My husband and I visited Florence and Siena in early November 2012. This was the first time I used Chowhound to find restaurants.
Chowhound: This is a great resource. I've used it for more places now, and it's become a regular part of my travel planning routine.
Elizabeth Minchilli: Her knowledge runs deep, and her advice is utterly reliable. I'd follow her taste buds anywhere.
Siena: My husband and I dined at Osteria Le Logge. While not excellent, the food was quite good. The high point was tasting the first olive oil of the season which was spicy and delicious.
Florence: Neither my husband nor I can eat a big lunch and a big dinner. For lighter bites, 'Ino and Le Volpe e L'Uva were great solutions. I'd put 'Ino among my favorite sandwich shops in the world (Zingerman's Deli in Ann Arbor, MI & Pickles and Potter in Leeds, UK). Le Volpe is a wonderful wine bar. Writing about it makes my mouth water for the Brunello I drank there.
We had a long, leisurely lunch at Il Santo Bevitore [ISB]. Our meals included risotto with Gorgonzola & radicchio; a salad of spinach, pine nuts, cheese & pear; chicken "meatloaf" with pistachios; steak with walnuts. The food was excellent. To us, several of the ingredient combinations were unexpected and delectable. ISB's atmosphere was appealing, too: welcoming, sophisticated and relaxed. It seemed like locals and tourists frequented ISB. If the Italians had taken over New Amsterdam from the Dutch instead of the British, I imagine New York City would be a lot like ISB.
Following the advice of Ms. Minchilli, we had lunch on a Sunday at Trattoria Tre Soldi. This was traditional Tuscan fare, and it was the best meal we ate. Dishes we feasted on included: gnochetti with pumpkin & ricotta; Centi Senese - pork shoulder with white beans & red onion; and a white peach and bergamot sorbetto. The house wine was the owner's own DOCG Chianti from Ruffino. It was terrific and cost 9 Euros a bottle. That isn't a typo. It cost 9 Euros. The restaurant was filled with Florentine families out for a special meal, which made the experience feel more authentic.
Florence has an abundance of restaurants worth a visit. While we love to eat, there were many other things we wanted to do. The restaurants we went to fit our schedule and vice versa. I'd happily return to any of them and check out others.
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