I recently had the opportunity to spend five nights in Florence. We went to Florence in search of gastronomic pleasure. After doing extensive research before the trip, we identified a mix of restaurants to explore. We had several outstanding meals and a few mediocre ones. Here is a list of restaurants that provided a top-notch dining experience:
(1) Cafe Concerto - Situated on the Arno, this restaurant serves world-class, sophisticated cuisine with Italian and other influences. The ambience is superb. It is definitely an upscale place that seems to cater to the business dinner crowd as well as to Florentines in the know. We were greeted by the owner with scepticism initially, but once we demonstrated how serious we were about the food his tone became warm and welcoming. Highlights at our table included a duck pate; salad of roasted quail with potatoes, greens and lardon; risotto with pigeon, pistachios and fava beans. Menu changes monthly.
(2) Osteria di Cinghiale Bianco - Situated on Via Santo Spirito south of the Arno, this restaurant serves traditional, homestyle Tuscan fare. Patrons include a nice mix of tourists and locals. Highlights include the ubiquitous pappardelle con cinghiale (ribbon pasta with wild boar sauce), "stewed" wild boar with polenta, and braised rabbit.
(3) Pane e Vino - Situated south of the Arno, this small restaurant serves modern cuisine in a pleasant, minimalist setting. Food is elegantly presented with innovative touches. Highlights: eggplant souffle with tomato sauce, cheese souffle with cream sauce, Italian "egg rolls", pumpkin ravioli.
(4) Montagliari - Located 30 minutes outside Florence near the little town of Panzano in Chianti. There is a family-run trattoria connected to a winery and balsameria of the same name. Pasta dishes were incredible. We sampled ravioli with walnut sauce, spinach dumplings, and pappardelle con cinghiale. Second courses we tried were exquisitely preparted peposo (a spicy veal stew), lamb chops and tagliato (beef).
Now for the mediocre:
Natalino (one of the few places open on Sundays)
I am happy to answer any questions about Florence restaurants or Houston restaurants.