Ciao Italy: Florence foods

This post is a sort of follow up to my previous post about the gelato in Florence. However this time I’m  delving into all the other cafes, restaurants and patisseries that I enjoyed while I was living in Florence. This is going to be a long list, so I’ll try to be brief!

Pastries
Some people claim that the Italian cornetto is the poor cousin of the croissant. Although I can see where they are coming from, I unabashedly love a good sweet filled cornetto. They run the entire gaumount, from soft and cake-like to flaky and croissant-like. Personally, I’m one for a bit of flakiness and golden ratio of filling to pastry where there is more pastry than filling.

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Robiglio
Via Dei Tosinghi 11/r | Via de’ Medici 16/r, 50123
When I had time before a long train trip I liked to stop by Robiglio and pick up some cornetti. The sheer selection of pastries on display is mind boggling, but the integrale (wholemeal) with lemon and honey were my absolute favourites.

Chiaroscuro
Via del Corso 36/r
Chiaraoscuro is an all day eatery, but I’ve only ever popped by for breakfast. Perhaps I had gotten in a little late, but the selection wasn’t as extensive as Robiglio. However, the lemon cornetto that I bought was probably hands down one of the best I have ever had.

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Pasticceria Nencioni
Via Pietrapiana 24/R
This probably isn’t the first pick for most people visiting Florence. However, it was incredibly close to where I was staying so I was lucky enough to pop in every now and then. This is a long standing family run establishment that is frequented by locals. Apart from cornetti, there is a whole range of other pastries. Some of them were too sweet for me, but basking in the hum of this place felt incredibly Florentine.

Don Nino
Piano Interrato, Firenze Santa Maria Nouvella
If I was running late to class, I would often quickly pop by the Don Nino in the underground station area. The jam and cream cornetti are surprisingly not bad for a store that does so much.  The best thing about this place is the more than convenient location.

 

Cafes
It often felt like a bit of a shame to be stuck at home working on assignments. Not to mention the fact that I would procrastinate like crazy when I was by myself. Most of these cafes are on this list not just for serving good food, but also their general ambience and ability to sit down with a laptop.

La Via del The
Via di Santo Spirito, 11, 50125
La Via del The boasts that it was the company which really bought the art of drinking fine tea to the Italian populace. In Florence they have three branches. Only two of them have sitting spaces. The one that I frequented was La Via del The 3 as it was the newest and most spacious. Mind you, the price of a pot of tea is rather steep at 8 euros or more! However, this is one of the very few places in Florence that will give you a well brewed pot of tea instead of a tea bag and a pot of water. A luxury that I was willing to pay for. The general ambience is also very relaxing and feels a bit upscale. The sweets are also very good and the staff are more than willing to recommend things. I think it’s one of my favourite tea rooms in the world.

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Ditta Artigianale
Via De’neri 32r
This is the place to go if you’re looking for a break from the typical Italian caffe (espresso). They offer the Australian flat white and tea that doesn’t come in a bag! The food options they have aren’t extensive, but it definitely fulfilled my brunch cravings. Since I left Florence they have since opened up another larger branch on the other side of the Arno.

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Todo Modo
Via dei Fossi, 15/R
More bookstore than cafe, Todo Modo is a charming place that I wish would open in Melbourne. Once you’re seated and surrounded by all the books, with a cup of coffee in one hand and a good read in another, it feels like you’re in a secret little cubby house.

Vespe Cafe
Via Ghibellina, 76, 50122
Believe it or not, the first time that I had an American style brunch was actually in Florence! Maybe it was because my brunch cravings were at an all time high when I visited, but I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would. The breakfast burrito is incredibly filling and for some reason, it felt wonderfully transgressive to be eating so many potatoes for breakfast! Vespe cafe is frequented by American college students who are on exchange so everyone speaks English, even all the customers.

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News Cafe
Via del Giglio, 59, 50123
Not too far from Santa Maria Nouvella station is THE place to go if you want a cappuccino. Not only do they do the most darling coffee art, but the wait staff is also incredibly friendly. It’s also air conditioned and spacious, which is perfect for those hot Italian days.

La Feltrinelli Red
Piazza della Repubblica 26, 50123
La Feltrinelli is a book store chain that is found everywhere in Italy. The rather grand looking store they have in Piazza della Repubblica also doubles as a cafe. This is the sort of place where you can sit as long as you like, use the wifi and no one will disturb you in the slightest. The tea and pastries that they served were also surprisingly decent.

 

Panino
I don’t usually order sandwiches of any sort when I’m out and about. However, in Florence it’s difficult to walk past a panini store without wanting to have one. The selection of cured meats and fillings is enough to make your eyes water. I don’t think that you can go wrong with any sandwich specialty store, this list is just the ones that I tried and enjoyed.

SandwiChic
Via San Gallo 3/r, 50129
My first introduction to panini at SandwiChic was a confusing one. There was barely any space to squeeze into the narrow counter of the store and the options seemed endless and confusing. However, the two guys there spoke excellent English and were endlessly accommodating. Although I picked a fairly unadventurous filling of ham, balsamic, buffalo mozzarella and tomato, this really lets every single component shine. I managed to polish off the very large sandwich in almost no time.

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Pane e Toscana
Borgo Degli Albizi 31/R, 52100
Not only was Pane e Toscana delicious, it was also very close to me. The salty schechatta bread that Florence is famous for is so incredibly moreish.I kept going back for me. The menu is really easy to understand, with all the fillings in different categories. When I was feeling lazy this was the perfect dinner.

Da’Vinattieri
Via Santa Margherita 4R, 50100
Although Da’Vinattieri is hidden away in an alley, you can instantly tell you’re close when you see groups of students and tourists sitting on the ground enjoying their sandwiches. This is a good place to try the specialty of Lampredotto stuffed in a roll. Make sure you don’t go too late in the day because by then they are often sold out and packing up.

Panini Toscani
Piazza del Duomo, 34/R
It’s often said that restaurants close to monuments tend to terrible and over priced. Evidently, these people have never been to panini toscani. The real point of difference is that they let you try a selection of different fillings so that you can customise your panini. The actual size of the panini is smaller than the above places, but that’s the price you pay for sitting next to the duomo!

Semel
Piazza Lorenzo Ghiberti 44/r
If you’re after something a little bit different Semel is the place to go. It’s only open for a few hours at lunch and is enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. Unlike the very large sandwiches found at other establishments, Semel offers small rolls filled with a rotating list of fillings. The owner is also an incredibly jovial guy. You get a real sense of Italian warmth and hospitality as soon as you walk into the store.

 

Restaurants

Tamero’
Piazza Santo Spirito 11/r
My friends and I stumbled upon this pasta bar by accident as we were looking for somewhere to eat near Santo Spirito. It was one of the few restaurants that weren’t completely full, which is a bit of a shock considering how good the food was. It was here that I tried the best balsamic of my life. The pasta dishes hail from all parts of Italy, including some very unique dishes, like the amazing pasta soup I tried.

Toscanella Osteria
Via Toscanella, 32r
Toscanella Osteria would be rather hidden if it weren’t for the friendly looking Pinocchio outside. This is where I tried the famous Florentine beef steak. Honestly, I’m not the biggest fan of steak generally speaking. I was glad to have tried it, but I was really blown away by the delicious soups at this restaurant. Every single soup really show cased what could be done with beautiful Italian vegetables.


I’ Mangiarino
Via Dello Studio 5R
This was another lucky find when we were wandering around looking for dinner. We shared a starter of the most amazing bruschetta and cured meats. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to look at bruschetta in Australia the same again.It’s the sort of place where you can be thrifty or splurge like the two guys seated next to us who were enjoying the most extravagant multi-course meal. Either way, you’ll probably have a good time.

Trattoria Mario
Via Rosina, 2r
Trattoria Mario is probably Florence’s worst kept secret. There is always a crowd and wait. The waitstaff are brusque and a bit harried but the food is cheap, authentic and delicious.

Osteria delle tre planche
Via Antonio Pacinotti 32R, 50131
Do you love truffles? If you do, Osteria delle tre planche probably loves them more than you. The restaurant is tiny so reservations are recommended. There is a whole page dedicated to items with truffle, and boy are they generous with the truffle shavings. Something like this would set you back a small fortune in Australia but is a relatively affordable indulgence in Florence.

Gustapizza
Via Maggio, 46R,
Sure, locals will tell you that there are better more authentic places to have a naples style pizza, but Gustapizza is tasty, reliable and relatively fast. There’s something to be said about sitting on the steps of Saint Spiritos with everyone else and enjoying a box or two of freshly baked pizza.

Oibo
Borgo Dei Greci, 1, 50122,
Last but not least, is the only appertivo place on this list. I didn’t really try to brand out with appertivo places, perhaps because Oibo was so close and I knew exactly what to expect. It is classy without being intimidating and the food is generous and varied.

Some of these images are pulled from google or webpages because at times I simply forgot to take photos or I just can’t find them amidst all my other travel photos.

Thanks for making it through this list! Let me know if you’ve been to any of these, or if there was something that you absolutely loved in Florence that I should try next time!

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