A GUIDE TO EATING IN FLORENCE
"Food coma's abound"
I am by no means professing I am an expert on Florence, far from it. I only spent 18 days in the city but during that time I had some obscenely good meals which I feel are worth sharing on the off-chance you too wish to dine well.
According to previous incarnations of these guides, I shall include some food and some drink spots and steer away from the obvious tourist recommendations like "See the Duomo" or "Go to that famous bridge".
There are thousands of blogs repeating the same tired monologues about the sights, so i'll stick to the tastes.
Places to eat:
antico ristoro di cambi
The quintessential treat for any carnivore in Florence, and this is by far the best spot to sample it. Loved by locals, undiscovered by mainstream tourists, sensational food and friendly service.
semel street food
It would be tantamount to treason if you spent even an afternoon in Florence and didn't visit this small, cosy sandwich shop lovingly preparing these sensational snacks for 4 Euro a pop. 1 Euro extra gets you a glass of wine. It's always crowded so expect to wait in line.
Tip: Get the pork belly and tomato one!
trattoria osteria da que' ganzi
Tuscan food of the highest order in a lovely trattoria. Expect slightly above average prices, but the food and service are well worth the splurge.
I tried a lot of gelato spots in Florence, but this place was hands down the best. Incredible quality, great flavours, lovely owners.
Tip: Try the pistacchio and the black sesame flavour!
I know, a Szechuan place in Florence? You bet your bottom dollar. This place 'woks' out sensational, authentic chinese fare to a loyal local crowd and intrepid tourists. Be prepared to wait unless you reserve a table.
Tip: The pork belly and the eggplant dishes are wild!
Another dip from the ethnic pool, but rarely have I tasted such solid Japanese food as at Cibleo. Special mention to the gyoza: Dynamite!
PS: Cibleo is at the same location as Cibreo below.
Keep it in the family and head opposite Cibleo to Cibreo (Don't ask me to explain the names, it's not pretty). The taglialino with butter and cheese is one of the most divinely simple pasta dishes invented. Word on the street is that their hot chocolate is fire.
crown of india
Downright legit Indian food cooked by a team of Punjabi chefs at this slightly fancier version of a typical curry house. Special mention goes to the Baingan Bartha, a smokey eggplant dish.
You can't visit Florence and not try the schiacciata, and what better place than this tiny stand. Grab a meal here while all the tourists stand in line for 1 hour at All'Antico around the corner and get a mediocre memory.
We'll end our Florence food odyssey with another Tuscan legend. Family vibes, phenomenal food, outdoor seating, great location. What more do you want?
Tip: Their pear + gorgonzola tortelini was nuts.
Dying for some health in your veins? Head to this small local favourite near Spirito Santo for authentic Falafel and hummus.
Tip: Try the cauliflower!!
For those pressed for time, skip this, but if you have an extra day or two then head here for the sensational Dandan noodle bowl. Mouthwatering!!
Trust me you're not the first person to struggle to find this place. This library/bookstore runs an excellent vegan/vegetarian restaurant in it's central courtyard. The food is top notch and definitely worth hunting down.
bars / Cafes
As close as I got to an "underground" scene in Florence, this place must be amazing in the summer with the huge outdoor area. Good music, cheap drinks and decent aperitivo offers make this a favourite for the young "in-crowd".
Slightly out of the central circles of Florence is this alternative art-collective. Expect people working on laptops, dogs, Neutral Milk Hotel on the stereo and perhaps a live-show when times are kinder.
Despite the representation of predominantly loud Americans, La Cite offers a bit of hip coziness in a city starving for underground culture. Drinks, coffee and good music make this a popular hangout spot.
rivarno cafe (Lungarno)
Twenty meters down from the bridge you cross to access the Michelangelo viewpoint of the city lies this great local cafe. They have a slightly hidden outdoor area in an alleyway which provides shade and sun if you're travelling with a difficult partner.
piazza santo spirito
My tip for a coffee away from the deafening tourists crowds is to pop over the bridge and head here. Sure there are still tourists, but its 90% quieter than the other bank. On weekends they have a vegetable market with local farmers flogging honey, olive oil and kombucha.
Tip: Grab a gelato nearby at Sbrino!
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
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"Tastes are subjective, so take everything with a pinch of salty tears"
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