Eat and dine like a true Florentine

Explore the colorful Florence gourmet world. Eat and dine like a true florentine.
Discover where to have the creamiest gelato, the best value for money wine shops, the friendliest trattoria and how to make the most out of your visit into town and its sourrounding countryside.

This is what most of the US guests I have taken around for a Gourmet Tour in Tuscany and Florence have commented after a day in town.

Living Florence is like entering in a bath tub of culture, art & history and good food! Florence is about world-famous museums, extraordinary monuments, Renaissance icons scattered around everywhere: one of the world’s areas with the highest density of masterpieces, home of immortal artists like Michelangelo or Dante. Fashion, shoes, tailors and life-style flourish generously on the two river banks of the Arno river.

But Florence can and should be visited also for the pleasures of the palate. Extra-virgin olive oil bruschette, ribollita – traditional vegetable soup -, Fiorentina – the famous four inch T-bone Chianina steak-, pappa al pomodoro – tomato bread soup -, finocchiona -the fennel seeds salami-, the vinai – the 15th century Florentine wine bars that used to be so common throughout the town, the famous Chianti Classico wine with the black rooster logo -, delicious pasta with wild boar ragù, strong coffee in the elegant 18th century coffee shops; chocolate made by a Maitre chocolatier; truffle sandwiches and Negroni cocktails are some of the many spectacular foods and drinks you shouldn’t miss during your stay. This caleidoscope of colorful flavors, aromas and habits will make you discover Florence under a different light.

This is the Florence I love: getting out of the Academia with my heart still pounding for having admired the David and entering in the magical noisy and 100 million mega pixel Central Food Market in San Lorenzo for a tasty shopping morning is something that only Florence can give you.

Whether you wake up for an early class or for a late and lazy morning, just jump out and grab a coffee at the counter of a great caffè-pasticceria, bite in to a slice of schiacciata alla fiorentina -a soft seasonal cake- or a warm crounchy cornetto -croissant- while reading your newspaper… enjoy your time with your self (or others!).

After a couple of hours when you start feeling hungry but it’s not yet lunch time, go to one of the many street kiosks for Florence’s signature panino: a lampredotto sandwich. Some may not like the idea of eating the third stomach of the cow. Lampredotto however is for most Florentine’s a favorite food. The cuts are processed over night by the tender care of the lampredottai in a to delicate yummy tradition which comes out form smoking magical giant pots. The meat is sliced in little bits and served in a rosetta, a crispy bread roll, and served with salt and pepper. I know it might sound gross to some, but like all meats this too is simply a part of an animal. From a nutritional point of view it is actually a very good product: it’s low in fat, high in proteins, vitamins and minerals. Lampredotto is like pastrami, hot dog or bagles in NYC: you gotta have some to feel home.

After such a snack your lunch is bound to be just a fresh salad and maybe a small chocolate treat and a second espresso at one of the few choccolate corners of Florence.

What ever your afternoon is at 16.00 it’s time for a hot bombolone -fried donut stuffed with pastry creamed- every kid in town will be gagging for this moment of the day. Alternatively you can give a go to a proper gelato. Florence has at least five world top ice-cream places, here is where possibly gelato was born. When in season roasted chestnuts from Mugello might do the trick too!

19.00. The aperitivo. First time you have to go for Negroni cocktail, born at caffè Giacosa in Via Tornabuoni adding Gin to an Americano -Vermuth and Camapri Soda- always with something to niblle like a truffle sandwich for istance.

Well now is almost dinner time… see you soon.

Filippo’s favourite Lampredotto

  1. Mamo – Careggi Simply the best
  2. Sergio e Paolo –Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio. Kindness, fun, tasty
  3. Marione – Porta Romana Character, size, style
  4. Nerbone – Mercato di San Lorenzo. Location, atmosphere, seats
  5. Marco –Via de Gioberti. Quality, kindness, consistency

Filippo’s favourite Gelato

  1. Gelateria de Medici in Via dello Statuto. Bon-bon, chocolate, off the biten
  2. Badiani in Viale de Mille. Best cream in town, variety
  3. Vivoli in Via Isole delle Stinche. Historical, rice flavours, creaminess
  4. Perché No in Via dei Tavolini. Central, tasty, childhood
  5. Pinguino in Via Quintino Sella. Off the biten, Oldies style

Filippo’s favourite Florentine Restaurants and Trattorias

With the restaurants I rate the food & the cuisine first together with courtesy & service and atmosphere & authenticity.

  1. Zibibbo in Via di Terzollina. Quality, friendly, authentic, wine list, no tourist trap
  2. Cibreo in Mercato S. Ambrogio. Tasty, elegant Florentine, location, ambiance
  3. Da Ruggero in Via Senese near Porta Romana. Authentic Trattoria no false pretence
  4. La Casalinga in P.zza S. Spirito. Super crowded true local trattoria
  5. Sabatino in Porta S. Frediano. One of a kind. Like going for dinner to granma

Filippo’s Favourite chocolate places

  1. Catinari near P.zza S. Trinita. World top maitre chocolatier, super tasty
  2. Pistocchi via Ponte di Mezzo 20. Best chocolate cake in town
  3. Dolce&dolcezze P.zza Beccaria. Atmosphere and delicious cakes
  4. Andrea Bianchini via de’ Macci 50. Creative and fun
  5. Revoir P.zza Signoria. Historical and lusciously elegant

Filippo’s Favourite Bars

  1. Pasticceria Dolcissima in Via Maggio. Cosy, tasty, kind
  2. Bar del Cibreo P.zza S. Ambrogio. Chic, yummy, comfortable
  3. Gilli P.zza Repubblica. Classy, Italian, Central
  4. Giorgio Via del Buonisegna. Super vast, yummy, Where the Florentine only go.
  5. Ringos Borgo S. Jacopo. Stylish 60’s, entertaining/crazy, not cheap

Filippo’s favourite wine Bars

  1. Le Volpi&l’Uva in Piazza de Rossi. Cosy, professional/passionate, indipendent
  2. Bevo Vino in Porta S.Niccolò. Small, live music, easy
  3. I due fratellini in via dei Cimatori. Smallest in the world, authentic , chilled
  4. Enoteca Fuori Porta in Porta S. Niccolò. Historical, vast list, location
  5. Enoteca Alessi via delle Oche. Best wine store in the centre, nice staff.

Filippo’s favourite wine Store

Enoteca Bonatti

2 Comments

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  1. Marconext says
    01 December 09, 6:49pm

    OK, Filippo.

    Bar Giacosa, where Negroni cocktail was born, has been closed years ago: present Cavalli/Giacosa has nothing to do with the original.

    I suggest Gelateria de’ Neri, Via dei Neri as the perfect Florentine Ice Cream.

    I think Rivoire has lost some of its fascinating allure: good for a quick coffee, nothing more.

    I’d like to add Sei Divino as a nice Wine Bar, Borgo Ognissanti.

    And, top of the tops, Harry’s Bar in Lungarno Vespucci, where people from everywhere come to taste Mr. Leo’s Bellini cocktail since the 50’s.

    (reply)
  2. filippo says
    17 December 09, 1:04pm

    Ciao Marco,
    thanks for your feedback.
    Of course we know about the sad Giacosa’s shut down, but that corner has still got some history. I’ll give it a shot to Sei Divino tonite. I love the Harry’s Bar atmosphere, although there maybe less florentines hanging there.
    One other pleasant place with good food and excellent bar is the Osteria Tornabuoni. Have you tried it?
    cheers
    f

    (reply)

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