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Restaurants & Bars 5

Florence

Josh | Mar 9, 1998 02:19 PM

In return for asking help, it's only fair I should
offer some. I was in Florence for a week on business
(tough life, eh?) and I can offer some recommendations.

A good general suggestion: The book "Cheap Eats
in Italy" is reliable. That's the second time I've
found one of their books reliable, so I'll be using
them often from now on.

Osteria del Cingiale Bianco, in the Oltrarno. Cross
the Ponte Vecchio, take the first right, and it's
about two blocks down on the left. Reservations are
necessary for dinner; lunch is more relaxed. Try
the strazzapretti, spinach and ricotta dumplings served
in a sage butter sauce which are to die for.
Cingiale con polenta (wild boar with polenta) is
wonderful. I ate there three times and loved
everything. Dinner will run you about 50.000 L per
person, lunch is a little less.

Another place in the same price range is Ristorante
Paoli, Via dei Tavolini 12r. Any place that can
pull off risotto alla fragole (risotto with
strawberries) is OK by me.

Don't miss Il Latini, a trattoria near the north end
of the old city. The prosciutto is superb, the
ribollita is the best I tried, and the waiter will
warn you off anything that the kitchen isn't doing
quite right that day. Give yourself lots of time
and either show up really early for lunch or make
a reservation.

Cibreo, on the Piazza Ghiberti, may be the best
restaurant in Florence. It has three parts: The
main restaurant, which is very elegant and expensive;
a second room that you enter a little further down the
block, which serves some of the same food for half the
price; and a cafe across the street which has a few
dishes off their menu. If you want an elegant dinner,
the main room in a great choice. The service is
excellent, the food is splendid, and the wines are
delightful. The price is about 80.000 L per person
at lunch; I didn't look at the dinner prices.

Gelato is one of the delights of Florentine life.
Round 6:00 or 7:00 in the evening, the streets are
full of natives strolling around town eating
gelato. Try some. Many places are good. The best
is Vivoli on the Via Isole dei Stincchi. Two or three
dozen flavors, and everything I tried was great:
zabione, orange (with bits of orange peel in it), wild
berry.

Next time I go, I plan to try the tripe sandwiches sold
by pushcart vendors.

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