I first visited Firenze (Florence) in 2010. A short stop jammed between a trip to Rome and Venice, I don’t remember too much. It was certainly hot, and it was busy. In fact, one of the few things I recall about the trip is eating a delicious sandwich somewhere near the Palazzo Vecchio. The food of Firenze – and the wider Tuscan region – is pretty interesting, and I was quite keen on trying a few things out on my short trip to the city!
We used the excellent high speed train service to visit Florence from Bologna, which takes just over 30 minutes. With no real plans for the day except for a good wander, we thought it would be interesting to check out some local eateries. While I didn’t go crazy on the food front, we did find a few delightful local spots to sample some Italian delicacies. If you’re interesting in tasting what Firenze has to offer, check out the following eateries – and make sure to read on for recommendations of some local finds!
Il Panino del Chianti
This hole-in-the-wall store offers two of our favourite things – sandwiches and wine! We stumbled across it after struggling through the crowds on the Ponte Vecchio. Though tiny, it was clearly popular, with people constantly coming and going while we dined in at one of the small wooden tables. The panini sandwiches were so good – I had pesto, turkey and fresh mozzarella, and Matt a spicy salami. They offer 14 different varieties, and a wide selection of wines. Two sandwiches, a water and wine cost 14 euros. You really can’t beat that!
Via De’ Bardi 63/r, 50125, Firenze
Via del Parione, 43-45/r, 50123, Firenze
Run by the Baglioni family since 1954, this restaurant specializes in Tuscan and Florentine dishes. While it was located conveniently close to the train station where we would end our day in Florence, it is set back off the street and not particularly touristy. I sampled the delicious hand-made pici, a local, thick pasta that is extremely filling. Offset with chard and pesto, it was a very warming dish, handy given the sun had long disappeared! Matt sampled the Signoria pizza, a flat bread with raw ingredients – Bufala Campana, fresh tomato, basil, arugula and Gran Riserva pecorino – creating a fresh dining experience. There is ample seating, plus two interior garden courtyards for you to enjoy. Photo credit: Braciere Malatesta.
Via Nazionale, 36, 50123, Firenze
Gelateria La Carraia, Piazza Sauro Nazario, 25/R off Ponte alla Carraia
Mordilatte, Via G. D’Annunzio 105
Grom, Via del Campanile
Badiani, Viale dei Mille, 20
THE FOOD OF FIRENZE – TUSCAN FOODS TO TRY
Pane sciocco – Traditionally cooked in a wood oven, this bread is known as bland bread due to its lack of salt. However, we sampled some at Braciere Malatesta, and it goes nicely with a well-seasoned pasta or tomato dish.
Bistecca alla fiorentina – If you’re looking for a slice of Florentine steak, this is your best bet. A thick and juicy porterhouse cut. It is typically cooked on the grill with salt and pepper, and a lemon wedge provided for taste.
Trippa alla fiorentina – Feeling extra adventurous? Florentine folk love their tripe (!). This dish features the interesting feature sautéed in onions, olive oil and tomato, with a sprinkling of parmesan on top.
Pici alla Ragu di Cinta Senese – A variation on the hand-rolled thick pasta I sampled. It features a sauce made from wild boar. Don’t be alarmed if your serving looks small – the pasta is very, very filling.