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Help us narrow down our Florence list!

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Osler Feb 26, 2011 06:01 PM

We will be traveling to Florence in May - 4 adults and a 16 month old who has yet to meet a food she doesn't like :). We've looked extensively through chowhound as well as the divina cucina site and we're still having difficulty finalizing our dining plans. We're looking for authentic Tuscan food that is reasonably priced (would prefer to stay at 20E per adult for dinner, can push it to 30E if there is a restaurant that is worth it). Most importantly we want to make we choose family friendly place. We will have 3 dinners in Florence - Monday through Wednesday.

Bisteca Places: Sostanza, Cammillo, Buca Lapi seem to have favorable reviews. We'd like one of our dinners to focus mainly on bisteca. We were also intrigued by Omero, is it worth the trip?

The other restaurants we have been looking at include Casalinga, Osteria Antica Mescita, All'Antico Ristoro di'Cambi, Il Contadino, and Trattoria Cibreo.

Any feedback/guidance/opinions will be appreciated!

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Cibreo
Via Andrea del Verrocchio, 8/r, 50122, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

Sostanza
Via della Porcellana, 25, 50123, Florence, Tuscany 50123, IT

Buca Lapi
Via del Trebbio, 1, Florence, Tuscany 50123, IT

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  1. Longing for Italy RE: Osler Feb 26, 2011 06:15 PM

    When you put "authentic" and "16 month old" together, I only have 2 suggestions: we seen so many extended family gatherings at Casalinga that it's a no-brainer! The other is Al Tranvai. A family with a 2 year old sat next to us; for dessert, the kitchen sent out a silver platter with treats for the delighted 2 year old. The whole house (16-20 of us) join in the impromptu celebration of families! You'll never regret visits to either of these places.

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    Al Tranvai
    Piazza Torquato Tasso, 14, Florence, Tuscany 50124, IT

    1 Reply
    1. re: Longing for Italy
      jen kalb RE: Longing for Italy Feb 26, 2011 08:42 PM

      Looks like you have made a good start in planning but I think your desired price range will not be fulfilled for many of the restaurants you list. You will have to be very careful what you eat. Slowfood places are good starting points for consideration at a lower price point (they dont list restaurants that go above 35E for a meal). as are winebars and pizzerie.
      here are some Slowfood restaurant and winebar names in Florence. - http://www.chow.com/search?query=slow...

    2. cherishg RE: Osler Feb 26, 2011 10:43 PM

      I love Sostanza, not necessarily the best bistecca ever (I had to go to Panzano for that, Dario Cecchini's ) but I'd say one of the best in Florence. I wrote about it in my blog http://hungryballerina.blogspot.com/2... if you want to see photos.

      I've also eaten in Cibreo and while the food was fantastic, it was quite pricey and I find that they're too full of themselves. It's hard to explain, the service was good, but they made me feel as if I owed it to them that I was eating there. Maybe the more informal one beside is is better, is that the Trattoria?

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      Cibreo
      Via Andrea del Verrocchio, 8/r, 50122, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

      Sostanza
      Via della Porcellana, 25, 50123, Florence, Tuscany 50123, IT

      1 Reply
      1. re: cherishg
        o
        Osler RE: cherishg Feb 27, 2011 05:43 AM

        Thanks everyone for the responses - Al Tranvai looks like a great option for us.

        To clarify the price point - we aren't big eaters and most likely will order 2-3 antipasti, 2-3 primi patti and 2 secondi patti for the table - that amount of food has worked well for us in the past in NYC. Hoping to keep the bill to at or below 100E for most of our dinners in Italy. Still, we'll probably have to break the budget one night for bisteca!

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        Al Tranvai
        Piazza Torquato Tasso, 14, Florence, Tuscany 50124, IT

      2. s
        Sfuso RE: Osler Feb 27, 2011 05:56 AM

        Try Cinghiale Bianco just over the Ponte Vecchio, always a good meal. Il Contadino on Via Palazzuolo is great place with a fixed price menu. Simple excellent and quite affordable.

        A side note, seggiolone is high chair /booster seat in Italian.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Sfuso
          c
          CJT RE: Sfuso Feb 27, 2011 04:12 PM

          Don't be afraid to go to Sostanza for the bistecca because they have on their menu other dishes you will find quite good: the chicken breasts in butter sauce are magnificent. You can order several items on the menu and get a great meal with many delicious flavors. VINI E VECCHI SAPORI Via dei Magazzini 3/R is a small family-run restaurant and you will eat well there. My guess is that they will love having your little one with you. Also check out Nerbone in the Mercato Centrale for their boiled beef sandwiches, but also for their lunch specials (not open at dinner) -- excellent food at very low prices.

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          Nerbone
          Via dell'Ariento, 87r, Florence, Tuscany 50123, IT

          Sostanza
          Via della Porcellana, 25, 50123, Florence, Tuscany 50123, IT

        2. Bugsey34 RE: Osler Mar 10, 2011 01:08 PM

          La Sostanza is supposed to be one of the best Bistecche in town, I have not yet been there myself but I've heard a lot of good things about it. (I live in Florence) Da Cammillo and Buca Lapi are historic restaurants but really pricey. The quality at Da Cammillo was appalling to me, really not good, when I went in 2008. I have never been to Buca Lapi but it was just reviewed by the blog Ioamofirenze, it's only in Italian, but she said the steak was good but something like 40 euros a person. Really a lot.

          I have also never been to Omero but heard very good things. I believe it is worth the trip, it is in a gorgeous area above the city.

          I don't even know some of the restaurants on your list, except Casalinga and Cibreo, and I am a chowhound living in Florence! Casalinga would be great with kids and is very affordable. Cibreo not so much.

          I would recommend -

          Coquinarius - Via delle Oche 15 right near the Duomo. Pretty much the only decent restaurant and wine list near the Duomo. The only one that's not a tourist trap! Great fresh homemade pastas. Good for kids if you reserve (don't have to wait) and she is well behaved! The dining room is very small.

          Il Cernacchino - great and budget friendly for a quick lunch. On Via Condotta, a block north of Piazza Signoria, great food and soups in breadbowls made by 2 sisters from the Chianti countryside who cook at their countryside restaurant in the evening and bring the food in the next morning.

          Definitely explore the Oltrarno area - there are a lot of family friendly and reasonably priced restaurants there, and it's a picturesque place to take an evening stroll anyway.

          -----
          Cibreo
          Via Andrea del Verrocchio, 8/r, 50122, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

          Sostanza
          Via della Porcellana, 25, 50123, Florence, Tuscany 50123, IT

          Coquinarius
          Via delle Oche, 15, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

          Buca Lapi
          Via del Trebbio, 1, Florence, Tuscany 50123, IT

          1. adrian RE: Osler Mar 10, 2011 02:02 PM

            I'd be interested in knowing if anything new, cool and/or groundbreaking is going on in Florence at any level. Restaurants, bars....... any ideas?

            1 Reply
            1. re: adrian
              0
              02putt RE: adrian Mar 14, 2011 10:42 PM

              My daughter (16) is currently in Italy on a school trip. They are leaving Rome tomorrow and going to Florence for 1 night and then to Venice for 3 nights. If anyone knows of a great places for young women to eat, reasonably priced and won't be offended or treated differently because they are not drinking alcohol it would greatly appreciate it. Somewhere with an outside view perhaps so they can take it all in while enjoying lunch? A fun staff as they're still perfecting their Italian? And maybe a place to just take a load off and relax while having a mid afternoon snack. She wants to explore and experience as much as she can. I would love to recommend Harry's Bar and and get her to try the Carpaccio and the Bellini at lunch one day. How much in general would it cost? They do have money to spend but $50 EU is a bit out of their budget for lunch. Is Harry's within walking distance of the Ca' del Moro? Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. (I might even get Harry's Bar Cookbook as a present for my upcoming birthday! )

            2. t
              todlippy RE: Osler Apr 14, 2011 04:15 AM

              Just got back from a week in Florence visiting family who live there. Had some very good meals along the way, but the one truly superlative experience was at Fuor d'acqua (http://www.fuordacqua.it/). I had eaten there 3 years ago and remembered it as being excellent, and this time around it was even better. Incredibly fresh seafood (raw and cooked). No menu, just whatever they get in that day. I recommend getting 3-4 starters (ours included sauteed sole with an insanely good vegetable purée, beautiful prawns, and melt-in-your-mouth calamari (the real deal, not squid) with a simple, perfectly dressed fennel salad. We also had a pasta with "bugs" -- small crayfishey creatures -- and a red snapper baked in salt.
              It ain't cheap but I don't think I've ever eaten seafood this fresh or inventively prepared (and I live in NYC and eat out virtually every night).

              1 Reply
              1. re: todlippy
                minchilli RE: todlippy Apr 15, 2011 12:30 AM

                "Ain'd cheap" is right. Expect to pay minimum !00 euros a head, but with wine closer to 200.

              2. minchilli RE: Osler Apr 14, 2011 08:04 AM

                Definitely keep Casalinga on your list. Great, simple food, at very reasonable prices.
                I know someone already mentioned Nerbone, which is located inside the central San Lorenzo Market (and so only open for lunch). Just as good and in a slightly easier location in the market is Pork's (don't laugh) another in-market restaurant, located in a corner.
                Osteria Antica Mescita is excellent and very fairly priced.
                Il Cernacchino and Semel are both sandwich places, so great food and very affordable prices. (Semel only opened for lunch).
                I just discovered Cipolla Rossa, which was very good, mid price range. Best dish was their version of a pork 'Fiorentina', covered in marinated red onions.
                Due G, is an very old fashioned restaurant between San Lorenzo and the train station. The day I was there there were only Florentines, and they were all eating bistecca. I would suggest going there instead of the more touristy Sostanza, Buca Lapi, etc. They also have fantastic Pappa al Pomodoro, Ribolito. Save room for home made deserts.
                I just did a round up of Florentine Gelaterie on my blog, so won't repeat here.
                Have a great trip!
                Elizabeth
                ________
                http://www.elizabethminchilli.com

                -----
                Nerbone
                Via dell'Ariento, 87r, Florence, Tuscany 50123, IT

                Sostanza
                Via della Porcellana, 25, 50123, Florence, Tuscany 50123, IT

                Buca Lapi
                Via del Trebbio, 1, Florence, Tuscany 50123, IT

                1 Reply
                1. re: minchilli
                  o
                  Osler RE: minchilli Apr 14, 2011 05:23 PM

                  Thanks for the suggestions - Due G sounds great! Will be sure to report back.

                2. g
                  gramercyfoodie RE: Osler May 10, 2011 12:46 PM

                  Osler - Would love for you to report back when you return. We are going to Florence at the end of May w/our toddler and would so appreciate your feedback. Hope you had a wonderful time!

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