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My favorite meals and food spots in Florence
Il Guscio-(via del’orto 49, 055-224-421) this is in the oltrarno which is the side of the river with the pitti palace. We went when my mom was in town and it was amazing but when we went back the menu wasn’t as good. This has good fish which is really rare in Tuscany. THE BEST MOLTEN CHOCOLATE CAKE I HAVE EVER HAD!!!! I cannot emphasize that enough. Not many tourists here.
Pane e Vino (Via di San Niccolo 70r, 055-247-6956) also in the oltrarno. This restaurant is a bit nicer and more expensive but really good. Two primis that they had in the fall, the tortelloni with pumpkin in balsamic sauce and the ravioli with goat cheese and eggplant, were amazing. They also had great duck and lamb. The service was kind of slow but I don’t think it really mattered.
Trattoria 4 leoni (Via dei Vellutini 1r, 055-218-562) oltrarno. We went a few times including for my birthday. They give you lots of free wine and stuff which is nice. My favorite primi was a pasta stuffed with pear and pecorino with asparagus.
**Trattoria Mario (Via Rosina 2r) you MUST go here!!!!! It is only open for lunch and you might have to wait a while but it is worth it. They sit you at a table with other people and speak little English but the food is soooo good. The ribolitta, a bean soup that is probably the most traditional tuscan food, is the best I had anywhere. If they don’t have it when you go get the zuppa di verdure which is also incredible. It is in the piazza di mercato centrale which is also a good place to visit. They only take cash.
Trattoria Zaza (Piazza Mercato Centrale 26r, 055-215-411) right next to marios. This restaurant has a plate of three traditional tuscan soups- papa al pomodoro, ribollita, and fagioli, there are all great and its fun to taste them all. This place is really well known and generally has good food. We went a lot. My mom loved it but she never went to Marios.
*Acqua al 2- (via de vigna vecchia 40r, 055-284-170) another place that you should DEFINITELY go. They also have one in San Diego which is disappointing but just try to ignore it. This is the place I dream about when I dream about Florence. They have a huge list of pastas and you have to get the assagio, the sampler, they surprise you with six small plates of pasta and every one of them is amazing. We usually shared a secondi after it. If you eat steak, the filletto al mirtillo (steak with blueberry sauce) is really different and really good. Definitely get it.
Giili (Piazza di Repubblica 36-39r) in a great shopping area so you can sit in the square an relax. They are really famous for their hot chocolate. I think it’s better than angelinas in paris.
Trattoria Contadino (Via Palazzuolo 69r) This place was right around the corner from my apartment and I went here a lot. IT was something like 12 Euros for a primi, secondi, side, and all you can drink wine. There is no menu and the options change nightly. The food is just really simple and good.
Il Latini (Via dei Palchetti 6r) This place has two seatings a night. You must make reservations and then show up at the appointed time and wait in the long line outside the door. Eventually they let everyone in at once and just start bringing you tons of food until you can’t eat or drink anymore. A lot of people who visit Florence talk about how great this place is, but I think they are confusing eating a lot with eating well. The restaurant is not bad by any means, just not one of my favorites.
Ristorante Ruth (Via Farini 2A) This is the restaurant of the Jewish community of Florence and directly next to the synagogue (which you should visit). The cuisine is Sephardic, sort of middle eastern with an Italian twist. The food is all meat free (contains dairy and fish, though).
If you ever want to cook go to the Mercato centrale for produce. There is also a tiny homemade pasta shop where everything is made by hand by one woman who has owned the shop for decades. Try her tortilloni (bigger tortellini more local to Florence). She shop is on Vie dell’alberto between Via Palazuollo and Via della Scalla.
If you want to go to a chianti vineyard, you should go to Castello di Verrazzano (once home to Giovanni da Verrrazzano, who “discovered” what is now New York City). They give a great tour and serve a wonderful tasting lunch with there wine. Their Vin Santo is sooo good with biscotti. They also make really good balsamic vinegar which is far too good to be wasted in salad dressing but great on vanilla gelato.