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Florence, help --

Hi there -- I'm heading to Florence with my mum, for three nights in April (Fri - Mon). So far I've compiled this list, mostly from Chow (thanks!). I think I've got a handle on some great, quick lunch spots, but I'm having a harder time figuring out where to have a nice, quiet, evening meal.

lunch: Da Nerbone, Da Sergio, Mario -- the problem: these places are closed on Sunday -- any ideas for a Sunday lunch?

dinner: Il Cibreo, Tre Soldi
I ate at Il Cibreo about six years ago and quite liked it -- I think we'll eat here as long as my mum doesn't mind the wait in line.
Tre Soldi sounds quite nice -- and it looks like they're open for Sunday dinner.

So this leaves me stumped for Sunday lunch, and in need of a recommendation for another dinner. I think Tre Soldi and Il Cibreo are pretty casual, so it might be nice for the other dinner to be a bit fancier. We could splurge somewhat, but we're not really interested in hyper-touristy (I know, we're tourists too) places like La Giostra. What do you think??

Grazie mille!

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  1. I think there was just a thread on this - if you search this Board for Florence sunday you should find it.

    4 Replies
    1. re: jen kalb

      Hi Jen -- Thanks -- I don't know how I missed that thread in my search. I think I'm covered for Sunday lunch (Paoli), but any ideas for a third special, last-night-in-florence dinner?

      1. re: frannyfran

        Nerbone is highly highly overrated - as is Paoli which is very very touristy and not good. For sunday lunch I head to Vini e Vecchi Sapori in the Via Magazzini its a tiny hole in the wall (literally) with delicious food. Another of my favourites is the Osteria de Benci - again excellent

        If its queuing I think you mean Cibreino as Cibreo you need to book. Have a fab time.

        1. re: LotsC

          As of last april, unless it has changed much, Paoli proved disappointing. Avoid.

          1. re: NYJewboy

            Can't you say more than it "proved disappointing"? Based on what? Lots of local Italian families eat at Paoli on Sundays and holidays. Apparently they are not disappointed. Not fair to diss a place without writing a review of what you had and why you didn't like it.

    2. Okay, through more research, I've come up with this list:
      lunch: Da Nerbone, Da Sergio, Mario, Paoli
      dinner: Il Cibreo, Tre Soldi, Ruggero

      Of course let me know if there are any duds here, or if you have any other ideas --

      6 Replies
      1. re: frannyfran

        Here's a place we found open on Sunday for lunch when we were there in December 2007. Nothing fancy, but good food at low price: . Il Pallotino Via della Stinche 1/r (across from small Ukrainian church on corner of Via Vigna Vecchia) Found this little place when others nearby were not open. They offer a “menu degustazione” at only 8.50 Euros and it was quite good: penne in a simple butter and black pepper preparation, followed by a grilled slice of pork with carrots and zucchini. Wife ordered risotto with speck and radicchio and found it a real delight. Rice turned red from being cooked with the radicchio and the speck gave it a nice extra flavor (8 Euros). Unpretentious good restaurant at a budget price. Mostly Italian families eating there.

        1. re: CJT

          I love to eat at Boccadama for Sunday lunch. It's right on Piazza Santa Croce, on the right side of the piazza (if you are facing at the church). They have outdoor tables under umbrellas - which should be really nice in April, and the view is spectacular on a sunny day. You can have a glass of wine and a plate of tuscan cold cuts and cheese or good pastas, etc... You'll find lots of tourists there, but you'll also find italians - I live here and go there quite often. They have a really great lunch chef - Luana! For dessert their chocolate-pear cake is great.

          On the other hand I am not such a fan of Il Pallotino mentioned above. I have only eaten there once, but I found the quality of the food to be sort of lacking... I still walk by there all the time and to me it seems like one of those "cheap menu for the tourists" sort of places. Again, only been there once, so could have been an off day - and CJT could know better than me...

          1. re: ellene

            thanks so much CJT & ellene -- I'll report back next month --

            1. re: frannyfran

              Since you liked Cibreo, have you considered having Friday or Saturday dinner at Picchi's other restaurant on the same block? I'm referring to Teatro del Sale (Picchi owns/runs Cibreo and Trattoria Cibreo as well). It's a great way to try many dishes from Picchi's kitchens, have all you want to eat and drink for a single price, and be entertained in the same place when dinner is over. Do a search on this Italy board for my post entitled "Florence Report - December 2007" for a full write-up of our lunch at Teatro del Sale. It will give you a good idea of what to expect. If you decide to go there for dinner on Friday or Saturday, you must make a reservation, but your mother won't have to wait in line to sit down, as you sit where you like when they open for dinner. Read my report and see what you think. I would like to know your reaction to what I wrote.

            2. re: ellene

              Regarding Pallotino, we stumbled upon this place a few weeks ago, and it seemed to send all the right signals, initially. But oh my, what a disappointment. This wasn't even acceptable Italian cooking, it was just plain lowest-common-denominator cooking. Pizzas might have come out of the freezer. Cheap ingredients all around. It was the sorriest, most unauthentic, unsatisfying meal we had in Italy. Pass it by.

              Vivoli for gelato, right next door to Pallotino, is a good choice. Best gelato we had in Florence, however, was at Perchè No, just off the Via Cavour.

              1. re: jol519

                Absolutely LOVED Perche No! We got into the habit of going twice a day! Absolutely top-quality, and the service was much more friendly than some of the more famous gelato shops (Vivoli).

        2. I've been to Florence only twice, but these have been my faves:
          1. Alle Murate
          2. Trattoria Boboli (across the Arno)
          3. La Baraonda
          4. Pallotino
          5. Osteria dei Macchi (i think that's the name!)

          Enjoy wherever you go!

          2 Replies
          1. re: pbswordgirl

            Interesting, this is the first mention of Baraonda in a long time! We weren't impressed by our single visit there- it was quite stylish but the food was dull and not up to the promises. And my husband was quite put out at the cost for such a mediocre meal. Admittedly that was a fquite ew years ago however so things may well have improved .. What did you think was good?

            1. re: jen kalb

              It's been a few years, but my sister and I enjoyed it so much we went twice in one week! Had some lovely lamb and chicken dishes and outstanding desserts. Service was very friendly as well...

          2. Try getting onto the slowtalk website and click into the Italy forum. You can search restaurants and get reviews from every city. Also, if you ask a question there, you wil get a ton of replies, including some from locals.

            1. i am abroad in florence so i have been to quite a few restaurants here... acqua al 2 is great - it might be a bit loud depending on when you go but they have salad/pasta/steak sampler where you get to try multiple dishes and also the bread comes with a delicious hummus dip. Trattoria Zaza right near San Lorenzo market is also great even though it is a bit touristy - the grilled chicken with spinach or potatos or the gnocchi is wonderful! Also The Wild Boar (not sure the Italian name of the restaurant) on Borgo San Jacopo right near Ponte Vecchio is truly authentic with many Italians and was absolutely delicious! Golden View Open Bar is a trendy restaurant with a view of the Ponte Vechio - one of my most memorable dinners and I have tried many dishes and every single one is yummy - the waiters are very friendly too! Hope this helps and have fun!

              1. I agree with CJT, as a lovely Italian experience you cannot beat Teatro del Sale for a great evening out. I also recommend Giovanni's on Via del Moro. Owned by one of the Latini family the food, is very good with a standout dish of Calves brains and artichokes one lunch. Both times I visited (lunchtimes) we were the only foreigners and the dining room was a peaceful and calm oasis.

                2 Replies
                1. re: loudjazz

                  Thanks so much everyone -- I must just swap out Cibreo for Teatro. Or maybe do both but drop one of the others? Does anyone have any first hand experience with Tre Soldi or Ruggero? I think I found both of those ideas on this board.

                  Another quick note -- any advice on how far in advance I need to book at these places?
                  Grazie mille --

                  1. re: frannyfran

                    Suggest you do swap Teatro for Cibrèo but not do both, as some dishes will be served at both and Teatro is way, way lower in price (as Trattoria Cibrèo is much less expensive than the main Cibrèo restaurant. I've never eaten in Alle Murate, but have eaten their food at other restaurants they control and it was always good - I believe that Osteria de Caffè Italiano is one of them. Otherwise, go to Sostanza and have 1 order of bistecca and 1 order of petti de pollo en burro for another great meal.

                2. Trattoria Sostanza:
                  Just a few nights ago, we had dinner at Trattoria Sostanza. Let me tell you – all the hype that this restaurant has received on this board and everywhere else is well deserved. Maximillano, the maite’d have the knack for being attentive of each and every diner in the restaurant. The bistecca a la fiorentina, their signature dish, is well worth making a reservation for, and at Euro 23 for a generous-sized cut, is well below the price of any good NYC steakhouse porterhouse that I can think of. Besides, this is genuine meat from the famed Chianina beef. The primi and antipasti dishes are not too shabby either, and we likes the vegetable–based antipasti and contorni that we ordered. The house wine is an added plus as it is easily the best house wine that we had during our trip as it had the structure and complexity to match-up with the dishes.

                  Enoteca Le Barrique:
                  For a quiet dinner with a good wine list and Tuscan food, Enoteca Le Barrique in the Oltrarno area is a neighborhood gem. Being that it’s deep into Oltrarno, we didn’t notice other tourists in the area. The restaurant seems to thrive in creating traditional Tuscan dishes with a little nouvelle touch and this was a good diversion for us as we were simply Italianed-out after a week of traditional meals in Umbria and Tuscany. The owner/sommelier, Alessandro, knows good wines and will steer you appropriately when you provide your preference and price point. BTW, this was the place that was recommended to us by the good guys at Le Volpe L'Uva enoteca, an excellent wine bar to while away the time.