Florence Journals

Pasta and Pesce in Florence

Best of IgoUgo

A travel journal to Florence by Stella

Quote: It goes without saying that the food in Florence is a work of art rivalling that of Botticelli and Rafael. Here is a selection of some of the best places to sample Tuscan cuisine.

Pasta and Pesce in Florence

Overview

Quote:
As in any city, the best thing for a visitor to do is to get away from all the major tourist attractions (after you've thoroughly enjoyed them, of course) to explore the Florence the locals live in.Quick Tips: - Before you go, read IgoUgo travel journals on Florence or ask a question in the Message Center to all guides who have written about this fantastic city for more specific advice. - Visit the tourism office in the Florence train station or airport for free maps and hotel brochures. - Familiarize yourself with shopping and museum schedules in order to plan a full day of exploration. - Eat gelato.Best Way To Get Around: Walking is the best way to get around. I...Read More

Restaurant La Spada

Restaurant

Quote:
Restaurant La Spada is always filled with locals - a good sign if you're looking for authentic Tuscan fare. You will find simple dishes and a relatively extensive display of already-cooked food for take out. Vegetable and cheese lasagna, cold pasta salads, spinach pies, grilled chicken, sausage, pork, and turkey plus a host of vegetables include roasted red peppers, olives, peas, string beans, fennel and carrots. A slice of lasagna here is cheaper than a slice of pizza. A great find for students looking for a quick and inexpensive meal.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 27, 2001

Restaurant La Spada
Via Della Spada 15
Florence, Italy

Giostra

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Restaurant | "La Giostra "

Quote:
Located in a small alleyway but owned by a Prince, La Giostra is an intimate restaurant where white christmas lights and the sound of wine glasses toasting set the mood for the sensuous food to follow. An assortment of appetizers is brought to the table free of charge- pungent tomatoes dripping with olive oil, zucchini gutted and stuffed with vegetable and meat paste, white figs and other samples of the main courses served. For the primo piatto, try the pasta with zucchini flowers or the gnocchi with ricotta and spinach. This dish is one of the most succulent I've had in Florence. Sliced steak topped with fresh rucola and grated parmesan cheese is an excellant choice for your second and to finish i...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 22, 2001

Giostra
Borgo Pinti, 12r
Florence, Italy
+39 (055) 241-341

Trattoria Bordino

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Restaurant

Quote:
The quieter Oltrarno section of Florence hosts a number of trattorias on its side streets, filled with hanging flowers and plants, that offer Florence’s more local tastes. At Trattoria Bordino, start with the thinly sliced salmon draped on a bed of lettuce with buttered crostoni. A great primo is the risotto ai funghi porcini (rice seeped in a tomato sauce with porcini mushrooms) or the taglierini ai asparagi (pasta with asparagus). Bright yellow umbrellas and a lively wait staff keep this trattoria inviting and fun. The rustic Tuscan bread is not to be missed.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 22, 2001

Trattoria Bordino
Via Stracciatella, 9R
Florence, Italy
055.213048

Le Cappelle

Restaurant

Quote:
A menu written completely in English is usually not a good sign to someone looking for authentic Italian fare. But an order of the "potato dumplings with pesto" at Le Cappelle, turns out to be just as delicious as mamma’s. Small gnocchi surrounded by a sweet and thick pesto sauce are surprisingly light and the prosciutto is soft and tasty. Sit outside across from the Medici Chapels, after which this cozy restaurant is named, and street musicians might stop by your table playing the accordion or guitar. Tip the musicians but skip the tiramisu.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 20, 2001

Le Cappelle
Piazza Madonna Aldobrandini 11/r
Florence, Italy
055-217-700

Giubbe Rosse

Restaurant

Quote:
"Don't come to the Giubbe Rosse unless you want to pay four dollars for a cup of chamomile tea. Although you are sitting in the Piazza della Repubblica, you can just as well sit on one of the benches and take in the view for free. Or cross the piazza to sit at one of the higher-end cafes, which sometimes have live music, and a better selection of Tuscan pastries and sweets." That is what I wrote a few days after September 11th, when I was crying over a much-coveted copy of the International Herald Tribune and trying to calm myself by sipping chamomile in the sun. I was in a bad mood. I didn't yet realize why the tourist prices were so well-deserved. Giubbe Rosse is one of the few pla...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 17, 2001

Giubbe Rosse
Piazza della Repubblica
Florence, Italy

Osteria Il Buongustai

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Restaurant | "Don’t Miss Osteria Il Buongustai"

Quote:
This small wine bar, osteria and tripperia hidden behind Piazza Signoria serves all the Tuscan classics at unbeatable prices. I’m talking a heaping bowl of barley soup (zuppa al farro) served in a blue and white ceramic bowl with fresh grated Parmesan, bread, olive oil and the invitation to linger as long as you’d like for just $3.50. More innovative dishes at Osteria Il Buongustai include the crepes filled with Gorgonzola, honey and dried fruit or the crepes with nutella, that favorite chocolate hazlenut spread, as a light snack. The dinner menu features homemade gnocchi with fresh tomatoes and mozarella, taglierini in a truffle crème sauce, penne with tuna fish and tomatoes, the excellent ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 5, 2001

Osteria Il Buongustai
Via dei Cerchi, 15r
Florence, Italy
055 291 304

Cafetteria Piansa

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Restaurant | "Cafetteria Piansa for Lunch"

Quote:
This self-serve restaurant and bar is a hit among the Florentines during lunch hour. The menu, displayed outside on a chalkboard, changes each day and never tops more than 12,000 lire. The owner is also the chef and the atmosphere definitely suggests that this is a family-run establishment. A whispered suggestion for the specialty of the day is often shared with newcomers and travelers in the know. Walk to the back of the restaurant to select from four different pasta or rice dishes, salads, omelettes and meat platters. A generous helping of white bean soup, pasta alla norma (a Sicilian pasta dish with eggplant, salted ricotta and tomatoes), truffle ravioli, artichoke risotto or penne in a...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 5, 2001

Cafetteria Piansa
Borgo Pinti
Florence, Italy

Tre Merli

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Restaurant

Quote:
Once a late night pizzeria located a stones throw from the Arno, Tre Merli has recently been restored with antique chandeliers, red walls and sofas, outside seating and a new Mediterranean cuisine. The manager ensures us that only the freshest ingredients are used, and that only local herbs and olive oil are needed to dress up the fish, meat and pasta dishes. He's right. The house specialty, spaghetti topped with tomatoes, olive oil and melted Parmesan cheese, then garnished with crushed red pepper, is simple yet robust in its taste. Don't miss the uncommonly tender braseola served with roasted artichokes, eggplant and potatoes. Finally, the mint panna cotta drizzled with hot chocol...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 5, 2001

Tre Merli
Via del Moro 11/R
Florence, Italy
055 28 70 62

Beccofino

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Restaurant | "Beccofino: Too Cool for You?"

Quote:
Don’t let the black leather placemats or extravagant presentation of the food intimidate you, though reservations are a must for the best of Florence’s "new Italian" cuisine. Beccofino Restaurant and Wine Bar offers a welcomed break from the usual pappa al pomodoro and vino della casa while the wall sculptures and clean interior design are a sigh of relief after countless red checked tablecloths and brick vaulted ceilings. Beccofino is fresh seafood, elegant wines and a sophisticated atmosphere. Finely sliced shrimp swirled over a tomato and pesto sauce, a tower of octopus and cuttlefish rising above seasoned olive oil or ravioli stuffed with codfish are some of the tempting ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 23, 2001

Beccofino
Piazza degli Scarlatti 1R
Florence, Italy
055 290 076

Caffé Italiano

Restaurant | "Caffe Italiano"

Quote:
Right off of Piazza della Signoria, this café and restaurant serves quality Italian fare in an upscale yet inviting atmosphere. Upstairs, bookshelves and games, luxuriant couches, dim lights and friendly service make you feel as if you’re dining at a friend’s place- and the friend happens to be a world-class chef who can also make killer zuppa inglese and cappuccino with milk steamed to perfection. The lunch menu changes daily but don’t be surprised to find consistently delicious and healthy specials. Tomato salads, porcini mushroom omelet’s and lasagna dressed in béchamel sauce are just some of the dishes served while I was there. Downstairs, you’ll find an assortment of pastri...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 11, 2002

Caffé Italiano
Via della Condotta, 56r
Florence, Italy 50122
+39 055289020

Baldovino

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Restaurant

Quote:
Baldovino is the best Trattoria and wine bar in the Santa Croce area for seafood, pasta and Neapolitan pizza lovers. Three pastel-colored rooms with contemporary paintings and sculpture plus an open kitchen and brick oven make for a relaxed and inviting atmosphere, with a touch of new Italian design rather than the more traditional red-checked tablecloths and dried red pepper hanging from a beamed ceiling. Baldovino offers classic Tuscan dishes like crespelle (stuffed crepe-like pasta folded and baked with béchamel sauce) and crostini al fegato (toasted slices of Tuscan bread topped with chicken liver pate`). Also to try is the sliced bistecca fiorentina topped with...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 11, 2002

Baldovino
Via San Giuseppe, 22r
Florence, Italy 50121
+39 055241773

Coquinarius

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Restaurant

Quote:
Step into Coquinarius and you might think you’re in Paris or New York, until you taste the handmade spinach ravioli or rucola tossed with fennel and blood orange. As an appetizer, try the crostini, small slices of Tuscan bread, or crostone, large slices for one, served with whipped marscapone cheese and fresh salmon. The thickzuppa di farro, or barley soup, is served in a heaping bowl with fresh-cut vegetables and a drizzle of olive oil. Salads are a forte here; creative choices include toppings such as sun dried tomatoes, eggplant, sunflower seeds, zucchini flowers or pear. Since this restaurant is also a well-stocked wine bar, you can choose either a bottle or glass from o...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 11, 2002

Coquinarius
Villa delle Oche 15r
Florence, Italy
055 230 21 53

ChiaroScuro

Restaurant

Quote:
This is the place to come to for specialty hot chocolate and coffee drinks. A wide selection includes flavored syrups, homemade chocolate and coffee beans from all over the world. Free magazines and newspapers are available to read, while coffee and espresso machines for sale line the walls. This is not a wood-paneled, intellectuals only coffee shop but rather a cool stop on a shopping spree or for a before dinner drink.

Pasta and rice salads, plus sides like vegetables and focaccias, are also available for lunch.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 11, 2002

ChiaroScuro
Via del Corso 36r
Florence, Italy
055-21-42-47

The Fusion Bar at Lugarno Suites Hotel

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Restaurant | "The Fusion Bar"

Quote:
Hotel Gallery Art is one of Florence’s premier hotels located along the Arno river. Their artistic design and commitment to service is extended to The Fusion Bar restaurant and sushi bar, where many of Florence’s elite come to sample "exotic" foods like chirashi and meat tempura. The sushi offered here is first-class: soft, tasty and thick. Presentation is just as important in the preparation of the food as are the ingredients used. Soup is presented in a glass cylinder bowl with fresh Gerbera daisies inside, oils and sauces are kept in test tubes on each table and all the shrimp and rice are arranged in creative and unique styles. The main thing to know about dining here is that al...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 11, 2002

The Fusion Bar at Lugarno Suites Hotel
Vicolo Dell'oro 26r
Florence, Italy
055-27-26-69-87

Mercato Centrale

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Attraction

Quote:
The Mercato Centrale is Florence’s best food market, located in the middle of the San Lorenzo street market. The 18th century building, with its relatively modern green and red exterior, stands out against the surrounding pale yellow and tan houses. On the first floor, you’ll find meat, fish and cheeses while the upper level sells fruit, vegetables, olives and flowers- all grown by local farmers. Italians aren’t afraid of meat and no part of the animal is wasted. Besides the usual sausage, steak, chop and filet you’ll find specialties that are not for the faint of heart. Tripe, the white intestines of cow, and skinned rabbits with their head and eyes intact lay beside whole chicken, hen, l...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 17, 2001

Mercato Centrale
Inside the San Lorenzo central market (in Via dell'Ariento)
Florence, Italy