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Florence Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


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Best?

Best????

Great, indeed. Yes! But them's fighting words. Depends upon how much fat you're in the mood for.

I am partial to the arrista sold over a small counter in a narrow little place once occupied by the esteemed S. Piero Maggiore where the Abbess Mother housed the newly elected archbishop of Florence overnight and ceremoniously married him the next day to seal his fidelity to the city.

More modest even is the Dottoressa Silvia at the Bar degli Amici, down a ways on a long street to the left of Piazza San Marco. The orange peel in the olive tapenade with the thin slice of veal is pretty damn good and sometimes, I am sorry, sometimes, spinaci e mozzarella is just the thing and don't make me cry thinking about the fried zucchini blossoms with prosciutto cotto at that fru-fru little joint facing Palazzo Rucellai.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Oh, I almost forgot Via Tintori, the guys with black t-shirts proclaiming divine preference of wine over water as the beverage of choice for his human creatures. Their arista is excellent and they'll cross the street to their own friggitoria to fetch some really fried zucchini blossoms.

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Best?

Best????

Great, indeed.  Yes!  But them's fighting words.  Depends upon how much fat you're in the mood for.

Yeah, you heard right. You want a piece o' me? Come on and get it...

Anyway, I can't claim to have anything like a comprehensive knowledge of sandwiches in Florence. But this one is really elegant in its simplicity, and noteworthy for its groundedness in local tradition. I'd argue that this has to be a better Florentine sandwich than the best spinach and mozzarella sandwich, just because as good as mozzarella is, it ain't Tuscan. The arista is a different story, I grant you, and is probably terrific. But everybody knows that the best pork sandwich in Italy is porchetta from Ariccia. (He says, looking for another fight...)

And as a bonus, Nerbone is right near the train station! So even if you don't want to deal with the city, if your train is going through there, you can just jump off, get a sandwich, and be back in time for the next train...

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I'm gonna have to profess my undying love for the vini fratellini here - a florentine sandwich of a whole other order.

Not far off via calzaiulo yet a world away from the hordes, sip a glass of wine, cozy up to a stoop and enjoy a little sandwich (for 2.10) I like the Caprino e Cinghiale Piccante, the lady's all for the pomodoro e mozzarella, they make about twenty different kinds - two ingredients each - purity on a bun.

"There never was an apple, according to Adam, that wasn't worth the trouble you got into for eating it"

-Neil Gaiman

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  • 3 weeks later...
I am going to Florence (Italy - in case there's another...) and visiting the Galleria d'Accademia.  I wonder if someone knows and likes a restaurant near there for lunch?  (via Ricosoli)

Thanks, Deb

I can't think of a place near there for lunch but one of the best meals I have ever had was at Il Ritrovo in Florence. I'm sure you will find other recommendations for it in a search on this site.

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1. I don't know any restaurants in the vicinity of the Accademia; doesn't mean there aren't any, but I don't know Florence well.

2. I do know a wonderful gelateria right down the street from the Accademia: Carabe, at 60R Via Ricasoli. It's a Sicilian gelateria, and the thing to get there (especially if it's spring or fall) is the granita. I had a peach granita there that was really wonderful, and a pineapple granita that was almost as good.

3. Florence is not a big city, and while the Accademia is on the edge of the tourist zone, it's still not too far. Unless you have mobility issues, you would probably be fine eating in a more central location.

4. (This is a general FYI, not directed at any one person, really.) For the last two or three months, Google Maps has been working for Europe (or at least for Italy). It's not perfect-- it won't always give house numbers, and it gets very confused by Venice, though who doesn't?-- but it's still very useful. You can use it to get an idea of locations. Here is a link to Via Ricasoli.

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" It's been awhile since my last trip to Florence, but I think Il Bronzini is in that area. I'm not even sure they're open for lunch, but the food was very good."

Good memory! I checked my DK Eyewitness Guide to Florence. The Accademia is in section D4 on its map of Florence. La Taverna del Bronzino (which I'm assuming is the same as Il Bronzini) is recommended by the guidebook. It's located in section D3, on grid north of the museum, specifically on the Via della Ruote of the same map. This road extends through the lower half of section D3.

The OP should know that north is away from the main attractions. The Duomo, Palazzos Medici-Riccardi and Pucci -- among others -- are south of the Accademia so it may not make the most sense to eat head north for lunch.

Our first trip to Florence, we stumbled upon Carabe which has already been mentioned. We were heading to the Accademica, and we were already hot and thirsty despite the early hour. We stopped in because they had a cooler of bottled water near the front door and cool water was what we needed. Once inside, our plans changed. We saw the clippings about the place we ordered granita in spite of the time.

Conversation overheard in Rome:

Wife to husband: What do you want to do about breakfast?

Husband: Get some gelato.

Wife: Gelato for breakfast?

Husband: It's our last day in Italy. I'm going to have gelato for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And if I feel like it I may have some gelato in between.

Indy 67

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Great conversation, Indy67!

The center of Florence is quite compact, and besides, the line starting at the door of the Accademia might inspire you to duck down a side street for a little peace and quiet.

For good advice about places to eat in Florence, neighborhood by neighborhood, see Divina's web site. She lists one near the Accademia, but I've linked something on a small street on the opposite side of the Duomo that I think you might like: Coquinarius. It's charming, friendly, and the salads are nothing like the ones dainty ladies order. Once the greens have cooled you down after the muggy heat, if the Gorgonzola tossed with the leaves isn't enough, there is cheesecake with your name on it...just leave room for the gelato you'll need before you go see David.

Look around you when you are there, though. One of the best Italian traditions is lunch in (coffee) bars where you can get crostini, bowls of pasta, panini and sometimes a good deal more. Just don't go into any of the places that are clearly established for tourists, especially around the train station or via Calzaiuoli, the "main street" in the center of Florence that is via Cavour on the left (facing the Duomo) and Calzaiuoli on the right, leading into Piazza della Signoria, the Uffizi, etc. It's the one with Footlocker and The Disney Store.

Be sure to go to the Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco for dinner one night. You'll find further details under the "Oltrano" neighborhood listings on Divina's site.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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My dining guide online is site specific for Florence!

of course if I was going for lunch would stay light and go somewhere like oliandolo for a wine bar sort of lunch and carabe for granita.. or gelato!

But as has been mentioned, florence is small and walkable.

Also no reason not to ehad back to the Central Market Area( san Lorenzo). or the Duomo!

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  • 2 months later...

Did you check out "Florence/Siena an eGullet Restaurant Guide," pinned at the top of this forum?

Lucky you, to be going to Tuscany. Buon appetito e buon divertimento!

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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I'm jealous: we lived in Siena for a year back in 2000 and it is high time to go back.

When we were there, we ate out constantly (as you would), and well this is our list of frequent visitees:

Hosteria Il Carroccio. I used to eat here when my girlfriend was unavailable for dining. The nettle soup and pici were my usuals.

Osteria la Chiacchera, Costa di Sant'Antionio 4.

We used to call this place "chica chica" when we lived there and eventually ended up going there on a weekly basis for their stracotto and beans. They didn't speak any English when we were here last...

Enoteca I Terzi This was one of the more adventurous restaurants in town wen we lived there, don't know how much things have changed, but...we probably ate here more than any other restaurant in town. Great, huge wine list; nice cheeses; frequently changing menu, and a very laid-back atmosphere that encourages you to hang all night.

Pub Kroeg. Via Pian d'Ovile n.70. This was one of the two bars we hung out in, and this one had the better food...namely, the best pizza in town. Not Neapolitan-style, though: these are called ciaccini. The rucola/apple/gorgonzola is pined for this very minute. If that's not enough to lure you, they serve Belgian beers as well.

Most of all, though....we miss this rosticceria we went to on the way back from school every day. We don't know the name, but they have both grilled and fried polenta slices; arancini; saltimbocca di pollo; roasted chicken;

+++

Common guidebook recs that we'd skip if we were you because the food is unremarkable and there's at least one other random defect: Papei (truly bizarre service unless you sit outside); Da Divo (really uncomfortable dining room); La Torre (another weird dining room/service experience).

Edited by markemorse (log)
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Writing in the capacity of a participating member, I am pinning this response to a query made some time ago, altering it slightly to suit new location, make it more legible (i.e. by getting rid of the light blue font of citations), add a link, etc.

I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO MAKE THE FOLLOWING PLEA :shock: :

If you are reading these pinned recommendations, you already know that this is the first place to go in looking for advice as you're planning a visit or a move.

Second: Try to conduct a few searches to find previous threads that also ask where to eat, shop or take cooking classes in Florence or your other destinations. You may find either that you no longer feel the need to start a new thread, or that it is more convenient to bump up an old thread by tagging on a request for fresh recommendations.

You'll also find threads on sub-categories of interest such as

*bringing children to restaurants in Italy,

*Best Sandwiches (quite important for Florence)

*The Central Market (Mercato Centrale)

*The Traditional Italian Meal

*Student blogs of Ore and Hathor, eGullet members who travelled as they explored Italian food.

Third: Do note that during 2005 the forum's current Specialist spent a year cooking regional dishes of Italy. Check out Kevin72's very long thread. It has its very own index that will send you directly to Tuscan dishes he prepared; there is a bibliography, too.

During 2006, eGullet members collaborated in renewing Kevin's venture. The tour may continue in 2007. Look for threads that begin: "The Cooking and Cuisine of...." Florentine specialties should be covered in November 2006 along with other Tuscan dishes. This will acquaint you with kinds of dishes you might wish to sample during your trip.

Still have a question that goes unanswered? Then, please post a new thread since your query may benefit others.

FINALLY: Please, please express your gratitude for this resource by reciprocating. Report on your trip. Add updates and new discoveries in a relevant thread in the forum or start your own thread. Please pin it here.

Especially if you were disappointed by the lack of helpful suggestions or nature of advice, know that the reason there was little here to help you is because others did not document their experiences either.

[Pontormo,Nov 30 2005, 12:27 PM]

Always consult divina's Web site where you'll find recommendations organized by location and new discoveries. Some of the best places to go are outside the city proper: Divina Cucina.

The following includes places you may also find on her site. It's slightly modified from something I wrote in response to frequent requests from a younger set headed off to Florence:

Osteria del cinghiale bianco Borgo San Jacopo, 43/r [r = red; street #s are red for commercial establishments or n (nero/black) for residential addresses]. The White Boar. This is my personal favorite if the neighboring Cammillo is the more elegant (pricey) establishment. On the Oltrarno, a street running parallel to the Arno, right behind the bank of the river. Fairly close to Ponte Santa Trinita, to the left, heading toward the Palazzo Pitti. (On the corner is a high-class "deli".) While their Web site says they accept Visa cards, I seem to recall they require cash only, at least in summer. Staff very warm and helpful, especially when your party includes a 5-year old Chinese girl. Great ragu made with wild boar. Great spinach. Almost as friendly with women dining alone. Reservations.

Acqua al due Via Vigna Vecchia, 40/r To left of Santa Croce's belltower. One of two co-owned restaurants across from one another. Fairly new and popular. When figs are in season, their antipasto salami con fichi is incredible. Best known for pizza and very good primi [1st courses, though it is perfectly acceptable these days to order pasta as a main dish in all but the most elegant restaurants].

Gilda Bistro Piazza Ghiberti 40-41r. Next door to Cibreo, also off Sant' Ambrogio Market. Small. Reservations at night. Fabulous grilled porcini (these mushrooms are eaten like steak in Tuscany). Ravishing desserts if you have room.

La Capponcina Outside of the city in Settignano, Bus #18. Some take cabs. FYI for future reference since best in warm weather at end of day; very beautiful at night. Foccaccia con rucola e prosciutto crudo is a specialty. (Haven't gone for years but enchanting.)

Santo Spirito area: At least four very good places to choose from just around the piazza. The phenomenon is starting to spill into the Piazza Camine (in front of church with Brancacci Chapel) where you'll find a night spot called La Dolce Vita on one side and a good little trattoria on the other. Very unimposing, inexpensive good place called La Casalinga (the housewife) is on the little street leading directly into the piazza SS, via Michelozzo 9.

(There's a nice place close enough to the Uffizi to have been affected by a bomb that exploded some time ago--very old-fashioned, traditional Tuscan fare where they also do wonderful porcini. I love their ribollita (hearty, filling soup). Perhaps someone can help me out with its name.)

QUICKER/CHEAPER OPTIONS

Italian bars are essentially cafés, places to get cappuccino ed una pasta (pastry) in the morning or as a late afternoon snack. Stand up at the counter; it's usually 2-4x cheaper. Decide what you want and pay first, showing your receipt (scontrino) to the barrista. While the very best was destroyed by Roberto Cavalli, there are still lots of fine old places and then some. Rivoire is opposite the Palazzo Vecchio, famed for hot chocolate in winter but also a fine purveyor of flaky pastries. Scudieri leads into Piazza San Giovanni (Duomo) and is quite popular. Robiglio on via dei Servi is a good place to stop between the Duomo and Santissima Annunziata or the Ospedale degli Innocenti; a nice bakery is close by on the opposite side of the street & sells pizza by the slice. If it's early on a Sunday morning, cross the Ponte Vecchio and head towards the Pitti Palace. On the left, past the shoe stores, there is an oldish looking bar with lots of colorful fruit salads and panini set out to attract your eye. They make great cornette (Italian croissants; budini are oval cakes made with rice and in the winter bambolini alla crema make custard-filled donut lovers swoon) that are sometimes still warm from the oven. Open daily.

At lunch many bars produce dishes from their kitchens in addition to the salads and sandwiches in the counter display cases. Sometimes a bowl of pasta at one of these places is cheaper than buying bread, cheese and a yogurt at an alimentaria or corner food store. Bar degli amici (??? something like that) is across the street from the Palazzo Ruccellai, on left, towards the Arno and has fabulous panini & salads for lunch.

Coquinarius Via delle oche, 15r. Near Duomo. Fairly new wine bar, great for large salads (gorgonzola con noci!) during a leisurely lunch or light dinner. American cheesecake. According to Divina's Web site, though, they're open for brunch on Sundays, so you might have to check hours and fare.

Tavola Caldo da Roco inside Mercato di Sant' Ambrogio. Lunch only. Boisterous. Gorge for hardly any money.

Enoteca Balducci Via dei Neri, right near piazza and close to Arno. Not far from Santa Croce. Wonderful place owned by Donatello & wife. Packed after one with daily specials (not ready at noon). Check out cases inside first and see what the Florentines are eating. Big with the Biblioteca Nazionale crowd. Via dei Neri is a great street for even cheaper lunches. Across from a good Japanese restaurant (Eito) is a narrow little place whose black tee-shirts tell you why God wants you to drink wine and not water. Great roast pork sandwiches plus (big w/ Florentines; another funkier spot w/ more limited offerings is under arch where the city's most important nunnery, San Pier Maggiore used to stand. Way back when each new bishop ceremoniously married the convent's abbess; now short old men stand around smoking, laughing, scowling and drinking wine). Across the street is the proprietor's friggitoria where you can point at roasted vegetables and other goodies to eat seated at one of their tables or on the street.

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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Thanks very much. Sorry, missed the pinned topic at the top.

We have an 18 month old boy - any idea id it is ok to bring small kids to restaurants in Italy in the vening time?

thanks

Salty

Italians love children, so I don't think it'll be any problem. If anything, they may want to pinch his cheeks and dote over him.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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  • 1 month later...

Siena report, Oct. 2006

Osteria Le Logge

Via del Porrione 33 (just off the Campo)

Siena

T: 0577/48-013

La Taverna di San Giuseppe

via Giovanni Duprè 132 I - 53100 Siena

Telephone:

0577 42286

Fax:

0577 219620

E-mail:

ristorante@tavernasangiuseppe.it

Excellent meals at both these restaurants. Le Logge had several unusual dishes, all seasonal (we were there in funghi porcini season). At La Taverna, the roast boar braised in milk was the best dish we ate in two weeks. Friendly service, reasonable prices.

We had a good meal at Mugolone (referenced above), but not as outstanding as these.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Siena/Chianti Oct/Nov '06

La Taverna di San Giuseppe

via Giovanni Duprè 132 I - 53100 Siena

We also ate at La Taverna di San Giuseppe in Siena. Great, warm atmosphere, with wonderful service. Cool etruscan cave at the back of the restaurant. It was fantastic--so good that we made reservations for dinner two nights later before we left the restaurant (and when we arrived for our second meal, we were welcomed back warmly with a glass of prosecco). The boar braised in milk was fantastic, as was the tagliata (sliced sirloin) with porcinis. And my wife liked the the tiramisu so much that she had it for dessert both nights! Make sure you have reservations on a weekend night.

Ristorante al Gallopapa

Via delle volte 14/16 - Castellina in Chianti

This restaurant is set inside the medieval walls of the small, charming town of Castellina. It has one Michelin star and a refined service level. Flavors were good and combinations were creative, but...well, it just didn't have much of a sense of "place" to it. While I enjoyed my meal, I felt like it was a meal I'd had in Chicago, or New York, or maybe Hong Kong. Not in a bad sense, but it wasn't what I was expecting, I guess.

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Siena report, Oct. 2006

Osteria Le Logge

Via del Porrione 33 (just off the Campo)

Siena

T: 0577/48-013

I ate at this place in 1991 and 1994. It was very good then, and I'm glad to hear it's still going strong.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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  • 3 months later...

We shall be spending 8 days in mid march in florence.

After quite a lot of research i did not find any recent postings that discuss authentic,honnest and non touristy restaurants.We are hoping that they exist .

Any help will be appreciated.Merci

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We shall be spending 8 days in mid march in florence.

After quite a lot of research i did not find any recent postings that discuss authentic,honnest and non touristy restaurants.We are hoping that they exist .

Any help will be appreciated.Merci

I am very jealous. Have a great time. One of my favorites, which is very reasonable in price, and a nice little trattoria is ZaZa in the piazza behind the Mercato Centrale. Pane Fritte, pastas with pesto, walnut sauce, frittata con fonduta, all are very good. Not fancy by any means, but good local food, wines by the carafe.

Buon Viaggio!

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