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mogsob

Florence Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations

206 posts in this topic

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

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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.

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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

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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...

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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Il Ritrovo, 4 via di Pucci, 055/281688

April 2004. A disaster. I think we caught them on a really bad day. I knew we were in trouble from the time we walked in for dinner. The place was full but 95% tourists, like ourselves. Not a good sign. Most were still waiting for their food. Also not good. The manager and one waitress were attending to tables as best they could, but you could see the panic in their eyes.

It took over hour to get our food after seating. While waiting, two separate groups of musicians came in, performed for a few minutes and wouldn't leave the tables until they got a donation. I shared my foreboding with my wife.

We had pasta w/duck ragu, fagioli, and a 1 kg bistecca. Hmmm, not a hint of duck in the ragu. What could it be? The table beside us returned their pasta to the kitchen; not being boiled in hot enough water we overheard. The bistecca challenged the steak knives. Similar struggles in the other tables. The fagioli, to be fair, was good. The beans had a creamy texture, were served hot with a splash of olive oil. A good dish on a cold night. Our bread, however, was in cellophane packing. Expensive bistecca and wine list + 3 euro cover charge per person + separate service charge.

Oh well.

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Osteria Le Logge

Via del Porrione 33 (just off the Campo)

Siena

T: 0577/48-013

October, 2002

Very warm, friendly restaurant. I believe it was formerly a farmacia.

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Due to train schedules, two of our party of five had to leave early, so we booked the table at opening time (7:30). We ended up having the table for the whole evening and were under no pressure to turn it, despite a line out the door (of course, we were consuming heartily throughout)

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The malfatti are the house specialty and are very good. The chicken livers were outstanding.

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Rabbit and quail were winners for secondi (sorry about the blurry picture)

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Very nice panna cotta.

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Respectable, affordable wine list. Apparently, the owner also owns an enoteca near the restaurant.

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The owner, Gianni Brunelli, appears to be quite a character, too, keeping guests and staff alike pretty amused. In keeping with his former profession as communist union boss, the reception area features oversize photos of him w/Castro and, I believe, Le Duc Tho.

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Dinner for five (incl. cocktails and liberal grappa) ran about €250.

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Florence- An inexpensive, consistently good restaurant is Osteria De Benci. Via de Benci, 13r. Save room for the flourless chocolate cake.

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We had two incredible meals at Osteria Del Cinghiale Bianco:

www.cinghialebianco.it

Incredible food, great atmosphere and the owner was extremely friendly.

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Trattoria Il Caminetto

I would like to recommend this restaurant very highly. I have eaten there at least once on each of my last four stays in Florence during the past 14 years. The most recent visit was in May, 2004.

The restaurant is up one of the side streets from the south side of the Piazza Duomo. Two of us ate there for E51.70 including an antipasto and pasta each, wine, mineral water, and service. The meal was excellent.

The address is Via dello Studio 34r. The phone number is 055 2396274. However, we did not need reservations when we went there about 8: p.m. twice. The retaurant filled up rapidly on a weekend night.

Joan Schmelzle

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I am looking for three restaurants in Florence, with separate function rooms if necessary, that can seat 50-60 people and, most importantly of course, serve excellent food.

Having never been, I don't know what my chances are of finding three such establishments. Can anyone help?

This is for three evenings (a Wed, Thurs & Fri) in November.

Also, where does Florence fit into the gastronomic map of Italy? Having briefly been to Piedmonte, I sensed this region may have more to offer that Tuscany. Is there a " gourmet capital" type region as there is in the Catalan and Basque area of Spain for example?

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Great, thanks. Help would be much appreciated. The website looks great, perhaps we could incorporate something from Divina into one of the evenings as I wanted to have some kind of Italian, particularly Tuscan, gastronomic themed evening.

I will put together a list of the details tomorrow. Shall I send them to the email address on the Divina website?

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Also, in the mean time, does anyone know anything about the following restaurants that I have had brough to my attention (from a non-eG source I should add - so they may not be up to scratch):

Ristorante La Posta

Paszkowski

Ristorante Alle Murante (apparently more upmarket).

Finally, does anyone know anything about Hotel Fenice Palace where I will be staying (i.e. is it suitably near the city's gastronomic attractions)?

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Provisional details at this stage.

Dinner at 8.30 PM on:

Wed 16th Nov - 40-60 people, around 100 Euros per head (inc food & drinks). Maybe some rustic and simple fayre, typical of the Tuscan countryside.

Thurs 17th Nov - push the boat out night with up to 70 people, around 150 Euros per head with (the Italian equivalent of) haute cuisine - perhaps a tasting menu with a local, Florentine take on it. Maybe have some sort of chianti tasting event or food preparation demonstration or other local gastronomic theme. Open to ideas!

Fri 18th Nov - 40-60 people, aim around 100 Euros per head. Something a little different from the other two evenings and relatively straightforward, but no idea what!

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Here are some places we enjoyed in July 2004. Emily Wise Miller's

"Food Lover's Guide to Florence" was quite helpful, not only for

restaurants, but for wine stores, light meals, bakeries, and

gelato. Meals for the four of us cost from 35 euros (Trattoria Mario,

meat menu) to about 100 (Osteria Castelvecchio).

Trattoria Mario: everyone's favourite (we ate here three times). The

"market workers' canteen" ambience is gone; all the diners were

tourists. But the restaurant hasn't compromised its approach, and the

food is excellent for the price. Go at least twice, once for a regular

weekday lunch (the tagliata con rucola was excellent), and once on a

Friday, when they serve seafood.

Quattro Leoni: nice piazza setting, good service, and a treatment of

Tuscan classics that remains respectful while introducing some fresh

notes (e.g. fiaschette with fresh pear and Taleggio). A very pleasant

meal.

Cibreo Trattoria: also full of tourists (we were the only ones who

attempted to speak Italian) but the food made up for it: not flashy,

but very solid, with a quality I am tempted to call "clarity". A lot

has been written about this place, so I will just say that it lives up

to its reputation, and you can count on there being a number of

standards on the menu, plus a couple of daily specials.

Il Pizzaiuolo: across the street from Cibreo. The best pizza we had in

Florence, and the only one comparable to ones we had in Naples. Spring

for the mozzarella di bufala. Only drawback is no wine on the menu,

only beer (I don't really care for Italian beer).

Nerbone: Simply a great boiled-beef sandwich. My kids kept asking to

go back for breakfast.

Vecchia Bettola: Owned by the Nerbone people. They overdo the "rustic"

theme a bit, but the food is excellent, particularly the gnocchi

(called topini here; we had them with sugo di coniglio, or rabbit

sauce) and the roast duck. No English heard (maybe because it's way

out near the Porta San Frediano); waiters and kitchen (visible through

a small delivery window) were working pretty hard.

Osteria de Benci: An interesting menu, with dishes such as spaghetti

dell'ubriacone (boiled in red wine before being tossed with oil,

garlic, and pepperoncino) and large, well-garnished plates of grilled

meat. We were stuffed after primi and secondi.

(Siena) Osteria Castelvecchio: Creative food with a vegetarian

emphasis. This was our favourite restaurant when we spent a week in

Siena several years ago, and its quality has not dropped. Here's what

we had on the 25-euro tasting menu: crostini misti, but with a twist:

instead of chicken liver, these were all-vegetarian, with finely-diced

zucchini, spinach, eggplant, and peppers (intense and pleasant

tastes). Then came gazpacho, served with an ice cube in it (not

quite appropriate for the weather, which was cold and rainy, but it

tasted good). After that came two primi on one plate: penne in sweet

pepper sauce, and a risotto with diced zucchini and carrot. Then we

had slices of arista (roast pork) with an apple-prune compote, and a

slice of grilled beef with oregano. Dessert was a chocolate torte with

chunks of apples in it, and a scoop of some kind of citrus

mousse. Nice wine list, so I had a bottle of Castello del Poppiano

Riserva 1999 (Chianti Colli Fiorentini) instead of my usual carafe of

house red. Pleasant vaulted interior.

(Pisa) Osteria dei Cavalieri: A better meal than we had any right to

expect in touristy Pisa (which, once you get away from the

concentration of sights, is not that touristy after all). Genuinely

friendly service, good food (notably tagliatelle ai funghi porcini and

grilled squid), and a nice house white. You'll find it on the way from

the Campo dei Miracoli to the market. There are a couple of places in

the market piazza itself that looked good, but they were only open for

dinner.

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Villa San Michele

Fiesole (about a 20 minute cab ride from Florence)

See Villa San Michele's website

May 2003

Okay folks. This is very over the top but worth every penny. You don't have to stay here (although if you can, you should because at times it's been ranked one of the top 20 hotels in the world and deservedly so). Villa San Michele is an old Monastery whose facade was designed by Michael Angelo. Dining on the terrace overlooking all of Florence is a one of a kind experience and worth every penny but if your counting them, don't go. Smart casual for lunch - jacket and tie required for evening and ladies dress to the nines.

I'm not even going to begin to tell you what to order. It was all good and more artfully presented than anywhere I've been before or since.

Visit the website and look at the menu - they also offer a cooking school for guests.


Edited by Cucina (log)

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IL LATINI

Via dei Palchetti 6/r, Florence, Italy

Phone: 055/210916

May 2003

This is a family style restaurant that was recommended by a friend but I accidentally stumbled by it when I was shopping and had lunch. They had a fixed price lunch menu that day with various choices - all wholesome and hearty - well prepared, fairly priced. They have a magnum bottle of Chianti on the table and it's help yourself.

The best part about this restaurant - especially if you are travelling by yourself or with just one other person - is that they have a community table where they seat odd numbered guests. This turned out to be the highlight of my whole trip. May is Florence's highly regarded music festival and I ended up seated across from a world famous conductor who was in town to direct Mozart's La Clemenza Di Tito. I ended up scoring tickets to the opera, seats in the President's box and an after opera dinner invitation at the French Cultural Ambassador's home. Can't guarantee you'll have the same luck, but it's certainly worth trying.

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