Thanks all for the guidance in planning our trip (special shoutout to MadonnaDelPiatto, Elizabeth Minchilli and LifeItalianStyle)
Florence- I had been a few times but the hubs never so we stopped on our way to Umbria.
Favorite Steak - Sostanza as expected. Excellent simple meal but the place was packed with non Italians.. English was the primary language heard though I still spoke Italian to the staff. Lots of students and parents of students presumingly in town for a visit. The steak was wonderful - note that it's cash only.
Mario - great lunch spot, gets packed to the gills by 12:15 so I'd advise getting there at 11:50 if you don't want to wait.
Nerbone - while perusing the market, we split a boiled beef sandwich and it was perfection. Hard crusty bread that became moist from the tender beef. Perfect amuse ;)
Il Santo Bevitore - wonderful dinner , great vibe to the restaurant. Had the millefoglie of potato and mushroom - good combination of flavors, crisp cheese broiled on top. Hubs had the pappa al pomodoro and it was simple and excellent with a drizzle of pesto on top. The pici with wild boar for my main was fantastic. We finished with the cheesecake. Saw a few people eating it and it was worth saving room for.
Fagioli - our first meal after arriving and totally hit the spot. It was a bit cold outside and the rain was just starting to come down - nothing was more comforting than sitting at a table at fagioli, enjoying the table wine and traditional tuscan meal. Antipasti Toscana was great - For our main we shared the fagioli, ribollita, and meatballs with potatoes. Wow, the combination of the tender meat with those potatoes was something special.
Zeb - one of our favorite lunches in Florence. Could not believe we were the only people in the place. It was a Tuesday around 1:30 and we had the place to ourselves. Had a few laughs with the owners. The ravioli with pumpkin was heavenly. For my secondi I had the polpette, broccoli rabe, and carmelized onions. Hubs had the pork, and of course, the zuppe e bollito. We both cleaned plate.
Stayed near Via Tornabuoni so stopped by Obika for an aperitivo - great for drinks and the complimentary meats and cheeses.
Umbria (the highlight of our trip)
Stayed in Bevagna and so glad we did. Loved the charming small town.
Trattoria di Oscar - former chef of our hotel. I'd give it an 11 out of 10. Chef Oscar is a funny and personable guy. No menu, he tells you what he found fresh that day and how he plans to prepare it. You can tell he's got a love for food and for what he does. He gives you a few choices.. He put out some bruschetta with olio nuovo and a bit of salt as our amuse. Then, I had his signature lightly fried egg over porcini mushrooms. Husband had the bean soup with bacalao with a drizzle of the olio nuovo. Then, I had pasta with pumpkin and he had the carbonara umbrian style. Definitely one of our favorite meals in Umbria. I would 100% go back. It was even tempting to go back a second time on our trip.
L'Achimista - perfect lunch after doing some wine tasting in Montefalco. Scrambled eggs with truffles were incredible and my husbands steak topped with truffles was tender and delicious.
Antica Osteria de la valle (Todi) - another favorite meal. Chef John is super friendly - stayed about a half hour after the meal just chatting with him. Lunch on a Sunday was totally full - I had tagliata di vitello (sliced veal) and it was excellent - husband had the truffled pasta (why not some more truffles) and filet of beef. Lastly, we split the cheesecake as we saw about 5 go by throughout our lunch. Light as air with shavings of white chocolate. Definitely make it a point to get here within the next 18 months because after that it may not be there. Chef John has plans to open a cookery at some point. Get it while it's gone ;)
Ristorante Nànà in Perugia - a little pricey but absolutely wonderful - not the prettiest setting but the food was spot on. We had the warmed cheese drizzled in honey and nuts. Gnudi of ricotta and spinach Excellent service as well.
Antiche Sere - lovely meal.. warm and cozy inside (which was perfect after a chilly day). I had the special ossobuco and a side of cicoria and it was excellent. Tender pieces of veal falling right off the bone in a stew of vegetables. Others were enjoying the fillet of beef. Great local spot in Bevagna.
In Campagna Cooking Class - INCREDIBLE experience that we're still talking about today. A must do if in Umbria. You start your day in Santa Maria Degli Angeli sampling all sorts of meats, cheeses, balsamic vinegar and more at a local gourmet shop. Then you spend the rest of the afternoon at Letizia's wonderful home, cooking a meal you'll be very proud of. An experience we'll never forget. She's such an amazing cook - she does it all from homemade jams and even vanilla extract to teaching us the art of pasta making. She genuinely cares about teaching you new recipes and techniques that you can apply to your daily routine at home. Read my review (from 11/25 on trip advisor if you want to hear more).
Wanted to go to Osteria Del Teatro in Foligno but didn't have time - went to Foligno and enjoyed walking around the town but wasn't hungry after the feast at In Campagna cooking class.
Love Umbria!! Cannot wait to go back.