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So many great food choices in Florence! Please comment on my list.

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My husband and I will be in Florence for four days during the last week in September. This is my husband's first trip to Italy and it is my present for his 60th birthday. I want to make it special for him. I have spent many days searching Chowhound, which seems to be the most specific, reliable and current source of information. This is the first time I have asked for anyone’s feedback and I would like, in advance, to express my appreciation for anyone who takes the time to review and provide input to my plans. I imagine it is frustrating for the regular posters to answer the same questions again and again. However, that is partly due to the search restrictions and lack of organization within the Chowhound website. Nevertheless, it seems to be the best resource available. Thank you to all regular posters and to those tourists who take time to report their experiences. Your input has been invaluable.

Our overall objective is to eat excellent well prepared, local food at a reasonable price. We are not on a tight budget…but are not interested in eating in upscale restaurants with impeccable service and extensive wine lists. At home, in Toronto, we most enjoy local ethnic restaurants. Toronto is a multicultural city and so there are many. We will be running around all day exploring Firenze as that is our other priority. We do not want to spend hours getting dressed for dinner nor are we packing those kinds of clothes. We love food and like wine. We are eager to try local specialties including bisteca fiorentina and pasta and bolliti. Any suggestions for alternatives or specific suggestions of what to order would be appreciated.

Thursday:
Dinner: Trattoria I Due G or Sostanza?

Friday:
Dinner: Suggestion please…We are under a time crunch as we are attending a 9:00 performance in Oltrarno. (Our hotel is near Ponte Vecchio.) I see there is a Gusta Pizza on Via Maggio that has good reviews from another source. Is it decent? Any alternatives? It does not have to be a pizzeria.

Saturday
Lunch: I Fratellini (Is this aka I due Fratellina on Via dei Cimatori?)
Dinner: (with friends- no input needed)

Sunday
Lunch: Zeb
Dinner: Il Latini or Vini e Vecchi Sapori

Monday
Lunch: Narbone
Dinner: Cipolla Rossa (Are they open on Mondays?)

Whenever possible:
Panna Cotta at Enzo e Pierro
Gelato: Carapina, Perche No, Neri, Vestri

Should I switch something out for something else? The Gnocchi in Black Truffle sauce at Antico Fattore sounds yummy but I was turned off to reports of hit and miss experiences and poor attitude towards tourists.
Thank you!

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

Il Latini
Via dei Palchetti, 6, Florence, Tuscany 50123, IT

Vini e Vecchi Sapori
Via dei Magazzini, 3, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

Perche No
Via dei Tavolini, 19r, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

Vestri
Borgo degli Albizi, 11, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

I Fratellini
Via dei Cimatori, 38r,, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

Carapina
Via Lambertesca, 18, 50122, Florence, Toscana 50122, IT

Cipolla Rossa
Via de' Conti,53, Florence, Toscana 50123, IT

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  1. RE Friday evening--I'd recommend Le Volpi e L'Uva, Piazza de’ Rossi 1, which is almost around the corner from your hotel. Excellent small plates with great wine. After crossing the Ponte Vecchio (from the town side), follow via Guicciardini towards Palazzo Pitti. About 50 meters on your left is Piazza Santa Felicita, where there is a large column. Walk beneath the arch in the back left corner of the piazza, and you’ll find the smaller Piazza de’ Rossi.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Longing for Italy

      adding link with map

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      Le Volpi E L'uva
      Piazza dei Rossi, 1, Florence, Tuscany 50125, IT

      1. re: Longing for Italy

        Thank you for the recommendation on Le Volpi e L'Uva. After you wrote about it, I remembered reading that it has won numerous awards and that it is a great place. I had no idea it is close to where I am staying. I appreciate the tip and look forward to trying it.

      2. Definitely go to Sostanza.
        For gelato, you should try Vivoli near Santa Croce.
        Eat well.

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

        Vivoli
        Via dell'Isola delle Stinche, 7, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

        2 Replies
        1. re: jgoodwinb

          Thank your for your input, jgoodwinb. Sostanza was my first choice. Then I notice that some regular posters keep putting it down as pricey and touristy so I got concerned. I personally do not mind if it is a bit pricey or touristy as long as the food is great. Have you also tried Due G?

          I will add Vivoli to my gelato list. Any particular to die for flavours?

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

          Vivoli
          Via dell'Isola delle Stinche, 7, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

          1. re: Shoshanna88

            One of my favorites at Vivoli is riso--but I should probably qualify that I am more of a vanilla than a chocolate person.

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            Vivoli
            Via dell'Isola delle Stinche, 7, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

        2. I didn't think Neri was great for gelato. Of course you can't go wrong and I think you should still go. But of all the places I tried, it was the most ice-cream like - more cream, less vibrant flavors.

          I think Vivoli is good for gelato.

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          Vivoli
          Via dell'Isola delle Stinche, 7, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

          1. Thursday dinner: Definitely Trattoria Due G, one of my favorites and much less touristy than Sostanza.
            Sunday Dinner: Vini e Vecchi Sapori
            Monday: Cipolla Rossa (yes, they are open)
            Gelato: Il Re di Gelato is excellent, as is Carabe.

            Where exactly is the theater in the Oltrarno?

            www.elizabethminchilli.com

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

            Vini e Vecchi Sapori
            Via dei Magazzini, 3, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

            Carabe
            Via Ricasoli, 60, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

            Cipolla Rossa
            Via de' Conti,53, Florence, Toscana 50123, IT

            4 Replies
            1. re: minchilli

              The granitas at Carabe are excellent. The gelato, IMO, is mediocre.

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              Carabe
              Via Ricasoli, 60, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

              1. re: allende

                I would agree that the granitas at Carabe are great. As for the gelato, the nut flavors are very, very good. I haven't tasted the chocolate or fruit flavors, so can't comment on those.

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                Carabe
                Via Ricasoli, 60, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

              2. re: minchilli

                Please note: Vini e Vecchi Sapori is only open for lunch on Sundays. Closed Sunday dinner and Mondays.

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                Vini e Vecchi Sapori
                Via dei Magazzini, 3, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

                1. re: minchilli

                  If your husband likes his steak medium well, you shouldn't go to Due G either. They're not going to do a bistecca medium well any more than Sostanza does. Sostanza's other signature dish is the butter chicken; I don't think Due G has another signature dish.

                2. Thank you to everyone for your input. Here is my revised list with a few questions. If you have time, I would appreciate a second review. We are staying at Gallery Hotel Art and most of these restaurants seem to be close by.
                  Thursday: Cipolla Rossa
                  Friday: We are going to the Opera at St. Marks. If it is touristy, that is okay. It starts at 9:00. Will we have enough time to eat at Olio & Convivium which is very close to St. Marks if we get there at 7:30 which I am hoping is when Olio opens?
                  Saturday Lunch: Casalinga
                  Sunday Lunch: Vini e Vecchi
                  Sunday Dinner: Tre Soldi
                  Monday Dinner: Trattoria I Due G (Is this restaurant worth going to considering we will not be ordering the rare steak which is their signature dish?)

                  If going to Olio before St. Marks is too rushed, then, this is the alternate choice:
                  Thursday: Olio & Convivium
                  Friday: Le Volpi E L'uva
                  Saturday Lunch: Casalinga
                  Sunday Lunch: Vini e Vecchi
                  Sunday Dinner: Tre Soldi
                  Monday dinner: Cipolla Rossa.

                  Any other recommendations? For which of these meals do we need to make reservations?

                  If I have any room at all, between these meals, I will filling it with gelato.

                  Thank you once again. I will prepare a detailed report as my feedback.

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                  Tre Soldi
                  Via Gabriele D'Annunzio, 4, Florence, Tuscany 50135, IT

                  Le Volpi E L'uva
                  Piazza dei Rossi, 1, Florence, Tuscany 50125, IT

                  Cipolla Rossa
                  Via de' Conti,53, Florence, Toscana 50123, IT

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Shoshanna88

                    Have you thought about Al Raddi in the Via Ardiglione for dinner before the opera? Or if you want another traditional place what about A Cambi near (ish) the Piazza della Carmine, i have always rated Osteria de Benci and absolutely Vini e Vecchi Sapori. The Buca del Orafo is also excellent, Osteria Cafe Italiano is v good too. Vivoli is the tradtional gelateria, Carapina seemed a lot more expensive, I thought Grom was overrated and didn't try Vestri...have a super time and hope it all helps

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                    Vini e Vecchi Sapori
                    Via dei Magazzini, 3, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

                    Vivoli
                    Via dell'Isola delle Stinche, 7, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

                    Carapina
                    Piazza Guglielmo Oberdan,2r, Florence, Toscana 50136, IT

                    1. re: LotsC

                      I was at Osteria Cafe Italiano recently and although I love the setting, the food was very mediocre. I keep wanting it to be better than it is.

                    2. re: Shoshanna88

                      My husband and I just came back from Venice/Florence on Sept 5. We spent 2.5 days in Florence, and one of our dinners was at I Due G. We think it is a good restaurant that serves traditional Tuscan dishes. So even if you do not want to order the bistecca, I think it's still worth going to. We tried the bistecca, and honestly, it's not as good as the regular steaks we had. I have just written up my trip report today, if you are interested, please check it out.

                      We also went to Le Volpi E L'uva before dinner on another day, and we both liked it a lot.

                      If you go to Vivoli for gelato, I would suggest NOT ordering the mora (blackberry) flavor. It has too many seeds in it, and they ruined the mouthfeel for us. To me, I don't think Carapina is more expensive than Vivoli. I got the 2,50 Euro size from both places, and got approximately the same amount. Carapina has fewer flavors to offer. But the lady told me they only make fruit flavors with fresh seasonal fruits, so fruits were the ones I picked (plum and watermelon). They were excellent!! I only tried tiramisu flavor from Perche No, and it tasted more like the real tiramisu dessert than a gelato (texture-wise). I should have tried another flavor from Perche No to give it a fair assessment. We also went to Festival del gelato, and man, it has so many flavors to offer! My husband ordered the cioccolato fondante flavor, and he said it was one of the best chocolate ice-cream/gelato he has ever had, but the texture was a little "gummy/gluey". I had fruit flavors (lemon and raspberry) and they were good.

                      Another dish you want may to consider trying is lampredotto. It's a typical Florentine peasant dish.

                      For a few restaurants, I actually emailed them to make reservations, and that worked.

                      I am attaching the menu from I Due G I took last week, and a few pictures, just FYI. :)

                      Have a very good time in Firenze!!

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                      Le Volpi E L'uva
                      Piazza dei Rossi, 1, Florence, Tuscany 50125, IT

                      Perche No
                      Via dei Tavolini, 19r, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

                      Vivoli
                      Via dell'Isola delle Stinche, 7, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

                      Carapina
                      Piazza Guglielmo Oberdan,2r, Florence, Toscana 50136, IT

                       
                       
                       
                       
                       
                       
                       
                      1. re: rosespot

                        Thank you Rosespot for the helpful suggestions. I am going to check out your trip report. Wow .those gelato portions look yummy and generous.

                      2. re: Shoshanna88

                        As far as dinner pre-opera, I'm sure Olio e Convivium will be open, but maybe you don't want to go there and then feel rushed? I think the more relaxed Le Volpi e l'uva would be perfect.

                        Due G is a great restaurant, and although they do great bistecca, it's not their 'signature' dish. They do great everything. Very traditional Tuscan dishes, all good.

                        If you can, make reservations everywhere you go. Better safe than sorry.

                        Vivoli is fine, and still very good. But it's not by any means the best in town anymore (as it once was). Carapina is the excellent and you should definitely stop there at least once. Also Vestri and Arte del Cioccolato, both chocolate shops but both featuring superb chocolate ice cream. Another favorite is Il Re del Gelato, run by Sicilian Antonio Caffarelli and just down the street from Due G.

                        www.elizabethminchilli.com

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                        Vivoli
                        Via dell'Isola delle Stinche, 7, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

                        Vestri
                        Borgo degli Albizi, 11, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

                        Carapina
                        Piazza Guglielmo Oberdan,2r, Florence, Toscana 50136, IT

                        1. re: minchilli

                          We loved Due G as well. My husband still talks about his steak. But everything else was wonderful as well. I had a fabulous pasta with truffles, and their white beans and spinach as sides were great.

                      3. You won't be disappointed by Cipolla Rossa. We ate there twice last year and it was very good. My favorite place in Florence is Osteria di Giovanni on Via del Moro. We ate there three times in the month we were in Florence and loved it! Also liked Il Santo Bevitore on Via Santo Spirito (recommended by Faith Willinger last year in The Atlantic). Trattoria 4 Leoni on Via del Vellutini was also good. We found the food at Enoteca Le Barrique interesting and the atmosphere cosy and relaxed. You received an earlier suggestion for Trattoria I Raddi on Via dell Ardiglione. It opens at 7:30, so it might be good for your early dinner. Another suggestion in that same neighborhood is Sant Agostino 23, which is just down the street from Piazza Santo Spirito. It opens at 7:30 also. A great lunch choice (dinner, too) is Pepo on Via Rosina. It is next door to Mario's and is very good. Have a great trip!

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                        Il Santo Bevitore
                        Via Santa Spirito 64r, Florence, Tuscany 50125, IT

                        Cipolla Rossa
                        Via de' Conti,53, Florence, Toscana 50123, IT