I hope that you didn’t think that I could have Florence as my monthly theme without talking about the food. Florence has some of the most amazing food! You can basically walk into almost any restaurant (as long as they are not right on the Duomo) and get an incredible meal made with fresh ingredients. Just thinking about what I’ve had to eat there is making me hungry and I’ve just finished my breakfast! I’ve put together a list of some of my favorite things to eat in Florence and where you can get them.
Here are some of my favorites:
Florentinian Steak - This blueberry covered filet is a specialty of Florence. Yes, it does sound very strange and not at all good. The reality is that it is melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and that’s coming from someone who doesn’t like blueberries! My favorite is at Acqua Al 2, where you can have that as part of a tasting menu. You’ll roll out of there when you are finished but you’ll have tasted so many great things.
Pizza - Naples is the Italian city that is known for its pizza but I had some great pizza in Florence. Although it’s at the edge of the city center, Fuoco Matto was worth the walk for it’s excellent pizza and great atmosphere. Plus, after I was finished eating, the walk back was a good idea.
Gelato - On the walk back from most of my dinners, I was often sidetracked by a gelateria. Okay, that was a lie. It wasn't just on my walk back from dinner, it was anytime I was walking. What can I say - I love gelato! A tip that I got from a local was to avoid the places that had gelato heaped over their metal containers in pretty swirls. Although this makes for a very nice presentation, it also means that there are preservatives in the gelato to enable it to stay like that without melting. Instead look for a gelateria with gelato that is flush to the top of its container for the best tasting and freshest options. One of my favorites was Perche´ No!
Cappuccino - If you are Italian, you only drink cappuccino in the morning, never afterwards. If you need a caffeine fix later in the day, you order an espresso. Milk in the afternoon is for babies, after all. Since I’m not Italian and I don’t care if I’m looked at funny, I’ll order Cappuccino all day long. I swear the cappuccino in Italy tastes better than anything that I’ve had at home. One of my favorite little cafes is Caffe el Sole. This is where I would grab my breakfast - an amazing cappuccino and cornetto (the italian version of a croissant). If I had that breakfast at home, I would be hungry again in an hour. For some reason, I can eat that in Italy and not be hungry again until lunch.
Italian Sandwich - You may be wondering, with all of the wonderful things to eat in Florence, how can a sandwich make the list. Well my friends, at Panini Toscani, the sandwiches are works of art. This little sandwich shop is right off of the back of the Duomo, which is normally a bad sign, but this is an exception to that rule. Do not come here if you are pressed for time as it is not a quick process. You will be warmly welcomed by the owner and given information about the different meats and cheeses available. You will even get to try some of the meats and cheeses to help you decide. Your sandwich will look too nice to eat but will smell so good that you'll have to eat it, asap! I have bittersweet memories of this place as it was the very last meal that I had from Florence. I took my sandwich to eat on my flight home and I’m still not sure how it made it to the plane in one piece.
Mercato Centrale - Okay, so this is not a food type but, in my opinion, this is a must see in Florence. This amazing food market has almost anything that you could want to eat. The main floor has the raw ingredients to make your meals - from the fish and meat vendors to the fruit and veggie stalls to all of the wonderful cheese that you need. Upstairs is a food court unlike anything that we have in our shopping malls in America. Fast and fresh, you can have a quick Italian lunch and be on your way. This is a great place to stop after you’ve shopped the leather markets outside. Bonus - the meat and cheese stalls on the main floor will shrink wrap your purchases so that you can bring them home with you!
So that’s the list of my favorite places to eat in Florence, although there are many more that are not listed here. Did your favorite make the list? If not, let me know what it is in the comments below.