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Apr 9, 2007 10:41 AM


Will be in Florence for 5 days in May.
Would like one great restaurant experience, and other suggestions in the moderate range.
Our friends who will accompany us for the first 4 days, simply cannot afford star rated restaurants.
So last night splurge, and the rest just good Italian food in a comfortable restaurant.
So, help!

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  1. ive never been, but this was just posted today:

    have fun!

    3 Replies
    1. re: itsolivia

      I would heartily recommend a restaurant called "Ciro & Sons" in via del Giglio 28. It's not far from the Duomo; closed on Sundays. It gets very busy so booking is recommended, unless you don't mind waiting in one of the nearby bars! It's a family run restaurant - one of the sons married an American girl about 2 years ago and she works at the desk.

      If you want to book, their telephone number is (0039) 055 28.96.94.

      For your more moderate eating excursions, go to places where the locals eat - always good food at very resonable prices.

      Buone vacanze e buon appetito!

      1. re: itsolivia

        If our experience eating across five trips to Florence is any guide, this list includes some a appealing possibilities. You don't mention your Italian proficiency -- especially your Italian menu proficiency -- but each of the following restaurants includes at least one person with very good English to help you through your meal.

        Trattoria 4 Leone (on the Oltrarno) is a must. We've eaten there three times in our last two trips to Florence and only once did we eat there primarily because we were in the neighborhood visiting the Pitti Palace. In warm weather, dining in the lovely outdoor courtyard is particularly pleasant.

        Ristorante La Giostra is a nice possibility, especially for a Sunday dinner when many of Florence's restaurants are closed. No outdoor dining. It is very odd to see the review identify the ravioli with Pecorino and pears as one of La Giostra's signature dishes since that's a preparation that has long been associated with 4 Leone. (Incidentally, it's delicious!) The one criticism I have of La Giostra is that the chef has a tendency to overdo; some of the preparations don't let the ingredients speak for themselves even though their quality is impeccable. One time, my husband ordered a steak preparation that included a slice of foie gras and a sauce. He was totally happy with the dish. I tasted it and thought the chef had masked spectacularly lovely Chianina beef. I ordered a much simpler preparation of veal and thought my meal was fabulous.

        Osteria de Benci: We love this place! It's the most reasonably priced of the restaurants I've mentioned so I'd definitely put this on the list when you'll be with your friend. My husband and I are still talking about a pasta we ate there with cherry tomatoes, black pepper, and grated cheese. Indoor and outdoor seating. The best way to end a meal at this trattoria is to head around the corner to Via dei Neri for wonderful gelato at Gelateria dei Neri. Delish!

        Our favorite place to eat bistecca Fiorentina is Ristorante Leo in Santa Croce. We've had this in places all across Tuscany and none equal the version at Leo. Impeccable quality ingredients. I remember an dish that consisted of nothing more than zucchini sliced thin, grilled and served with a drizzle of olive oil and shavings of Parmesean cheese. When the food is that simple, the ingredients have to be extra-ordinary. And they were. You won't go wrong putting yourself in the hands of the effusive owner/maitre d' although you'll want to make him aware of your friend's budget issues so bistecca is probably out. Again, eat your dessert around the corner only this time it will be at Vivoli.

        Vivoli used to be the best gelateria in Florence, but I think it is now equaled by others including Neri and Vestri. Still, I'll never say "no" to a chance to eat Vivoli's gelato.

        1. re: Indy 67

          Can anyone give me an idea of what dinner for 2 would cost at Trattoria 4 Leone, La Giostra, and Osteria de Benci? We will be traveling in northern Italy for a month and with the current state of the dollar, we will have to do some restaurant budgeting. Thanks so much for the help.

      2. I love La Giostra but haven't been in years. If things are still the same, it would probably fall somewhere in between your price category desires. It was on the more expensive end for Florence, but certainly not a typical Michelin starred restaurant price. At the exchenge rate at the time, I think main courses were about 20USD

        1. Be sure to do a search for Florence on this board. There have been many good posts about Florence here over the past fe wyears.

          1. I had incredible pizza at a little bakery type shop in the middle of Florence. There were no tables or anything but the pizza was served on this thick, light bread and it was incredible. I forget the exact price (1-2 Euro I think) but it was also the cheapest thing I ate in all of europe. We couldn't help ourselves and went back everyday we were there.

            I forget the name but there was a wooden sign hanging down at the entrance. Im 6'4 and only remember this bc I hit my head more than once on it.

            Good luck in finding this gold mine.

            1. Treat:Osteria Cinghialle Bianco - Oltrarno

              Across Ponte Vecchio -- make a right and walk about five minutes. Awesome Trattoria.
              Very local - not super cheap - but delicious.

              Cheap eats - were also at Oltrarno - Sabbatini - bright lights - cheap food - basic good Italian - just outisde the big PORTA - 4th bridge from Pontevecchio heading West.

              Local Trattoria - "Orologio" - best Firenze Steak we had! Best value!! Huge portions. Also Oltrarno

              4 Replies
              1. re: mirandabrooklyn

                Gelato War here. Vivoli is by far the the best gelato in italy. besides, they're very friendly. Try the gianduia flavor. Neri is dull and unimaginitive.

                1. re: Josh in San Francisco

                  VIvoli is iteresting gelato, with a roughr and more rustic texture than many. But I would not call it best even if I belived in ranking food experiences. I think in Firenze Carraibe and Perche No? are both top notch as well.

                  1. re: Josh in San Francisco

                    No, Grom is much better than Vivoli. Perche No is also better and both are cheaper than Vivoli.

                    1. re: kenito799

                      check out this report about Grom, which is opening a store in NYC. I had the Malaga made with $30 Pedro Ximenez sherry!