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Mar 21, 2008 03:43 PM

Florence-- Recs near hotel?

Spending 8 nights end of next week in Florence and staying at the Hotel Regency on Piassa D'Azeglio Massimo. Wondering about any good lunch/dinner places in that neighborhood?

Have just printed the long thread started by "Houston" on Feb 18 so no need to waste your time repeating those unless any of them are in the area of our hotel in which case would appreciate pointers on how to find.

Looking forward to our trip and thanks in advance for any advice.

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  1. Sorry to tell you that your hotel is out of the main part of Florence and you will have to walk or take a taxi to get around. Only restaurants I can think of that are a reasonable walk from your hotel would be the Cibreo places: Trattoria Cibreo, Ristorante Cibreo, and Teatro del Sale.

    3 Replies
    1. re: CJT

      I am sure you will find plenty of alternatives, maybe even restaurants patronized mainly by local florentines, not tourists. The hotel looks lovely.. In any event, my Red Michelin book map shows the well regarded (by Chowhounds) La Giostra, at Borgo Pinti 10r, a 3-fork called Ora d'Aria at Via Ghibellina 3C/r and a Jewish cuisine place called Ruth's featuring veg and fish dishes as being close to you. As I recall it, the streets like Via Ghibellina, Borgo d Albizi/V. Pietrapiana and other streets running down toward the center are full of restaurants and food stores, and the area around the nearby San Ambrogio market (where the Cibreo restaurants are located) are also food- rich. Do visit the market - it is fascinating. Also in a bookstore in Italy, you might want to browse the Gambero Rosso guide, which in some versions includes city maps for larger cities. These tend to show restaurants outside as well as inside touristic zones, where afterrall the average italians live. Hope you will enjoy your trip, and post back when you return about what you found!.

      1. re: jen kalb

        We stayed in an apartment in Piazza dei Ciompi only a couple of blocks closer to the duomo than the Hotel Regency and I can tell you we loved the neighborhood: quiet, lots of services (e.g. laundry and dry cleaners near the Sant'Ambrogio market) but an easy walk to tourist attractions.

        The Santa Croce district is probably the closest restaurant-dense area. You're probably already aware of the following restaurants that make all the guidebooks: Alle Murate, Baldovino, Boccadama, the Cibreo siblings, Enotecca Pinchiorri, and Osteria dei Benci. Trattoria Cibreo and Osteria dei Benci are our favorites among that list. We've never eaten at Pinchiorri. We also love Leo in Santa Croce, which we never see listed in a guidebook. We always order the bistecca alla fiorentina and let the amiable host take care of the rest of our meal. Leo doesn't make the list as one of the great Florentine destination restaurants specifically for bistecca. I can't believe a better version exists than Leo's version, but one of these trips we're going to have to try the name bistecca restaurants.

        Our longest walk to dinner was the night we dined at Quattro Leoni (Oltrarno). It took us 30 minutes to get to the restaurant -- you'd have to add a bit more -- but we adore this restaurant so we happily walk to this place regardless of where we stay. (We don't always stay in apartments.)

        Super close to your hotel is one of the better gelaterias with a caveat. Vestri is officially a chocolate shop that happens to make quite a number of lucious chocolate gelato flavors. Since it is a retail shop, it only keeps retail hours. It is not open for an after-dinner dessert of gelato. But the hours are not the caveat. The warning is that the shop keeps its gelato at a warmer/softer consistency compared to most gelaterias. Plan on eating the gelato within five feet of the shop and plan on drinking the last of your gelato if you're visiting in the summer.

        1. re: Indy 67

          Indy 67,

          I think your recs were dead on. We ate at Trattoria Cibreo one night. Great crostini with pate and a very nice spicy octopus stew as my main.

          We also had a great dinner at Leo. Wasn't blown away by the mixed antipasti, but their pastas were great. Had the bistecca which was carved teableside and olive oil poured over it. It was huge and we couldn't quite finish it (maybe we shouldn't have each gotten our own pastas), but the flavor of the meat was great. Since you'v eaten there several times, I had the pasta dish which had a spicy tomato sauce, which was outstanding. It hyad a name I don't recall. Do you know which dish I'm referring to?

    2. Why don't you identify the restaurants that look appealing to you? Then, we'd be able to supply more specific pointers on how to find them.

      1. I also highly recommend Quattro Leoni, a short walk over the Ponte Vecchio; we had a wonderful meal there; the salad named after the restaurant was one of the most delicious salads I have ever had with very unusual pairings that just seemed to work well (arugala, avocado, arugala pesto, pine nuts, etc) and the fiochetti was also delicious. If you want to go there make sure you make a reservation. I was just in Florence and found the city quite easy to walk around. I also ate at Osteria de Benci but our meal was just average and we ordered the "house specialty" drunken spaghetti but I thought it was just fair.

        1 Reply
        1. re: bakerboyz

          At dei Benci, my husband's and my pasta course was the black pepper and cherry tomato combination, a simple dish that reached sublime heights.

        2. I don't recall the name of the restaurant since it was 3 years ago ... but the food in Florence is AMAZING. Much better than that in Rome, IMHO.