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Budget dinners in Florence?

Warning about Caffe Italiano - although still delicious they have cancelled their 5.90 euro lunch special and it is no longer exactly cheap.

Also try Trattoria Anita on Via Venegia behind the Palazzo Vecchio. - I think a two course lunch is about 8 euro.

Oct 13, 2010
ellene in Italy

Florence, Siena, Bologna - Specific question

In Florence there are lots of deals to be had - especially at lunch restaurants are offering specials everywhere.

Try Osteria Caffe Italiano (on the corner just to the right of Vivoli) - they are offering a lunch for 5.90 a person, including a primo piatto (of usually soup or pasta) and water, house wine and a cup of coffee are also included in the price. It's a really nice restaurant and you would pay tons more for the same thing at dinner.

Also a quick lunch at Bar Pazkawski (spelling help anyone?) on the northwest corner of Piazza Republica is only 5 euro a plate. There is usually a selection of about 4-5 pastas, a soup and a selection of about 6-8 vegetables...you can mix and match and get a plate half full of pasta with perhaps roasted asparagus and eggplant on the side. The trick is to not sit down at the restaurant tables where you will pay more than double - the way to do it is: go to the register and pay for your primo piatto. Take the receipt to the back of the bar where you will see your selection of dishes for that day, order a plate full of whatever you like, and go to sit outside (only the tables on the far right side of the terrace) or you can also sit up on the balcony inside for chillier days.... For the price, the food is delicious and the atmosphere is perfect for bringing kids along too.

Nov 25, 2009
ellene in Italy

Trip report - Rome, Sorrento, Florence

Thanks for your trip report - I always like hearing what other people enjoyed in Florence.

I was recently at Osteria Tournabuoni too, and enjoyed it very much... excellent food without the "traditional" tuscan decor (living here, it's just nice to have a change once in a while...everything starts to feel the same... : )

My husband went to Perseus without me once and really liked it, so maybe I should take him back over there...sounds good! And the Pizzeria Lo Spera sounds like a rare bargain!

Glad you enjoyed yourself!

Nov 06, 2009
ellene in Italy

Italy Report: Part II (Florence)

Wow! I live in Florence and I completely agree with all your recommendations - all great places! Le volpi e l'uva is one of our very favorite spots... Come to think of it, maybe I'll go for lunch today! Glad you found them all and enjoyed them all...

Oct 27, 2009
ellene in Italy

ZaZa Florence and Cav. alvaro Al Circo Massimo in Rome

I had lunch at ZaZa yesterday. We had very nice service...my mother couldn't decide what to have and the waitress waited patiently. then after her first decision, my mom changed her mind a few minutes later...the waitress was glad to change for her, and everything came out as ordered. The food on the otherhand I did not find as tasty as in past visits there - yummy, but a little industrial. I think many restaurant experiences have to do with luck...

Oct 27, 2009
ellene in Italy

Dining in Tuscany

Not far from Villa Mangiacane is La Cantinetta di Rignana (not Rignano which is a totally different place). They have a great restaurant, with outdoor (and indoor) tables. Casual, yet delicious, homemade, authentic.... It is at the end of a long country road, but well worth the bit of a bumpy drive. We always pick up a case of their great wine (from the vineyard down the road from the restaurant). They also have an agritourism, but looks like you're already covered on that front.
http://www.rignana.it/home.htm
http://www.lacantinettadirignana.it

Apr 07, 2009
ellene in Italy

Florence, help --

I love to eat at Boccadama for Sunday lunch. It's right on Piazza Santa Croce, on the right side of the piazza (if you are facing at the church). They have outdoor tables under umbrellas - which should be really nice in April, and the view is spectacular on a sunny day. You can have a glass of wine and a plate of tuscan cold cuts and cheese or good pastas, etc... You'll find lots of tourists there, but you'll also find italians - I live here and go there quite often. They have a really great lunch chef - Luana! For dessert their chocolate-pear cake is great.

On the other hand I am not such a fan of Il Pallotino mentioned above. I have only eaten there once, but I found the quality of the food to be sort of lacking... I still walk by there all the time and to me it seems like one of those "cheap menu for the tourists" sort of places. Again, only been there once, so could have been an off day - and CJT could know better than me...

Mar 19, 2009
ellene in Italy

Best Chocolate Shops in Florence

I would also try VESTRI - chocolate and gelato - located in Piazza Salvemini, at the end of Borgo degli Albizi.

Dec 08, 2008
ellene in Italy

Eating Solo In Florence ...

I second Nerbone, a must try although not such a sit-down-and-relax sort of place.

I would also recomend Zoe (Via dei Renai 13 red) in the San Niccolo area - if you go over the Ponte alle Grazie, and take a left it's just on the other side of Piazza Demidoff. Very casual, a bit trendy, cheap, yummy. You can sit there for a long time - you can even sit at the bar and have lunch. Risotto, pasta, salads, etc... I really like this place...

Dec 01, 2008
ellene in Italy

Eating Solo In Florence ...

We ate there a few days ago, and the woman next to us was alone and having a relaxing lunch. The lunch menu is now 7euro though... : ) ... still very cheap for tons of food!

Dec 01, 2008
ellene in Italy

Best Chocolate Shops in Florence

La Bottega del Cioccolato is my personal favorite in Florence. Very small shop, with very nice selection of interesting flavors and fillings - pepperoncini, fig, etc . You can make up a great gift box there - not exactly cheap though. I would also try their chocolate chip cookies - not exactly Tuscan, but a great snack!

Dec 01, 2008
ellene in Italy

Authentic but not pricey food in Florence

I second Nerbone. Or if you are more near the the Palazzo Vecchio at lunch time, there is a sandwich stand right outside the American Express office. Try the Panino il Lesso (boiled beef), with the salsa verde and a little piccante sauce! (Similar to Nerbone's sandwich, but without the crowds).

For dinner try the pizzeria at Cafe Italiano - a thick crusted, neopolitan-style pizza. You can watch them go into the hot oven by the front door, and they cook in about 4 minutes! There are only, i think, 3 types of pizzas to choose from, plus salads can be ordered on the side, but that's it for the menu. The pizzas are about 7 or 8 euros (1 pizza per person), so you can get out without spending too much. Possibly the best pizza i've had here in florence.

Oct 24, 2008
ellene in Italy

Looking for Bistecca alla Florentina in Florence....

I know this thread is old, but for the record I loved my bistecca at Cafe Italiano - don't know the street name (via Torta? maybe) but it's just down the street from Vivoli Gelateria near Santa Croce. I do have to say that the appetizer we had was less than great, but I'm still remembering the grilled taste of that bistecca!

(their casual pizzeria next door is some of the best pizza in the city too!)

Oct 23, 2008
ellene in Italy

Cooking Schools in Italy

Another option is the Cordon Bleu school in Florence. I have friends who have taken cooking courses there, and (through those friends) I have become friends with Gabriella Mari - one of the school's two owners. (I know, sounds like I have a conflict of interest here, but I see it as having insider info...?)

The school just put in a new kitchen this summer and it looks great! Gabriella, her co-owner Cristina, and all of their teachers are really expert chefs - and their school has been a professional institution for over 20 years. (Be aware when choosing a school, that there are a lot of new people opening up cooking schools for tourists in Tuscany! So wherever you decide to go, make sure you've done some research and get a real school, not just a business venture...)

From personal experience, I can tell you that everything Gabriella has ever cooked for me was delicious! Were I looking for a cooking class, I would go to Cordon Bleu in a second! Good luck and let us know if you find someplace you like...

They have a website here: http://cordonbleu-it.com/

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Scuola di Arte Culinaria Cordon Bleu, Firenze
Via di Mezzo, 55-red, Florence, Tuscany 50121, IT

Oct 23, 2008
ellene in Italy

One Amazing Meal in Florence

They serve some purely Tuscan dishes, but all with a sort of gourmet/creative touch. For example, I have had this dish 2 times: veal with sliced avocado and truffle sauce. The veal was tender, the avocado perfectly ripe and truffles - as always - delicious! I think my favorite dish (a primo piatto) I had there was the pasta with calamari in a light tomato sauce with a touch of orange - fresh tasting and delish!

The have a website here: http://www.garga.it/trattoria-1.html -- the testimonials page has a lot of info...

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Trattoria Garga
Via del Moro, 48r, Florence, Tuscany 50123, IT

Oct 23, 2008
ellene in Italy

Have car, will travel: truffle festivals this fall?

we've been to San Miniato and it was great. If you are in Tuscany, that's a don't miss truffle spot. Srry I don't know when it is this year... but sure you can find out online.

Oct 22, 2008
ellene in Italy

One Amazing Meal in Florence

Although I'm sure the food at Enoteca Pinchiorri (via Ghibellina) is excellent, I would not spend my one night there - you will pay something like 200 euros a person (that's a $600+ dinner for 2!), and I have heard that you may not get great service if you are obviously a tourist (ie don't speak Italian, etc). I think the same may be true for Cibreo, which has a great reputation for its food, but not a great track record in terms of service to tourists. Cibreo's Teatro del Sale (via dei Macci, i think) is a great place for dinner, but has a different atmosphere than a formal restaurant - if you were staying for a week, I would say that's a must-do, but not for one night. Same for i Latini.

There are lots of good restaurants in Florence, but in my opinion not many great restaurants. We have had a great meal at La Giostra (on Borgo Pinti). Also a great Bistecca Fiorentina at Cafe Italiano (near Vivoli Gelateria). Also delicious, and in the end where I would send you for your one amazing meal is Trattoria Garga (not far from Santa Maria Novella). We have been there several times - it has superb food (italian, but not standard/boring italian), a fun atmosphere and, although slightly pricey, won't break the bank. It's been around for a long time, and was very popular with the "in" crowd a while back. Not so trendy now - now it's more of a classic favorite. Give it a try.

Oct 22, 2008
ellene in Italy