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Florence Restaurants

My girlfriend and I are traveling to Florence for about a week in a month or so. I've been to Rome quite a bit, but never to Florence, and I have no idea where to start looking for restaurants. I was hoping for some suggestions on mid-level restaurants or hidden gems for dinner or lunch, as well as one higher scale restaurant (her birthday while we are still in the city).

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  1. Id start with a search of this Board, which has many, many suggestions both in midrange and special event categories, I believe.

    1. The search can be overwhelming. I narrowed my meals to these:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/691746 | FLR: Sostanza, Cibreo Trattoria, Baldini, others?

      1. I'd recommend Cibreo--the trattoria, where the food is from the same kitchen for the very expensive restaurant next door. Tiny, friendly--you may be seated with others--delicious food, no frills. Try the calf shank--which looks like a brown puddle and is like heaven. If they are serving the tomato aspic don't miss it--one of the best dishes ever. No reservations, you just show up--Another excellent choice is Quatro Leoni--it's a big, bustling place and very popular with locals--

        8 Replies
        1. re: chow2chow

          I looked at the websites for both those places and they look great! Can you give me an idea of the prices for them? Thanks so much!

          1. re: carolinadawg

            We were there last week; for four of us for lunch, I believe it was 160-180€ for four apps and four mains. The place was packed and we waited (sans reservations) for 20-30 minutes for a table. Once seated, a very friendly waiter took the time to go over the menu in English. Highly recommended; I still need to post reviews of my Florentine spots....

            1. re: OCAnn

              Thanks Ann...just to be clear, you are referring to Cibreo Trattoria? If so, I was hoping it was a little less epensive than that. Oh well. And yes, please do post your reviwes...I'd love to read them!

              1. re: carolinadawg

                Yes, it was the Trattoria. We also had a couple bottles of wine and water which added about 50€. So food only, you might be able to get away with 30€/person.

                  1. re: carolinadawg

                    On the other hand, you can go across the street to Teatro del Sale and get a full dinner with wine included, plus entertainment after dinner for 30 or 40 Euros (it was 30 when we were there in December 2007). Same organization but different atmosphere and an abundance of food you would never taste just ordering from a trattoria menu. Don't get me wrong: we have dined several times at the Cibreo Trattoria and found it quite good, but the room is small and you might have a wait to sit. If you have not already done so, try a search on this board for Teatro del Sale.

                    1. re: CJT

                      It was €30 in November 2009 as well. Highly recommended! You can also go for lunch for €20 without entertainment. You will have to become a member in either case, which costs €5 (but it's worth it just to read the members' rules!). <Sorry for the double text--this edit function is a bit wonky.>

        2. Although it is outside the normal tourist area (but still walkable), Vecchia Bettola is a really enjoyable experience. Still largely locals, it is the Florentine communal dining experience of Il Latini without the tourist hype. Terrific bistecca among other items and reasonably priced.

          1. One other thought, for a really memorable experience I'd recommend Cave di Maiano in the hills between Florence and Fiesole--reachable by taxi. If the weather is nice, their outside deck is incredible and the owner, Francesco, is really charming. Ask him for some of the prosciutto his father makes, and make sure you get the pappa al pomodoro.

            1. I believe this place in NE part of Florence, near the Jewish temple. It is called Pantollo del Oro. It is not to be believed! Found it on a concierge's recomendation and it was simply the best meal we had in Italy, bar none. We went back again 2 years later and had New Years eve there as well. Owner has studied mideval Florentine recipes and has published a beautiful book on same. Everyone we've sent there comes home raving about it.

              2 Replies
              1. re: TimothyK

                In case others want to know more about this place, it is actually called La Pentola Dell'Oro.

                1. re: r.vacapinta

                  Thank you!! Their menu lists 2 different menus...one for "the stdio" and one for "the canteen". Can anyone explain the difference? I assume the canteen is the bar area, and the studio is a more formal dining area?

              2. Taverna del Branzino is a wonderful restaurant for a special meal. Excellent food and great service. If you go, be sure to make a reservation.


                1. We thoroughly enjoyed BoccaNegra, at Via Ghibellina, 124/R. Fancy food, but relaxed atmosphere. The pizza at their wine room next door is also delicious, and cheap!

                  1. My wife and I just got back from Florence and hit many of the Chowhound board favorites, review here:


                    Best ratio of price to quality IMO is the trattoria side of Antico Noe, not far from Santa Croce.

                    1. Cafe Il David is a quaint indoor/outdoor cafe in the Piazza della Signora. Their ravioli Il David is decadent, despite the small portion size. Pricing is excellent. Also, Frescobaldi (it's near the Piazza, but you'd have to check on their exact address) is a higher end, but well worth the price, restaurant. Amazing food, wine and service. We arrived without a reservation and were greeted happily and seated quickly -- admittedly, it was quiet at that time, but there was none of the "you'll have to wait" attitude. Have a cold birro and salty snacks at the Rivoire Cafe and watch the people go by and rest your weary bones. Eat anywhere the locals eat. You won't likely be disappointed. Have fun!

                      1. I created a google map with all top quality guaranteed hot food spots! Take a look and add to it, please! Thanks

                        1. One Parisian's view:
                          Colette and I had the opportunity to visit and eat with two friends who are spending 5 months in Florence and they are far enough into their stay that they are familiar with places by now.
                          Aside from our meal in Arezzo which I’ve already posted on that thread, our rating of places in Florence looks like this:
                          Acquacotta was a place where our amiable hosts’ figures showed that they knew and liked Florentine cooking. For starters we shared calamaretti with raw asparagus and pecorino and raw artichoke; both quite special. Mains were a roast Paschal lamb with potatoes, spelt tagliatelle with clams (that may have been the most tasty Colette and I had ever had), tagliatelle with funghi porcini (which may have been the best of these I’ve ever had.) and pasta with wild boar. For desserts we shared great biscotti with vino santo and a tiramisu. All that plus 2 bottles and 2 glasses of wine came to 59.00 € a couple.
                          Across the Arno was the Osteria Antica Mescita, a place I'd passed on my limpies and written off but our hosts led us there and am I glad they did. The menu is astonishing; firsts for 4-5, pastas 5-8, mains 12+ € and so forth. I'd like to boast that the three of us who had the chickpea and barley rosemary-flavored soup with reconstructed dried porcini, maybe parboiled, afloat in a puddle of first-rate olive oil was the hit above Colette's pasta with pesto, but I'd be lying - they both were revel-ah-atory-ah-utionary. In brief, quite, quite different. OK; now Colette and our male host had the hot almost pizza-like smoked scamorza (like mozzarella) with speck and radicchio, Madame our hostessa, had the melted tomino cheese (shaped like a French crottin but with a totally different taste) with divina rugola and I had the fettucini with ragu - simply the best. After that what could we want? - 3 coffees, yes. With the usual bottled water and pathetic Tuscan, salt-less bread (which was finally, after a few decades, explained to me, why it was so taste-less) our bill was 60.50 for four = 30.25 € a couple - a WORLD RECORD for prix-qualité and just good chow.
                          Next I’d put Francescovini, situated above the former amphitheatre. We started with two antipasti; the eggplant and squid and bruchetta, both fine! Then onto a "grand" fried fish/shellfish dish, aka fritto pesce, capolavoro (mixed seafood on spaghetti), steak that was superbly blue inside and, and, and, what I'd been craving all this trip - spaghetti with clams, and my craving was finally satisfied. No desserts or coffees but with a liter and a half and glass of house wines our bill was 114 E = 57 € a couple.
                          Trattoria Roberto of Amalfi had an impressive showcase of shellfish and seafood. Respecting the coastal influence, we started off with stuffed squid with a tomato sauce and brochetti with sweet and salty tomatoes for the table. We then moved on spaghetti with mixed seafood (they had no clams today); squid with black rice and four giant grilled prawns. With a bottle of wine and bottled water and four coffees our bill was 84.00 € ergo 42.00 a couple. After lunch we stopped by at the local gelato place and I had an astonishing Mexican chocolate one with jalapeno pepper(s).
                          Another dinner we went to a “private club” the Club Culinario Toscano do Osvaldo, which designation apparently enables them to turn folks away who have not proper dress, not necessarily a fine line here. We only had three different dishes, two of which were magnificent – the pork with cheese and croutons and the green pasta with clams and a ginger sauce (not pictured) – but the other one ordered twice, always a mistake – the pici with lamb sauce and artichokes – was pretty much nothing. With two bottles and two glasses of pretentiously poured wine, bottled water, no coffee or dessert we exited 55.50 € poorer.

                          Boccadama in S. Croce Square. Our friend and I had sausages with white beans and Colette an eggplant with parmesan: all were very satisfied despite the fact the restaurant was in Tourist and particularly American tourist-central. Our bill with a bottle of wine, water and coffees was 64.50 €.

                          Pictures can be found at John Talbott's Paris http://johntalbottsparis.typepad.com/...