices it and puts it on the bread, and puts salsa verde and salsa piccante. The bollito was not bad. The lampredotto was really good, if you are into this stuff. My wife isn't and liked it. I liked it a lot. Its an unidentifiable kind of tripe, and seems more tender than the normal variety. Prices were very reasonable. It's not easy to get seating, so you may have to eat standing up.

The mercato is worth going to by the way. Loads of fresh produce, meat, fresh pasta, and mushrooms. We stayed in a apartment a few blocks away. We like to cook with local ingredients whenever we travel, so we went a couple times. It's also a good place to stock up for salumi, balsamico, olive oil and dried mushrooms. Prices were much better than Rome, Milan or Venice. Its not good for seafood as you'd expect. Venice was better for seafood.