via del Campanile at via delle Oche
The best gelato we ate in Italy, by far. And that is saying a lot. This Turin-based chain has 7 Italian locations with another opening soon in New York. They use “slow food” ingredients in some of their gelatos – Amalfi lemons, Sicilian pistachios, Ecuadorian and Venezuelan chocolate. The results are creamy, flavorful, and fresh. My favorite was the Cioccolato Extra Noir – Venezuelan chocolate gelato with bitter Ecuadorian chocolate chips. The lemon sorbet was also outstanding. We also ate gelato at Perche No and Caribe, which were both good. But Grom ruined other gelato for us. If you’re in Florence, there’s no reason to go anywhere else for gelato. I think we went there 5 times in 3 days.
Trattoria 4 Leone
Via de dé Vellutini 1r (Oltrarno)
They have a very unique pasta here called pear purses (“fiochette”). It’s a pasta, stuffed with pears and covered in an asparagus cream sauce. The pears aren’t super ripe, so the sweetness is more subtle than you might think. It’s a must try. The risotto with porcini was way to salty. The tagliatta di manza (possibly strip steak?) was simply grilled with salt and pepper and served sliced with peppery greens. The Chianina beef was melt-in-your mouth succulent and had an incredible beefy flavor. I liked this much better than the filet at Osteria della Logge in Siena.
Via del Porcellana 9r
055 21 32 04
Excellent risotto with baby zucchini and cheese. Ziti in a fresh-tasting green tomato sauce. The food was very good. They have a nice garden, but it was the only place in Italy where we got mosquito bites, so come prepared.
Acqua al 2
Via della Vigna Vecchia, 40/r
I have to disagree with the many recommendations that I got from this board and from friends and family for this restaurant. We thought that most of the pasta dishes we were served as part of the pasta sampler were thoroughly mediocre. I think that a good steak should mostly speak for itself, but the blueberry and balsamic sauces are so touted, that I had to try them. As it turns out, if you don’t think you’ll like a thick balsamic sauce on your tenderloin, you’re probably right. Service was gruff, impatient, and snooty. Let me explain how the pasta sampler works, since the waiter won’t. They can’t tell you which five pastas you will get because they just wait for another table to order a full plate of pasta, then throw in an extra handful for you. Since we wanted to try the artichoke pasta, we got one artichoke pasta and one sampler. Our first sample, which appeared with our plate of artichoke pasta? The artichoke pasta. Lame.
Piazza del mercato centrale, 26/r
Located by the central market, we had a very nice lunch at this trattoria. We started with a tangy, delicious, plate of carciofi alla romana (cold artichokes marinated in olive oil, herbs, and crushed red pepper flakes). Also good were the ravioli stuffed with ricotta and spinach and topped with a rich meat and tomato sauce. The mixed bruschetta (liver, tomato sauce, tomatoes, mushrooms) were nothing special.
Piazza Santo Spirito, 6/r (Oltrarno)
A great, and large, plate of risotto with shrimp, mint and saffrom (18 euros). Also a delicious pizza quatro stagione (olives, artichokes, ham, mushrooms). The pizza was comparable to Patsy’s in NYC.