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Favorite places to eat in Florence

What are some of your favorite places to eat in Florence? Thanks!

Posted by
5455 posts

We ate several meals at Self Service Leonardo (in RS book) near the Duomo -- not "atmosphere" but good, inexpensive food.

Posted by
930 posts

Osteria Pastella - Via della Scala 17/r
One of the best dinners anywhere on our BOE 21. Google and check the menu beforehand. Menu is in Italian but the owner did speak some English and helped us make our choices.

Menu

Posted by
1774 posts

Ciro & Sons on via Giglio--all the Florentine specialties but also southern Italian dishes, which is rare for Florence. The Calamarata alla Amalfitana--wide noodles with calamari & tomatoes is just scrumptious. Pizza is awesome, as is their wonderful vegetable antipasto. And they do anything on the menu gluten-free.

Nerbone in the Mercato Centrale--boiled beef sandwiches for 3 Euro at this 125-year-old stand. Wow--flavored slivered beef with juice on a crusty, slightly-hollowed out roll with a dollop of pesto mix. Can't miss this.

Posted by
1046 posts

The Golden View restaurant on the Arno River over looking the Ponte Vecchio is a very nice restaurant. You will need to make a reservation in advance for dinner unless you eat earlier in the evening. We stopped in for dinner at 6:30 and got a table by the window overlooking the Ponte Vecchio on the condition that we finished our meal by 8:30. Every table had already been reserved for 8:30.

Posted by
11613 posts

Ristorante Il Caminetto, via dello Studio very near the Duomo. Outdoor deck. Lots of business people eat here, some tourists.

Hosteria da Ganino in Piazza dei Cimatori - small outdoor seating area, gets packed during peak dining hours. Florentine menu.

Posted by
38 posts

Another vote for Ciro and Sons. We have been eating here for quite a few years. In fact we plan our time in Florence around when this restaurant will be open. The food is wonderful but equally great is the family who runs this place. I believe the address is Via del Giglio which is quite near the San Lorenzo market.

Posted by
63 posts

Any breakfast recommendations? Breakfast is not included in our "free" room on points at the Westin Excelsior and their breakfast is really expensive. We may end up skipping breakfast and just have a yogurt or something and then eat a nice lunch.

Thanks again for your recommendations!

Posted by
1774 posts

Will your hotel have a fridge? If so, for breakfast you can shop the day before at Mercato Centrale for prosciutto, cheeses, rolls, honey and fruit. Grab a coffee and have a nice picnic. We had an apartment and did this every morning--wonderful!

Posted by
2245 posts

"Any breakfast recommendations?"

twg, there are lots of small coffee and pastry shops, you can stand at the bar, usually a money saver vs sitting, have a bite and move on. We enjoyed a few Mom and Pop places like this, loved it.

Posted by
11613 posts

There are several restaurants that serve American-style breakfasts, some in/near Piazza della Repubblica.

Posted by
31 posts

Da Nerbone. It's by no means glamorous but it is a one of a kind local Florence experience (even if tourists are now lead there in droves thanks to guidebooks!). If you're a fan of Anthony Bourdain, Andrew Zimmern or even Guy Fieri this would be where I would imagine any of them going in Florence. It's a divey stall in a market that serves amazing sandwiches. I say get the lampredotto (tripe) sandwich with both green (pesto type) and red (spicy) sauces but it that's a little too weird for you they also have an excellent beef sandwich, porchetta and even pastas. I'd also add that the Mercato Centrale in which it is located was the one of two places in Florence (the other is Piazza Santa Maria Novella) where I felt like I was in an actual Italian city lived in by Italians as opposed to an American themepark version of Italy.

Posted by
250 posts

I was going to start a similar thread, so thanks to everyone who suggested a good restaurant for lunch.

My requirements when looking for places to eat lunch at (in order of importance) are:

  1. English on menus and English speaking waiters

  2. Reservation are not required to get a table

  3. Not full service because of time constraints

All I need is a place to eat lunch between attractions, so it should be on the walking route, which I am finalizing. I do not need a dinner recommendation for my first day.

Posted by
8889 posts

Zoe, "several restaurants that serve American-style breakfasts" - why would I want an American-style breakfast in Florence?
Travelling Woman, "English on menus and English speaking waiters" - to be avoided if at all possible.

Posted by
11613 posts

Chris, you or I may not want American breakfast, but the OP asked about breakfast. Just trying to be helpful. ;-}

Posted by
8889 posts

Zoe, yes, but she didn't ask about an "American Breakfast". When in Rome (or Florence) it would be a pity not to find out what an Italian breakfast is.

Posted by
250 posts

Chris, it is impossible to know what is on the menu and know what the waiter is saying if there is no English at the restaurant.

Posted by
8889 posts

Travelling Woman, that is why phrase books were invented. Surviving in a country which does not speak your language is a necessary travel skill. People have been doing it since Marco Polo (if not before). What about all the people who speak other languages and travel to Italy? Greeks, French, Germans, Finnish etc. They cannot possibly expect a menu in 30+ languages.

If you just restrict yourself to places where enough tourists from your country go frequently enough to make it economical for the restaurant, hotel or wherever to have their menu translated into your language, and hire multi-lingual staff (a skill which attracts higher wages), you will be restricting yourself to the limited selection places which are catering to tourists of your nationality and have adapted accordingly. You might as well go to the Disneyland version of Italy, as you will not be seeing the real Italy. Though you might get a "real American Breakfast" (whatever that is) rather than an Italian one.

P.S. Sometimes the fun of travel is to find new dishes for which there is no translation. Have you never gone into a restaurant where you don't understand the menu and pointed to something on the menu? Many great discoveries are made that way.

Posted by
250 posts

Chris, when I see a menu with all items written in a different language the description is in English so at least I know what I am getting. I need to know what I am getting when I order something, not just randomly select something and hope it is good. Mom always has at least one question about menu items when she orders something, so it is important to her too. But the biggest problem is we both are hearing impaired, so it is impossible to understand anyone who does not speak English no matter how much Italian we learn in books. Nothing can be done about that.

Posted by
7880 posts

You don't need it to be in English to understand what's on the menu. If you have a smart phone you can use a translation app. Find one that works off line. Or bring an English-Italian dictionary. They have small ones that fit in your purse. Your dining experience will be better if you eat somewhere that doesn't cater to tourists.

Posted by
250 posts

Anyway I want to look for restaurants near the Bargello Museum and Santa Maria del Carmine that serve lunch. If possible I don't want to stray from my walking route and backtrack, but that is less important than not needing a reservation. Which restaurants are in those areas and not expensive or full service?

Posted by
1160 posts

When you complain about menus being given in Florence, I would like you have a look to the menu I was given in Baku, Azerbaijan :-)

Posted by
2114 posts

Given the average age of Rickniks, I suspect that many of them/us are hearing impaired, but I haven't seen anything from Rick Steves that addresses the needs of this demographic.

Posted by
250 posts

Hmmm, I thought a wide range of ages loved Rick Steves. Actually I am only 39 and had hearing loss my whole life.

Posted by
6549 posts

Hey, I'll also go for Leonardo's. It's a cafeteria serving pretty good lasagne and other items. And it's as reasonably priced as you'll get in Florence.

Posted by
7880 posts

Traveling Woman, I would suggest you start your own thread with your questions rather than hijack the OP's thread. You will be able to get email notifications when someone responds to your thread. At this point the OP is getting the notifications for people responding to you.

Posted by
63 posts

I am the OP! Thanks so much for your recommendations! I really appreciate it!

Yes, Traveling Woman, it would be best if you started your own thread. Thanks! :)

Posted by
14 posts

For breakfast, we've shopping at Sapori e Dintorni via dei Bardi, for cheeses like pecorino, and crusty bread. A little honey, some fruit, and espresso, and voila, we have a nice breakfast our Oltrarno apartment.

For lunch, our fave so far has been Sabotino (in Rick's book). No tourists, just locals. The food was good and, as he says, "disturbingly" inexpensive. A quarter liter of house white wine just 1,20 €!

Dinners have been mixed. Reservations seem mandatory, at least this week.

Posted by
134 posts

For lunch, I have no hesitation recommending Sandwichic at via San Gallo 3/R.

BEST Sandwich I have ever had. Twice.

It was our first meal in Florence, finding it around the corner from our lodging while walking around the neighborhood where we stayed and liking it so much, hitting it again before we caught our train to Venice..

The website is only in Italian, but the young men who own on operate the shop speak English very well.
http://www.sandwichic.it/

I am including the Trip Advisor review because the basic information and map are written in English. This is no endorsement of TA, but a hearty endorsement of Sandwichic.
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187895-d6740021-Reviews-Sandwichic-Florence_Tuscany.html

The place is in a former tailor's shop and is decorated in that manner. The storefront still retains the gold leaf sign "Mercerie" from its former incarnation.
They put so much care into each of their creations. They are more than sandwiches, they are art.

As we left, they encouraged us to take a button from a box by the cash register. That's meant to remind you of the time you went there. I took one, but I don't need that to remember this place.
here are a coupe photos from when I was there.
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155289054560174&set=a.10150642464430174.696781.865525173&type=3&theater

Posted by
616 posts

If you want a nice varied breakfast Oltrarno at the corner with via Tornabuoni, not too expensive but nice (6-8 euros I guess) served until 10 a.m
Go to bar Alfieri Corso lungarno Corsini

Here is there website:

http://mobile.caffealfieri.it/

In the same area, no 4 of the same Corso, there is Bistro del Mare, a wonderful fish restaurant.

Posted by
11845 posts

And just another vote for Ciro and Sons, and add Francesco Vini.

Posted by
616 posts

Il Cantinone
Via Spirito Santo 6
50122 Florence

It's in a vaulted cellar.
Very nice atmosphere
It is run by three brothers.

Posted by
2023 posts

Leonardo's is good for lunch--buffet style, cheap, and near the Duomo on a small side street. Surprised no one has mentioned Trattoria Il Sostanza--we loved it! Located near the Arno--Google for locations and information and get a good map. Enjoy!

Posted by
63 posts

Thanks again to all who have so generously taken the time to provide recommendations! I really appreciate it!