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Sending colleague for meal of her life in Florence

roxie Mar 2, 2009 11:57 PM

Hounds~Please help. A colleague will be in Florence for one long day(I know!) and is wanting to spend it well. I've talked her into the Duomo and surrounds as her husband is not a "museum guy". I have also waxed on about the steak in Italy. I only picked up our rental car in Florence on our last trip so do not know places to recommend. It looks like Trattoria Sostanza might be a very good bet for steak. Does anyone know it's proximity to the Duomo and what prices are like?


  1. erica Mar 4, 2009 06:42 AM

    You can walk from the Duomo in about 15 minutes or less.

    2 Replies
    1. re: erica
      CJT Mar 4, 2009 12:18 PM

      Sostanza is a very straightforward, unadorned restaurant with little "atmosphere", but the bistecca is very good and they also offer a pollo in burro (chicken breasts in a heavenly butter sauce). It's a good deal for 2 people to share both dishes.

      A different place which is most unusual but offers excellent food at a rather low cost is Teatro del Sale, which is also about 15 minutes walk from the Duomo (but to the east, whereas Sostanza is west of the Duomo). I recommend you do a search on this board for my post entitled "Florence Report - December 2007" for a write-up on Teatro del Sale. I include other places in that post which they might also consider. At Teatro, they will get to sample many different antipasti, pasta, fish, meat, and lots of other things. Plus house wine is included in the price (20 Euros at lunch, 30 at dinner - it is required to make a reservation for dinner but not for lunch).

      1. re: CJT
        Joe H Mar 5, 2009 02:49 PM

        I also recommend that, in fact, you go to Sostanza. To the best of my knowledge I was the first person to mention it on this board seven or eight years ago and it is a serious rival to Peter Luger's for the best steak that I have ever had. It is also the oldest trattoria in Florence with a great deal of history. Yes, it is unadorned, even plain but it has character with several hundred years on the floor and walls. It FEELS like a 200+ year old trattoria which it is. For bisteca Fiorentina this is the absolute definitive destination in all of Italy. There is nowhere else that does it better. Sostanza is an experience you will only find in Florence; and steak you will only find in Tuscany. You are probably looking at E 45 or 50 for a three inch thick Porterhouse for both. But this is Chiannina beef (sp?) which is almost impossible to find. There is a crust and flavor that is extraordinary, a flavor that is the reason this restaurant has survived for over 200 years. If you really appreciate good beef there is no other restaurant you should consider. Perhaps in the world.

    2. d
      DavyTheFatBoy Mar 3, 2009 05:37 PM

      I think aiming for a "meal of her life" is a very bad way to start. What's so nice about eating in Italy is eating in Italy. They take food seriously, use good ingredients and cook with care. It's a joy to eat there, more so at humble restaurants than over the top restaurants. Looking for the "meal of your life" is just not an Italian way to approach food. Or so this New Yorker thinks.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DavyTheFatBoy
        mnosyne Mar 6, 2009 08:23 AM

        I agree with you! The best thing about eating in Italy is eating in Italy. I’ve had many delicious parts of meals all over Italy but I think no particular “lifetime champ” meal. I would say my best meal in Florence was a Fuor d’Acqua, where the fresh fish was being brought in quivering even as we ate. We had a spectacular dish of crab with maltagliati pasta in a pepper/garlic sauce, followed, after it arrived, by a whole gorgeous sole. It was expensive, but really top-notch. As far as a most fun meal, I would say chowing down on a really rare bistecca alla fiorentina at Il Latini, where contrary to many posts on this site, we were treated very well, warmly welcomed, and happily fed.

      2. r
        rockfish42 Mar 3, 2009 12:03 AM

        On a tangent, there are some really great gelato places there. I'll look up the names if you'd like.

        2 Replies
        1. re: rockfish42
          roxie Mar 3, 2009 07:32 AM

          Thanks Rockfish, that would be a hit I know!

          1. re: roxie
            rockfish42 Mar 3, 2009 04:04 PM

            Vivoli, V. Isole della Stinche 7, it's way behind the Bargello open Tu-Sat 7:30 am-1 am Su 9:30 am - 1 am
            Best gelato I've ever had, that might've had something to do with the heat wave at the time though.

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