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Feb 21, 2009 09:10 AM

Bistecca alla Fiorentina-Prices

Is it possible to get good bistecca alla Fiorentina in Florence for less than $50 per person (including a glass of wine or two and side dish) for dinner? I've checked out Sostanza and a couple of other places, and they all seem a bit pricy. I was hoping to find something closer to $35 pp, but perhaps that's just not realistic. I'm only interested in places open for dinner. I know Trattoria Mario's is sometimes recommended for bistecca, but it is only open for lunch. Thanks for any suggestions you may have, and if this price range is not realistic, please let me know.

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  1. You will find excellent bistecca at moderate prices at Cambi; I cannot remember exactly what we paid but I do know that their per 100 gram prices, which is the way most places price the meat on their menus, was less than at other places we checked. I am not sure that you need two steaks for two persons, unless you are both big eaters.

    $35US is just 27 euro--I doubt if you will find a good bistecca for that price. Remember you are paying by the hundred gram and also paying for the bone.

    1 Reply
    1. re: erica

      I suggest you go to Sostanza and order 1 bistecca and one petti di pollo en burro. You will taste 2 excellent dishes Sostanza provides and your bill will be much less than 70-80 Euros. Yet you will have very memorable dinners. try it!

    2. Interesting. Essentially since we are discussing Sostanza (and I would also suggest Vescovino in Panzano) you are going to get what you pay for. Sostanza is not outrageous, nor excessively expensive for what they are serving. Frankly, they are a bargain. This is a very plain trattoria (oldest in Florence) that does one thing really, really well: bisteca. (well, ok, they also do a serious chicken and have a great dessert).

      I also believe that I am the first person to mention Sostanza on here, dating back 8 years or so. One of the reasons that I have raved about it is that I've had a lot of bisteca in Tuscany. This, consistently was the best. There was also a lot of "character" to the room as well as history. (Note my recommendation of Vescovino in Panzano-it is as good.) Regardless, Sostanza is very popular and whatever you decide you will need to reserve at least a week or more in advance to get in. Look at it this way: how many opportunities will you have in the next year to have a dinner like this? Don't quibble about a few Euros...

      2 Replies
      1. re: Joe H

        just went to Sostanza last month and had an excellent meal (bistecca and petti di pollo al burro). we did not have a reservation on a mid-week day and we seated promptly. tight quarters, but we got a seat nonetheless. when ordering the bistecca be sure to get it "al sangue" as this is how it is traditionally prepared and, in my humble opinion, is clearly best. The pollo is nothing to shake a stick at either. absolutely delicious...was not at all a dinner we considered to be expensive for what you are getting. As Joe said, don't skimp on a few euro for lesser, unknown quality.

        1. re: obraustin

          Okay, thank you all. I won't quibble about a few euros, close my eyes, pay the bill, and try to forget about all of the money I've lost in the stock market this year!

      2. Florence is shockingly expensive, even when we went in January compared to anywhere else in Italy. You might find more reasonable prices in small towns near Florence, but I think you're going to have real trouble finding something good at the price point you mention.

        5 Replies
        1. re: SteveG

          We were in Florence last week and had bistecca at Coco Lezone. It cost 40 euros/kilo. Coco is a tradition with us whenever we are in Florence and for over 25 years it has maintained its quality although costs have increased. I think your budget cap of roughly $50/pp (about 35-40 euros currently) is doable assuming you will not eat more than 1/2 kilo/pp...and assuming you drink house wine. ENJOY

          1. re: mlzeats

            How much do you think that the "average" bistecca weighs?

          2. re: SteveG

            When the Euro was first introduced it was pegged to the dollar at US $1.16 to E 1. At one point the dollar strengthened to .85 and last year it weakened to about US $1.60. Today, as I type this, it is US $1.28, about 10% weaker than the original introduction. The result is that a premium is paid just for the weaker dollar before we even discuss how expensive Florence is as a city. And, it is expensive. And, you'll pay a three or four cent fee on top of this to VISA, MC, Amex or an ATM when you do the exchange.

            1. re: Joe H

              We have found Florence to be no more expensive than Rome and were able to find quite a few good restaurants which offered very good food at prices below those in Rome. As for paying an exchange fee, the major credit cards do charge a hefty foreign currency transaction fee, but ATMs in Italy do not charge fees for withdrawals (same is true in France). We no longer use credit cards in either country, choosing to go to ATMs for several hundred Euros at a time and paying for everything with cash. We have NEVER had an ATM fee charged to us and the exchange rates are much better than those we used to get from VISA and MC.

              1. re: CJT


                Was at trattoria Mario eating with locals. And got some great advice about bistecca. For real bistecca it must be really thick. Length of your thumb thick. Kinda shocking. Because the size and the weight of the steak would be incredible. So 1 steak is enough for 3/4 people.
                So when they eat bistecca and only with two. They don't eat much that day and hardly order extra courses or sides. Just the meat.
                So next time will follow there advice. I am still intimidated with two things. Sheer size and the rawness involved.
                Btw at sostanza I peeked in thekitchen and saw they had relatively small ribpieces. So could mean relatively small steaks.
                Ps sostanza and Mario are incredible. Not just the bistecca.