A Day’s Dining In Florence: 5 Restaurants To Take You From Breakfast To Dinner
When exploring an unknown city abroad, one of the most stressful experiences can be searching for that perfect lunch spot, or knowing exactly where to grab a coffee when your legs are weary from sightseeing. With our guide to the best Florentine eateries, you can relax and plan your days around well-known local venues guaranteed to satisfy your stomach!
Pancakes @ Volume, Piazza Santo Spirito 5/r
For a mid-morning coffee in a sunny square and sweet-toothed brunch options, look no further than this little bar in a beautiful and overlooked corner of Florence. Tucked away in the shadow of the enormous Basilica di Santo Spirito, Volume’s crepes are one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Order a coffee at the bar and ask for the crepe menu – and the café’s ancient and cheerful chef will wander out from a back room and prepare your order right before your eyes. My perfect pancake is the light, simple and slightly caramelised Burro e Zucchero, but there are traditional favourites such as Nutella on standby too! Then, sit back amongst the café’s eccentric collection of furniture and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere. This place is also a great spot for an after-dinner drink, as it really livens up come nightfall with a mixed crowd and live concerts.
WE LOVE: Delicious pancakes at only a five minute walk from one of the city’s loveliest attractions, the Boboli Gardens, the perfect place for a lazy post-brunch stroll.
Lunch @ I Due Fratellini, Via dei Cimatori 38/r
WE LOVE: The upbeat atmosphere as lunching locals chatter, sip wine, and enjoy their ‘panini’ in the street. The majestic Piazza della Signoria is a few streets away from Fratellini – so enjoy a takeaway lunch at a tiny price!
Afternoon gelato @ Neri, Via dei Neri 9
After a long afternoon wandering in Florence’s dusty heat, nothing beats the perfect gelato – and the Gelateria dei Neri is a firm favourite of mine. It’s perfectly located to enjoy your ice cream while wandering along the river, but just far away enough from the Duomo to avoid being a tourist trap. And be warned – good gelato is not necessarily easy to find in Italy, and the more whipped up, elaborately decorated and brightly coloured it is, the least genuine flavour you’ll probably get! It’s definitely worth spending a few more minutes searching for a gem like this café rather than being tempted in to the first gelateria you pass. At Neri you’ll honestly taste the difference – and be treated to an impressive and authentic selection, from imaginative concoctions such as ‘Gorgonzola e Noci’ (cheese and walnuts!) to the rich pot of heaven that is their Nutella and Mascarpone flavour. If you’re not in the mood for gelato, there are also delicious ‘cannoli’ – gorgeous Sicilian pastry shells with a creamy ricotta filling – available for 1€.
WE LOVE: Their Crema di Giotto flavour (don’t guess what’s in it, just give it a try!) and the generous portion-price ratio, at 1€80 for a giant scoop in a cone. Find a riverside spot a few minutes from Neri, and settle down for a gelato with a view.
Dinner @ Osteria di Santo Spirito, Piazza Santo Spirito, 16/r
For a loved-up but low-key dinner-date, book an outdoor table at this traditional and unassuming osteria – though perhaps avoid their famous spaghetti with garlic if you don’t want to spoil the romantic mood! Their best-known dish is the slightly wordy ‘gnocchi gratinati ai formaggi morbidi al profumo di tartufo’ – simply, a rich and filling baked cheese dish drizzled in truffle oil, based on traditional ‘gnocchi’ (tiny potato dumplings). The servings are huge and I guarantee you’ll leave full, content, and probably tipsy due to the host’s habit of serving free limoncello shots as an after-dinner digestif.
WE LOVE: The ‘porzione ridotta’ option, which allows you to have a smaller version of their generously-portioned dishes for half the price.
Takeaway @ GUSTA Pizza, Via Maggio, 46/r
This pizzeria was created to satisfy the most urgent of late-night cravings, and it knows exactly what it’s doing. A menu limited to seven pizzas allows these professionals to rapidly turn out the best (and freshest) pizzas in the city from their traditional brick ovens, and the indoor tables are normally packed all night. However, for the ideal summer evening picnic dinner, turn up with your own beer and order a pizza to take away. You’ll receive a little ticket with a number and the wait may be around 20 minutes, but relax and enjoy a drink on the nearby church steps with the Italian student crowd as your reward will be worth the wait! The Calzone Napoletano is packed with creamy mozzarella, peppery salami and ricotta, and is large enough to be a meal in itself!
WE LOVE: The friendly banter of the bustling pizzeria’s owner, who has some interesting English catchphrases!
Written by: Isobelle Ford
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