Being situated in Tuscany, Florence is an incredibly foodie city! After hours of research and some advice from our air bnb hosts we settled on the following.
Lunch @ All'Antico Vinaio. Simply type the restaurant into google maps and you will find your way. It's a short walk from the main sights such as the Ponte Vecchio and Uffizi. Or you could follow the mass crowd carrying sandwiches!!! Queues can reach 30 - 45 minutes during peak times. We arrived at 12:15pm and waited around 20 minutes. There is a main restaurant and two sandwich bars across the street from one another. They are exactly the same so join the shortest line.
There is a small menu but the main idea is to pick your meat and almost let the guys decide what else to go with it! They will ask if you like something before they add it to your sandwich. All sandwiches are served on warm, freshly baked ciabatta. I had salami, mozzarella, grilled zucchini, mushrooms, rocket and tomato. The hubby had lashings of rare roast beef, grilled zucchini, mushrooms, rocket and tomato. Both were absolutely delicious and incredibly filling. They are wrapped in paper and plastic to prevent the inevitable dripping down your hands! This sandwich was worth the queue! They serve wine too! So grab a sandwich and glass of vino and copy the crowds by siting on the pavement for a well deserved lunch break.
Sandwiches are 5 EURO!
Wine @ Enoteca Pitti Gola. Ensure you make a reservation at this teeny, tiny wine bar opposite the Pitti Palace. We had a glorious little table tucked away in the corner among the thousands of bottles of wine on display. They have a very short but sweet menu whipped up by a chef with incredible experience. We had a cheese stuffed fried artichoke to share followed by a truffle risotto and veal ragout with homemade pappardelle. There were also meat boards, cheese boards, salads and other pasta dishes to choose from.
The best part though is the wine. We asked our friendly waiter who spoke perfect English to select the best wines for our food. I tried four generous glasses of white and the hubby had four glasses of red. We were given the chance to try each wine before committing to a full glass. Wine starts at 4 Euro per glass and they recommend not only delicious, mouth watering samples but none of the ones they freely chose for us broke the bank. Including purchasing a 30 EUR bottle of vino, our total bill was £105. You can't really complain at a bottle of wine, two bottles of water, eight glasses of wine, two main courses and a starter for that price, especially given the surroundings, service and quality.
This honestly was a wicked evening and one we would recommend to anyone visiting the city. They have a wine club, which ships to the UK and they do a wine pairing with tasting menu, which can be pre booked in advance for groups (served downstairs in the cellar) or others upstairs in the main wine bar.
Dinner @ Vini e Vecchi Sapori. Again, ensure you reserve this restaurant, you will need to phone so maybe ask your hotel to book on your behalf. The restaurant is a short walk from the Piazza della Signoria and just up the road from the Gucci museum. This is a very traditional Italian restaurant. They won't open until 7:30pm as before this they have their family dinner. The restaurant is small so be prepared to be on tables with other couples / families. English also isn't great but they do try really hard.
Food is served in a traditional three course Italian style. However, we both opted for two and were very full. I had the mozzarella and prosciutto to start whilst the hubby tucked into a generous portion of duck papperdelle. I then followed with the duck papperdelle and he went for lamb cutlets with potatoes. The papperdelle was so buttery, melt in your mouth and delicious. Definitely the best pasta I have ever eaten. The food here was home made, traditional and tasty. The menu had a large selection of pasta and gnocci as well as meat options so I do believe there would be something for everyone.
The dessert selection is small and we were too full so opted for two rounds of limoncello's instead! The entire bill including a bottle of water and a bottle of Chianti was £65. This was really good value for money in Florence! If you want a laid back, no frills and traditional experience then this restaurant is somewhere you should not miss.
The food in Florence was pretty reasonably priced at all of the above and the Mercato, which I described in my previous blog post. We definitely found it cheaper than London and significantly cheaper than both Venice and Rome. Equally the quality and selection were incredible, you were spoilt for choice and I can imagine couldn't go too wrong in this city. Being in the Chianti region the wine is also incredible and can be found at inexpensive prices. If you are a foodie and enjoy good wine you will not be disappointed in Florence.