If you've been following my adventures on Instagram then you probably know that we recently took a trip to Italy. Patrick and I visited Florence, Parma, and Bologna for nine days, spending three days in each city. It was a good trip and the food was spectacular, but we did find ourselves bored from the repetition of visiting churches and museums. Don't get me wrong, the beauty is endless, but it all starts to looks the same one church after another.
The view of the city at different degrees from Piazza Michaelangelo.
Florence is a grand city that's full of rich history and beautiful architecture, but I was turned off by the amount of tourists and long lines for nearly every attraction. I was most wow'd by the Duomo of Santa Maria del Fiore, Piazza Michaelangelo for the beautiful views of the city, and Giotto's Campanile (the 400 steps is worth it!).
In comparison to the other two cities we visited, we found Florence to be the least exciting when it comes to food that we find interesting. That's not to say that there isn't delicious food to be had in Florence because we definitely ate very well and shared fantastic meals together. Instead of having specialties unique to the city, Florence showcases the diversity of food from different parts of Tuscany. In this post, I am sharing all of the places that we loved and would highly recommend.
Osteria delle Tre Panche (Via Antonio Pacinotti, 32/R, 50131 Firenze, Italy): Truffles were the real reason why I was really excited to visit Florence in October. Here you can find the finest fresh white truffles in Florence. I made reservations a few weeks in advance to visit on our first night and it was such a memorable meal. Osteria delle Tre Panche is a tiny little restaurant with only three picnic-style tables that seat about a total of 18-20 people. They offer an entire truffle menu, so we ordered the Tagliolino al Tartufo Bianco (fresh pasta with white truffles) and Milanese al Tartufo Bianco (fried veal Milanese with white truffle), along with a side of beans and grated bottarga (salted, cured fish roe). The truffles were outstanding! They came from Siena and were so wonderfully fresh that the scent permeated through the entire restaurant in the most pleasant way. The food was wonderful and the service was friendly. It just doesn't get any better than this.
Alimentari Uffizi (Via Lambertesca, 10, 50122 Firenze, Italy): Alimentari Uffizi is a small deli located on a quiet street, one of our favorite finds that we stumbled upon on a rainy day in Florence. Owner Alessandro represents the third generation of his family to run this business, serving up memorable charcuterie made from cinta senese and grigio Umbro pigs from son's farm, Terre de Marni. Patrick and I shared an incredible spread of salumi with fresh mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano, bruschetta and olives, which are also produced from the farm. The price was only 20€ for both of us, a great value for excellent meat. Alessandro doesn't speak much English, but his warmth and kindness made us feel very welcomed as if we were guests in his home. He even shook our hands at the end as we parted ways. If we go back to Florence, this would be our very first stop and last.
I' Brindellone: My friend Pearl recently came back from Florence and raved about this place, so I knew I had to check it out. Patrick and I ordered a gigantic 2.5lb Florentine steak and a plate of their pasta with fresh black truffles - two of their most popular menu items. Normally we would not order a steak that large in portion, but that was the only size they offered that day. The steak was simply seasoned, perfectly grilled to medium rare, plenty of blood drippings to sop up with bread. It's simply a very satisfying steak.
But it was the pasta that won my heart, made fresh and tossed in a buttery cream with a generous amount of shaven black truffles. Each strand is coated in cream that traps all the wonderful essence from the truffles. And here's the best part- the pasta was only 9€. This was definitely one of our favorite meals from our entire trip.
All'Antico Vinaio (Via dei Neri, 74/R, 50100 Firenze, Italy): Located in the Uffizi area, this sandwich shop is constantly busy with people lined out the door. Freshly baked panini sandwiches packed with generous meat and toppings for only 5€. I ordered the "La Focaccia Del Mela" with Speck, Crema di Tartufo, Crema di Porcini, and Scamorza Affumicata (a type of smoked mozzerella). Patrick had the "La Favolosa" with Sbriciolona, Crema di Pecorini, Crema di Carciofi e Melanzanine Piccanti.
I actually wouldn't recommend the sandwich I got. I was not a fan of the Crema di Tartufo; I purposely ordered the sandwich for the truffle cream, not knowing that it was full of truffle oil instead of real truffles. The truffle oil was so overpowering that I had to scrape it off. The speck was excellent and the sandwich overall was delicious regardless of my poor decision. It just would have been better without the truffle cream and maybe even without the porcini cream.
Patrick loved his sandwich and scarfed it down quickly. I know it's weird that I'm recommending a place that I didn't exactly have the best experience at, but it's one of those places that I wish I visited again because the options are endless and the quality of meat is fantastic. This is definitely a delicious value that's worth the 10 to 15 minute wait!
Eataly Florence (Via de' Martelli, 22, 50122 Firenze, Italy): Instead of hunting for breakfast on our last day in Florence, we decided to stop by Eataly the night before to grab some headcheese and focaccia to enjoy at our rental. I love how the fat of the headcheese melts against a hot piece of focaccia straight out of the oven. The quality of food and variety they have here is fantastic. Eataly is a perfect spot for a quick bite or a snack. I guarantee that you won't be able to resist once you walk in.
Did you know that Florence is the birth place of gelato? There's an endless amount of gelato shops in Florence, but not many are aware that there are shops selling artificially flavored gelato. Stay away from those colorful towers of gelato as tempting as they may be!
Vivoli Gelateria (Via dell’Isola delle Stinche, 7/r, 50122 Firenze, Italy): Vivoli Gelateria is a third generation business that's been around since 1930, dedicated to making their gelato fresh every day. Their most popular flavor is crema, made with eggs, cream and sugar. We loved the crema, chocolate-chocolate chip, and hazelnut. Vivoli is top of mind when it comes to the best gelato place we visited in Florence.
Gelateria La Carraia (Piazza Nazario Sauro, 25-red, 50124 Firenze, Italy): La Carraia offers unique gelato flavors and creamy soft textures. They make their gelato fresh every day and there's almost always a line out the door because it's so good.
I loved their white chocolate and pistachio gelato so much that I went back twice in a row. I also really loved their airy mousse tiramisu, which is not gelato but instead a whipped mousse.
In my next post, I share the five worst things I ate in Florence.