Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Italy >
Nov 23, 2012 05:18 AM

Need Florence advice.

In early January I'll be on a two week Italy tour with my students and with six other faculty members. I always take the group out once for dinner, on me, and this trip that will be in Florence. Sostanza would be perfect, I think, except that I don't really want to carry that much cash for a meal (how much cash would it be these days, anyway?) So either talk me into Sostanza, or suggest an alternative. Moderate price point definitely a plus.

Thanks in advance.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It sounds like a pretty big group, although you don't say how many students you are.

    One place that I like to go to with big groups is All'Antico Ristoro dei Cambi. It's moderately priced, great simple, rustic food, and I find their back room very good for bigger groups. It's in the San Frediando neighborhood.

    A simiilar sort of place is Antica Mescita San Nicolo. Very casual, and they have a great room sort of downstairs, that is built into the foundations of a 10th century church. Vaulted ceilings and long wooden tables makes it fun for groups. I love the mixed antipasti (including great crostini) which is an easy thing to start with for a group. This is located in San Nicolo, again on the 'other' side of the Arno, but way on the other end of town from Cambi.

    Both restaurants are about a 10-15 minute walk from the Ponte Vecchio, but nice walks.

    Hope this helps!

    1. what age is your group, how many and what is your budget?

      14 Replies
      1. re: jen kalb

        Sorry I wasn't clearer. We are 8 faculty and 24 undergraduates, but it's only dinner for 8, budget around $50 or so. The students can fend for themselves that night, and the faculty can celebrate the temporary absence of students. So it's just dinner for 8, all geezers or semi-geezers. Does that change your recommendation, Elizabeth, and does it offer some ideas, Jen? Thanks.

        1. re: PSZaas

          ahh just faculty? where are you staying- i have lived in florence since 84. glad to help

          1. re: Diva

            We're staying at the Ricasoli, nr. Piazza della Liberta. Ma si, unica facolta.

            1. re: PSZaas

              Only eight people. Vecchia Bettola

          2. re: PSZaas

            My suggestions still hold true. Although if you are only 8, then your original choice, Sostanza, would still be terrific.

            1. re: minchilli

              Thanks! And the amount of cash I would need to carry for Sostanza?

              1. re: PSZaas

                Figure on about 40 Euros (tops) per person.

                  1. re: PSZaas

                    Depending on what you have to eat and drink, it will be more than 40 euros per person.

                    1. re: allende

                      Yes, what if you get the fiorentina? I'd say take more cash just to be sure.

                      1. re: Bugsey34

                        I have every intention off getting the fiorentina, some butter chicken, fair amount of wine. On the other hand, I can't get them to answer their phone. Anyone know when is the best time to call?

                        1. re: PSZaas

                          Make sure you call when they are open, Florence time.So either lunch time or dinner.

                          1. re: minchilli

                            Pretty sure I've had that covered, but I'll keep trying.

                            1. re: minchilli

                              I'll keep trying, but I'm getting pessimistic that they'll ever answer. I'd hate to count on availability for 8 (9 maybe) without booking, and we're dining the night we arrive in Florence. What's your take on i Due G?

          3. The original comment has been removed
            1. First of all, Sostanza is my favourite in my own town Florence... the people telling you have truth! anyway you can also try another 2 trattoria in the centre, both in San Lorenzo sq:Trattoria Mario (for lunch)very typical ones, you can't reserve, just go there about 12.30 and ask for the table, maybe you will wait a little but the service it's very fast! Give your name to Fabio (one of the owner) and look at the menu in meantime...i'll raccomend "the braciola rifatta and the stracotto" with white beans. No credit cards, no coffee, no pizza but a very florentine lunch!!

              and Osteria Pepò (for dinner):absolutely try coccoli with ham and stracchino, pappa al pomodoro, polpette di filetto al pomodoro, bollito misto with home made salse and fritto misto!!

              enjoy! both cheaper than Sostanza...


              1. Thanks to all; we ended up at Sostanza. Early seating, but we were the only Americans. Nine diners, various primi, but mostly tortellini in brodo or in sugo, six bistecca portions, which the house offered in different temperatures, two butter chickens, one other plate, meringue with fragola-del-bosca, or whatever you call 'em in Italian, four decent bottles of Montalcino, some coffees, 55€/pp. Great choice, great meal. Thanks for your help.

                1 Reply
                1. re: PSZaas

                  Thanks for checking back in. So glad to hear that Sostanza worked out for you!