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Sep 25, 2011 09:14 AM

Florence: Seeking Casual Dining

I'm doing some late planning for our trip to Italy in October. I've been reading the boards and taking some notes, but I thought I'd try to get a few succinct answers with my own post.

We will be in Florence for six days. We have an apartment with a rudimentary kitchen across the street from the Accademia Gallery on Via Ricasoli. We hope to do some in-home cooking, but mostly eating out.

For most dinners, we'd prefer small, casual, authentic trattorias to modern multi star spots. Do I need recommendations for this type of eating, or might it be easier to walk around and take our chances? Also, I heard there is a good market near this location, but I've lost my notes about it.

In case you can't tell, I'm a slightly anxious (but totally thrilled) first-timer to Italy. Very excited about all the sites to see, and a bit overwhelmed. Any ideas and opinions are welcome!

(I've split this off from a joint inquiry for Rome and Florence, so if you already responded to that thread, I've saved your advice.)

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  1. The worst preparation is to be "slightly anxious...and a bit overwhelmed." Just relax and enjoy! Mercato Centrale is the market--close to San Lorenzo. A great enoteca is Le Volpi e L'uva--over Ponte Vecchio on the Oltrarno side.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Longing for Italy

      Do not worry, LfI, most of my anxiety is coming from the huge workload I must complete before leaving. The complete absence of free time has made me feel a bit overwhelmed as I try to read the volumes of information here on CH. I'd like to arrive armed with information, but time is growing short. Once I walk out my front door, I'm a relaxed and fluid traveler!
      Thanks for identifying the market, and for the enoteca recommendation. It looks like it will be a great place to stop in and revitalize.

    2. One of my favorite restaurants in FLorence is La Buca d"Orfeo. A buca is a basement, and this restaurant is down a few steps just off the Ponte Vecchio. I think I've eaten there a dozen times and have had some truly memorable meals there. The last time I went, there was a pasta with a boar sauce that was indescribably delicious. It was one of our highlights of the trip. They do a terrific bistecca, and you might just be in the right season for their incomparable poached pears. Believe me when I say that these are luscious. Although it is in a fairly touristy area, I always find the clientele to be a reasonable mixture of tourists and locals. The Mercato Centrale is wonderful, and we love the spot inside the market for a bite. Not crazy about the restaurants around the market, though. Don't miss Gelateria I Neri, which is on Via (I think) I Neri, just down from the Palazzo Vecchio. We were on the fence between it and Grom as our favorite gelato. We found lots of kitchen and housewares around the back of the Duomo. I even had a chef's jacket made for my husband there. It had multicolored ombre binding and multicolored buttons to match. You have enough time to do some serious wandering, and you will discover your own fantastic places to tell us about!

      via del Campanile, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

      4 Replies
      1. re: roxlet

        You mean Buca dell'Orafo, right, Roxlet?

        we enjoyed the very simple Mario lunch restaurant near San Lorenzo and del Fagiole best on our last Florence visit - both offer very simple cuisine, soups meats etc.

        Del Fagioli
        Corso dei Tintori, 47R, Florence, Tuscany 50122, IT

        Trattoria Mario
        Via Rosina, 2, Florence, Tuscany , 50123, IT

        Buca dell'Orafo
        Via de' Girolami,28r, Florence, Toscana 50122, IT

        1. re: jen kalb

          Yes, that's right jen. Sorry about that!

          1. re: jen kalb

            Thanks for your recommendations jen. They've gone into my list. I was hoping you'd chime in with some ideas!

          2. re: roxlet

            Thanks for posting your ideas roxlet, I've noted them all. That pasta sounds wonderful. I definitely plan on finding some dishes with boar, and anything else that we don't get here.

          3. Here is the wonderful mural at the little cafe/bar inside the mercato centrale

            3 Replies
            1. re: roxlet

              Second the review on the Buca del Orafo, it has a tremendous buzz and the food is excellent. I also thought that the Trattoria dell Carmine is very good, also quite reasonable, try I Raddi as well. Antica restori di Cambi, Vini e Vecchi Sapori are also very good. A former colleague of mine always raves about e che che (spelling needs to be checked) which is near Santa Croce. Am very jealous of your trip and have a super time.

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

              1. re: LotsC

                Thank you LotsC, for all your ideas, and your well wishes. I've copied your post onto my list.

                1. re: L.Nightshade

                  Most importantly of all I hope that you have a super time in Florence. I should write up my trip from last year and I was quite organised and wrote up all the costs as off for New Year to Florence and can't wait....

            2. Trattoria Mario is great, just the kind of small family run trattoria with simple delicious food and low prices. Located right near the mercato centrale near where you will be staying. BUT it is only open Mon-Friday and ONLY for lunch. Get there before they open at noon (otherwise plan to wait in line)

              Vini e Vecchi Sapori is my favorite restaurant in Florence. great pasta and yummy braised meat dishes. No Bistecca! Do book ahead then can only seat about 18 people.

              I also enjoyed del Pennello, Classic Tuscan menu done very well. located next to casa Dante.

              Trattoria Mario
              Via Rosina, 2, Florence, Tuscany , 50123, IT

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

              1. I like Trattoria Sostanza for their bistecca fiorentina. Casual and local, not stuffy at all. Bon appetito.

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