How to eat like a local
This post is dedicated to those who salivate whenever they see an Instagram shot of pasta or watch a waiter pour a glass of wine. Get ready to eat your face off, Florentine style! After all, you didn’t come to see the Mona Lisa, oh wait… You came to gorge yourself at the best Florence restaurants!
Two full days of eating like a Florentine
Here are the best Florence restaurants that are jammed packed in two full days. Get ready for a 4-5 meal day from cappuccino, to pizza, to steak and gelato. No plate was left uneaten during this rigorous research, so enjoy.
Day 1 in Florence/Fiesole
Sorry to break it to you, but there are no eggs here especially for colazione, breakfast. I’m NOT going to send you to The Diner where you can eat food that tastes better in ‘Murica anyways. No. Unless you HAVE to have a burger in Florence.
I am however going to steer you to Chiaroscuro located on Via del Corso, 36/r. Get a cappuccino and pastry and move along. Italians do this
most every morning AND all while standing up. I know, I know, they’re crazy, but it’s what keeps them thin, standing up. I swear.
I love Chiaroscuro’s endless coffee bar menu. They have heavy duty hot chocolates, creamy chai tea, espresso with liquors, and on and on. Don’t forget that a caffè is your version of an espresso, so don’t order an espresso order a caffè!
After shopping around the San Lorenzo market and down Via Tornabuoni you’re hungry for pranzo, lunch. You desire wine with your lunch, do you not? Thought so.
Head to the most famous sandwich—I mean PANINO—spot in town, All’Antico Vinaio! It’s on Via dei Neri 65 between the Uffizi Gallery and Santa Croce. It’s rated as TripAdvisor’s numero uno restaurant. This means two things. One: you’ll eat one crazy panino. Two: it’s popular so don’t let the line deter you.
After all the art you’ve seen today you must be ready for a drinky drink. Want a view with your Spritz? Head to the posh SE.STO bar at the Westin Excelsior smack over the Arno River. Drink in the view and drink up that Spritz in style. Check out their live webcam to pump you up for your visit!
A more dangerous option: If you want to live on the edge, literally, then grab a to-go drink or bottle and sit along the river…and maybe hop over the Santa Trinita bridge. Don’t get fined though, look natural and unsuspicious!
The one thing that you MUST eat while in Florence is a bistecca fiorentina. Say it with me now… bee-steak-ah fee-or-ent-eena. Eh, close enough. It’s the only thing that you’ll tell your foodie friends about when you get back home. You’ll say exactly this, “Dude, I ate a steak that was 5 fingers thick! Wait wait wait. And. Rare! Ya, seriously, like red and everything.”
Now, in order to show off about being a know-it-all foodie you have to eat this bistecca fiorentina in one place. Ready!? It is called Perseus. The name sounds much sexier in Italian. Perseus is the son of Zeus, so there’s no screwing around here.
Lucky for you Perseus has two locations. The best one is a bit further in Fiesole, called Il Fiesolano. Fiesole is a gorgeous city overlooking Florence and it’s where I got married. ;) Listen, you came here to eat! Do you want to go back home and miss out on the best steak of your life? No, didn’t think so. Google the bus schedule for Fiesole and off you go! Go on.
If you’re not feeling like a 20-40 minute ride up (depending where you start from) into the gorgeous Tuscan hills with incredible views of Florence—ya I’m trying to make you feel guilty here—then head to the other location in Florence, simply called Perseus on Viale Don Minzoni 10.
What do you order? Remember a bee-steak-ah fee-or-ent-eena! That’s pretty much it, seriously. Don’t look at the menu or you’ll get confused. One hunk of a 50€ bistecca fiorentina for two people with a side or two of veggies. You can order traditional white Tuscan beans, spinach or mushrooms. The best wine pairing for such a plate of rawness would be their Il Re delle Carni Chianti Classico.
Now that you’re in Fiesole you’re close to my neck of the woods, Le Cure! Le Cure’s a neighborhood with Florence’s most famous gelateria, Badiani! You may find me here around midnight ordering a massive load of pistacchio gelato topped with creamy orange gelato. No sprinkles.
Badiani won a gelato competition in 1979 in honor of Bernardo Buontalenti, the inventor of gelato (in 1565). They won with their now signature AND trademarked Buontalenti gelato, my husband’s favorite. It’s made with egg based cream and fresh whipped cream. Get some at Viale dei Mille, 20/R!
Check out the top Gelaterias in Florence.
Day 2 in Florence
If you wake up in time for breakfast then head to Cibrèo Caffè on Via del Verrocchio, 5r. If you already know this place you may be thinking “for breakfast?”. Good point because this place is my top dinner spot, but they serve all day long and the ambiance is just so charming; it’s perfect for that Italian cappuccino and ciambella donut!
The owners are best friends with my husband so we may be biased but it really is the best in town! I recommend other dinner spots in this post so that you get Tuscany by the plate full, but if you’re here for more nights, please reserve a spot at Cibrèo Caffè! P.S. they’re famous for their non-pasta dishes, like lamb brain.
I’m giving you two options, since you have the power of putting things in your belly.
Option uno: PIZZA! Let’s ignore how cliché this is and just roll with the dough. Gusta Pizza is amazing! My favorite is spicy sausage with an extra kick to your face ‘nduja sauce. Mammamia, it’s hot. It’s on Via Maggio, 46R by the Boboli Gardens.
Option due: LAMPREDOTTO! Nothing says Tuscany like a juicy bread roll filled with cow stomach. To best eat this mecca of meat and to have fun in the process go to a street vendor or any food market. You can grab a lampredotto sandwich at the Sant’Ambrogio market or San Lorenzo market. The best street vendor is Mario’s by Porta Romana. There are many, even on Via dei Macci right by Cibrèo Caffè.
Time to unwind after all the eating and walking. Hm, how about some prosciutto? Thought so.
My most guarded secret—no longer a secret—is Il Santino. They’re located in Oltrarno, the cool part of town. Cross the Arno River and get to Via di Santo Spirito 60r. It’s close to Palazzo Pitti and the Santo Spirito church, but remember you’re over the sightseeing at this point, so those spots can wait for the morning.
Il Santino is snug and tasty. The menu has the best little Tuscan snacks you saved months of your salary to fly here for, so drink up and eat. Don’t fill up too much on prosciutto, cheese or their drool inspired whipped cod because dinner’s up next!
Time for real Tuscan goodies like tripe and lampredotto. If you didn’t eat lampredotto for lunch, then you really have to order Il Magazzino‘s ravioli di lampredotto! I take all my outta town friends here and make them eat it. I sit back and watch their eyes roll onto the floor.
This unassuming dish is plated with three large perfectly cooked ravioli. The taste is meaty and not as strong in case you fear the lampredotto. You’re here on a journey, so please do not NOT order it!
Il Magazzino is one of the most typical Tuscan restaurant in Florence, so no matter what you get you’ll be set. They prepare the best of what’s in season and have an amazing wine list to perfectly pair with your stomach, I mean lampredotto. Don’t leave without sharing a plate of their best dessert of the day.
The bonus is that it’s located in the most precious piazza in Florence, Piazza della Passera 2/3. There’s a bar, gelateria and two other restaurants in this tiny spot. FYI, Passera is slang for vajayjay ahem vagina.
I know you’re full, but we’re almost done. You’re doing great, just one more bite of creamy, mouth watering, you flew to Italy for this, fresh gelato. Rivareno is one of my absolute favorites! They properly cover the gelato so it remains at the perfect temperature made with nothing but fresh ingredients. It’s about a 5 minute walk from the duomo at Via Borgo degli Albizi 46R, close enough to run back and re-enact this photo!
*For more restaurants save my Foursquare lists!
Have you drooled all over your iPad yet? Good, which restaurants sound the best and what dishes would you love to try in Florence!
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