Restaurants & Bars

Italy

My favorite restaurants in Florence. Enjoy!!

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Restaurants & Bars 11

My favorite restaurants in Florence. Enjoy!!

arooks | May 6, 2009 05:10 AM

I am just about to return from a 5-week trip to Florence, and I wanted to share my restaurant experiences. I did my research carefully before I left (and while I was there), so I can't say that I had any affirmatively bad meals. However, I definitely recommend certain places above others. Below I have listed those places I highly recommend (i.e., that I would return to) and then those places that I ate at and thought were good but not exceptional (I would not necessarily return to these). I have also noted in parentheses any special features or notable things about each restaurant (i.e., what to order, if it's primarily a lunch spot, etc.):

Highly recommended:

-Za-Za (touristy but still good and worth a visit; anything with truffle sauce is good)

-Il Pizzaiuolo (fabulous pizza; reservations required)

-Cibreino (they do not take reservations; get there are 7 to avoid a wait; order the yellow pepper soup, the polenta, the chicken meatballs, the raw branzino (AMAZING!), and the chocolate cake--although I think everything here is fantastic)

-Baldovino (another great pizza spot; this one is less touristy and regarded for some reason, but I thought it was just as good)

-Sant'Agostino 23 (authentic; few tourists; Oltranrno)

-Trattoria Quattro Leoni (the pear pasta probably has a million calories, but it is divine; make a reservation and try to sit outside if it's nice; Oltrarno)

-Fuori Porta (light meal/lunch; great wine enoteca; Oltrarno)

-La Casalinga (inexpensive; authentic; not much atmosphere-wise; make a reservation or get there early; Oltrarno)

-I Fratellini (my go-to lunch spot; great, inexpensive panino and wine served from (literally) a hole in the wall; you have to eat standing up outside or sitting in a nearby doorway)

-Munaciello (pizza; very trendy (but not in an annoying way), not in any of the guidebooks; younger crowd; reservations required; highly recommended; Oltrarno)

-Borgo Antica (for a casual meal on a Piazza; not mind-blowing food, but decent and fun; Oltrarno)

-Il Rufrillo (my favorite caffe in Florence; panino and pasta at lunchtime)

-Cantinetta dei Verranzzano (lunch; fabulous focaccia bread; amazing little focaccia sandwiches and pizza with sit-down place attached)

Other restaurants:

-Trattoria Sostanza (the bistecca and the meringue dessert are amazing and probably worth a visit alone, but the pastas were really not good; reservations required for one of two seatings: 7:30 and 9)

-Coquinarius (one of the few good places near the Duomo; if you can walk further, I think there are better places, but the pastas are healthy and creative, and they have salads!!)

-Da Mario (rustic lunch spot; shared tables, brisk service; worth going once if you're in the area; the bistecca is supposedly very good here; I had a good pasta with wild boar sauce)

-Del Fagioli (traditional Florentine dishes; no tourists)

-Al Tranvai (inexpensive, traditional; no tourists)

-I'Toscana (this is actually the one place I had a semi-negative experience; the entree I was served came with a side salad that was literally days old and disgusting; the ravioli with sage butter was delicious, though; ambiance here is lacking; not worth the money overall)

-Moyo (aperitivi*; the best aperitivi selection of the three I went to while in Florence; crowd is young (lots of college students); ~6-8 euro)

-Noir (aperitivi; older (30's), trendy crowd; great view if you get a table outside; ~10 euro)

-Slowly (aperitivi; trendy; ~10 euro)

-Il Cantadino (lunch; fixed price menu for lunch (~10 euro with wine) and dinner (~11 euro with wine); no ambiance; no tourists)

-FrancescoVini (pizza; cute place but lots of tourists and much better pizza at Pizzauiolo and Baldovino (and others))

* Aperitivi is when a bar offers free food (usually from about 7-9 p.m.) if you buy a cocktail (which is usually more expensive than it otherwise would be). It's a good deal as long as you only order one drink.

Finally, as far as gelato, I think I became somewhat of a snob because I only ended up liking Vivoli and Gelateria dei Neri (Vivoli was my favorite). All of the other places just didn't compare.

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