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The Hidden Gems of Florence

I was in Florence for five days last month, and used Emily-Wise Miller's book <i>The Food Lover's Guide to Florence</i> exclusively. If you don't have this book and love Tuscan food, buy it. We had many amazing meals in restaurants where we were usually the only tourists. The highlights:

For lunch eat at Trattoria Mario (Via Rosina 2r). Sit where you're told. Get the bisteca and the ragu, and eat it quickly with a lot of red wine. Go have a lie-down afterward and relive your meal.

I 13 Gobbi (Via del Porcellana 9r) [The 13 Hunchbacks]is a great dinner option. I had delicious <i>pici</i> in olive oil and hot pepper flakes and <i>tagliata</i>, slice steak with rocket and balsamic vinegar. We ended our meal with vin santo and biscottini.

For a unique coffee, head to Chiaroscuro (Via del Corso 36r) and pay 1,50 euro for a <i>nocciolina</i>- a head mix of caffe, cream and hazelnut liqueur. Maybe drink another, then go back outside and get some more adventure.

Finally, end your day at Carabe'(Via Ricasoli 60r), a Sicilian gelateria known for their nut gelati. The almond, pistachio and black walnut gelati is incomparable. They're open until 1 AM, so it's a great late-night stop before tumbling in bed, sated and sticky from gelato.

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  1. ditto trattoria mario - you'll not want to sit long (do they still have those stools and mushroom tables? but their ribollita and ragu are the best.

    glad to see 13 gobbi is still going strong - we first went there more than 25 years ago.

    1. had a great sunday lunch at 13 Gobbi last February. Good pick.

      1. Vini e Vecchi Sapori on the Via Magazzini (just off Piazza della Signoria) cheap, authentic and really special and atmospheric....beg, borrow or steal a table in this tiny gem! However, do not turn up carrying any guidebooks. It really is fab - the bruschetta were amazing (the traditional and the unusual - asparagus pureed) and vitello tonnato was to die for. Very simple but that's what Tuscan's do and know best. There are only five tables and they are filled with friends of the owner who comes round after you have eaten with grappa on the house. Also Buca del Orafo between the Pontevecchio and Uffizi - am now feeling very hungry indeed.

        1. A few years ago I did have those wonderful I think it was tripe sandwiches at the market in Florence. No one made a big fuss about the place and they were wonderful.

          2 Replies
          1. re: EclecticEater

            It is the stand in the Market called Nerbone. The sandwich is called Bollito, but I don't think it's tripe. For tripe, go to the tripe stand in the square by Dante's house (American Express office is there, or was).

            1. re: faijay

              There was definitely a tripe stand outside, in front of the market, the two times I was in Florence. Also fantastic was the porchetta sandwich from a vendor inside the market.


          2. I loved ZA ZA's near the market. The white truffle pizza was amazing!!!!!!

            1. Nerbone, the stall in the Market, has both the bollito and tripe sandwiches. I stood in line forever to pay and get my ticket, got elbowed in the stomach by a (not American Tourist at least) lady who barged in front of me and ordered four, and those four sandwiches finished off his stock of bollito. I wasn't in the mood to try tripe by then. What a disappointment for me, as I was there on a tip from this board. The spinach risotto I'd also ordered there was good, I guess, my boyfriend had eaten it all by the time I got back to the table. He liked it.

              1. I second the above. Tripe panini and ribollita.

                1. Alla Vecchia Bettola

                  1. Very happy to see 13 Gobbi recommended. We wound up there by accident--we showed up for our reservation at Sostanza a day early(!)--and wandered in to enjoy a truly lovely meal.

                    1. how about La Carraia-P.zza N. Sauro, 25r. they have the most amazing gelato!!!!!! its on the alto-arno, and right near piazza santo spirito...yummiieeeeeee

                      1. Piling on for emphasis: Panino con bollito at the Nerbone stall in the market was one of the highlights of my trip to Italy, and I (seriously) wouldn't go to Florence without eating at least one.

                        1. Has anybody mentioned il cibreo? It is a pricey restaurant, however, attached is a wine bar serving primi and secondi from the same kitchen as the restaurant. I had a great bottle of wine, a crostini con lardo, and a wonderful oxtail dish. It was very reasonably priced, and very very good.

                          Also - the very well known and touristy Il Latini is very good. I know that it is nice to stay away from tourist places, however, il latini is an experience to have if you've never dined in Firenze.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: ilmangiatore

                            I would not recommend the latter. Its a meal of lots of not very good tuscan food eaten in a crowd of other tourists. why waste a meal in florence on this?

                          2. 3 panche is fantastic. It literally means 3 seats. Try the Pappa al Pommodoro or the penne which is done red but an egg is added. Kind of like a hybrid between carbonara and amatriciana.

                            Sostanza detto 'Il Troia' is the Peter Luger of Florence.