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    Post #1 - March 25th, 2015, 4:26 pm
    Post #1 - March 25th, 2015, 4:26 pm Post #1 - March 25th, 2015, 4:26 pm
    Our second trip to Florence was much more laid-back than the one in 2010, which was our first trip abroad of any kind. Although we had excursions planned for the five nights in town, we opted to stay ‘home’ and wander this magic place, basking in the late-winter quietness, lack of tourists, and grooving in our VRBO apartment on Piazza Santa Maria Novella. It was there that we could open the windows wide for a late afternoon siesta, letting the March sun shine in and listen to guitar or accordion music wafting up as we dozed.


    photo 1-001.JPG Our first dinner was at the nearby Ciro & Sons, where this family originally from Naples dishes up fine, non-Tuscan fare. These wide noodles with calamari (and I suspect some squid ink) was absolutely phenomenal, maybe the best pasta dish of the entire trip. Ciro was our go-to place for the stay, with son/co-owner Enzo more than accommodating to us.



    photo 5 - Copy.JPG I still say that a properly-aged Chicago bone-in ribeye is the best cut of beef on the planet, but this sliced bisteca alla Fiorentino at Ristorante Toto was quite tasty, served simply on a bed of arugula and dressed only with high-end balsamic vinegar.



    photo 3 (2).JPG Rations bought semi-daily at Mercato Centrale for our breakfast, lunch or picnic. 10 not-thin slices of the top-grade prosciutto only set us back about 4 Euro. Fresh rolls, domestic Genoa salami, Parmigiano Reggiano, pungent grapes, and a Millefiori honey that was incredible.



    photo 2 (2).JPG A beautiful torte at Caffe Gilli near Piazza della Repubblica.



    Ciro & Sons
    via del giglio 28r, San Giovanni (Duomo), 50123 Florence, Italy
    +39 055 289694


    Ristorante Toto
    Borgo Santi Apostoli 6/r, 50123 Florence, Italy
    +39 055 212096


    Caffe Gilli
    Piazza della Repubblica, 39R, 50123 Florence, Italy
    +39 055 269 1118
  • Post #2 - March 25th, 2015, 4:39 pm
    Post #2 - March 25th, 2015, 4:39 pm Post #2 - March 25th, 2015, 4:39 pm
    These are good reports.
  • Post #3 - March 25th, 2015, 10:59 pm
    Post #3 - March 25th, 2015, 10:59 pm Post #3 - March 25th, 2015, 10:59 pm
    Tyrgyzistan wrote:These are good reports.

    Seriously. Jay, can I go with you next time? :D

    =R=
    There's a horse loose in a hospital -- JM

    I am not interested in how I would evaluate the Springbank in a blind tasting. Every spirit has its story, and I include it in my evaluation, just as I do with human beings. --Thad Vogler

    I'll be the tastiest pork cutlet bowl ever --Yuri Katsuki

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #4 - March 26th, 2015, 9:23 am
    Post #4 - March 26th, 2015, 9:23 am Post #4 - March 26th, 2015, 9:23 am
    Wow. I'm on my way!

    Seriously, I am going there. Those places looked awesome but maybe a little pricey? Any cheap eats you could recommend?
  • Post #5 - March 26th, 2015, 10:26 am
    Post #5 - March 26th, 2015, 10:26 am Post #5 - March 26th, 2015, 10:26 am
    Hey, cleanplate--

    Prices as a whole for meals in Florence are moderate, especially with the Euro at 1.05 to 1 USD. We were there in 2010 with the Euro at around 1.40 and it made a huge difference to the bottom line, much more expensive then. If the current ratio stays status quo, I expect a world of tourists to descend on Europe in the next year or two.

    I found soups and appetizers to be in the 6-8 Euro range, pastas 9-12, entrees 12-15, except for that steak which was 20 Euro. BTW, that calamari pasta pictured at Ciro was 11 Euro. I didn't think it was too bad, pretty much similar to here. Their Napolitan pizza was between 6-9 Euro, and really good. Certain places, however, are tourist traps and will dial up the charm and raise the prices. We fell into one of those, and I couldn't walk out although I should have. PM me before you go and I'll give you the names of where to stay away from!

    For cheap eats, I would recommend any of the stands at Mercato Centrale. At Nerbone, which has been around since 1872, either an excellent boiled beef sandwich, a lampredotto (cow's stomach--not half bad), or a trippa (tripe--uh, no) sandwich was 3 Euro. Can't do better than that. As I said above, the prosciutto and salami were cheap, and a little jar of tremendous honey was 1 Euro! Morning espresso was usually in the 1.50 Euro range. Chump change.

    A decent bottle of wine at a restaurant should not cost more than 20 Euro tops, unless there's something specifically fantastic you have in mind. At the Mercato, or even at the CONAD grocery, I was able to buy bottles of my favorite varietal, Vino Nobile di Montipulciano, for 10 Euro all day long. Killer deal--wish I could've shipped a case or two home, but the freight would've ruined my pricing matrix!

    Bottom line is for Florence is that if you can get a reasonably-priced hotel or apartment, and not pay through the nose for the air, you can do quite nicely value-wise. And let me tell you, once you get south of Rome, towards Naples & Salerno, it gets even better.

    Ciao!
  • Post #6 - September 28th, 2017, 9:28 am
    Post #6 - September 28th, 2017, 9:28 am Post #6 - September 28th, 2017, 9:28 am
    We'll be visiting the last full week of October...any new recs?
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #7 - September 28th, 2017, 9:31 am
    Post #7 - September 28th, 2017, 9:31 am Post #7 - September 28th, 2017, 9:31 am
    Hey Gypsy Boy, haven't been back since '15. Have been to Rome and Sorrento this year, however. You going there?
  • Post #8 - September 28th, 2017, 12:17 pm
    Post #8 - September 28th, 2017, 12:17 pm Post #8 - September 28th, 2017, 12:17 pm
    Gypsy Boy wrote:We'll be visiting the last full week of October...any new recs?


    Vini e Vecchi Sapori

    Fabulous place near the Duomo. Very small, seat probably 12-15 people at most. All family run, front and back of house.
  • Post #9 - September 29th, 2017, 9:37 am
    Post #9 - September 29th, 2017, 9:37 am Post #9 - September 29th, 2017, 9:37 am
    http://ristoranteilvezzo.it/

    Il Vezzo on Via Guelfa, one of my favorite streets in Italy, an ancient working class artery. Modern and very simple. There is also a wood-burning pizza place with an oven right in the exterior street wall northwest of there which I know still exists but I can't map for certain to Yelp/Tripadvisor. Popular hipster spot SandwiChic is also right there (http://www.sandwichic.it/prodotti-tipici-toscani ).
  • Post #10 - September 29th, 2017, 10:03 am
    Post #10 - September 29th, 2017, 10:03 am Post #10 - September 29th, 2017, 10:03 am
    If you like wine and Italian fare, you will love Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina. They specialize in Tuscan wine, often nicely aged, at a fair price. Small, friendly, inviting.

    Enoteca Pitti E Gola
    Piazza Pitti, 16
    50125 Firenze, Italia
    tel. +39 055 212 704
    http://pittigolaecantina.com/
  • Post #11 - September 29th, 2017, 10:44 am
    Post #11 - September 29th, 2017, 10:44 am Post #11 - September 29th, 2017, 10:44 am
    Gypsy Boy wrote:...any new recs?

    Nope, just my usual old rec: if you like tripe at all, make sure to have some in Firenze. Especially a panino di lampredotto, tripe from the last part of the cow's stomach(s), braised and served with a little parsley and hot pepper. A beautiful sandwich that can be ordered bagnato like our own dipped Italian beef. Sergio Pollini on via dei Macci is perhaps the reference trippaio, but there are plenty of fine places to enjoy this signature Florentine sandwich. A friend recommends Il Cernacchino at via della Condotta 38R, but I haven't been.

    You're going to be a little early for the new olive oil harvest, but still you should take every chance to stop to snack on a fettunta and glass of wine. October is saffron month in Firenze, so I'd try something allo zafferano.
  • Post #12 - September 29th, 2017, 11:43 am
    Post #12 - September 29th, 2017, 11:43 am Post #12 - September 29th, 2017, 11:43 am
    Sir: thank you. A panino di lampredotto is one of the highest things on my list for our time in Florence. I've collected so many recs, I need to sit down and sort through them. But yours will be near the top of the list. Besides, no reason a man can't have more than one!
    Sadly, we'll have very little time on this trip and are trying to squeeze in too much, probably. My wife discovered a fascinating website which features folks all over Italy who allow you to come into their homes for food of the region. Their homes and (presumably) their cooking skills are supposed to be vetted and the menus are up on the site. So we're looking into doing that at a home in Bologna. (The site is https://www.cesarine.it/en/.) Seems quite intriguing to us. Some hosts speak English, some don't. And while not a large program yet, they do have a number of folks in off-the-beaten track villages as well as in the large cities.
    Anyone else with recs, please chime in!
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #13 - April 1st, 2018, 5:11 pm
    Post #13 - April 1st, 2018, 5:11 pm Post #13 - April 1st, 2018, 5:11 pm
    We recently got back from Florence and here are some of are recommendations.

    Buca Lapi for the Tuscan steak only. It is served medium rare and I really enjoyed it. The other entrées were just ok.

    Trattoria Gargani we had a good meal here. Everything was well prepared. We ordered an extra plate of the inked pasta in a tomato sauce it was that good.

    Gurdulù excellent upscale restaurant with a hip atmosphere. We had the chefs tasting and loved it. Probably the best meal we had in Florence. Strongly recommended.

    Zeb Gastronomic we stopped here after hiking Piazzale Michelangelo (which you should do for the best views of the city). We weren't to hungry because we just ate and only wanted a snack. We kept eating, every thing was amazing. Get the pear ravioli and truffle spaghetti. The owner is a dick but his mother is really sweet.


    Acqua Al 2 everything was great highly recommended. Get the chefs tasting. The blueberry steak blew are minds.


    The Fusion Bar & Restaurant - super hip place the food was only so so, the sushi was better at koko. The cocktails were to die for. At around nine in the evening on Saturday night we saw a parade of the hippest fashionista I have ever seen. Fun place especially for drinks.

    Koko - very good sushi best I have had in Europe.


    La Ménagére - we had brunch here the food was great. Wish we could try dinner. Has a flower shop and live jazz at night. My wife loved the almond cappuccino, it was a little too sweet for me. Very cool atmosphere.

    We also did a slow day in Tuscany. The tour guide took us to an amazing restaurant in the hills. It is an amazing tour the restaurant blew us away. Afterwards, we did his wife's cooking class which was fantastic, I recommend doing both. http://www.slow-days.com/

    All'Antico Vinaio sandwiches that are amazing and only 5 euros. There is usually a long line but we passed by and it was not crowded so we swooped in and loved it.

    Ristorante Artemide - was an amazing restaurant west of Florence. Located in the hills. The food was wonderful. It was a real treat, but you will need a car to get there. Via di Galiga, 21, 50065 Molino del Piano FI, Italy

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