Many visitors to Florence seem to be on a quest, trying to squeeze in as much culture as they can in a few short days. Don’t overlook the culinary component of travel. Take a deep breath and spend some real time in this glorious city if you can, and take time out for some superb dining while you’re here.
A quick 10- minute walk from our apartment near the Duomo over the Ponte Santa Trinita brought us to Il Santo Bevitore’s welcoming doors. It seemed like everyone inside ilsantobevitore.com was having a great time. We did, too, and put it at the top of our list of Florentine favorites.
Il Santo Bevitore on the Altro Arno is one of our absolute Florentine favorites.
The comfortable dining rooms (there is a large one, pictured above, and a smaller one just beyond it) are lively and full of happy diners enjoying the excellent cuisine. The atmosphere is casual and warm with just the right amount of buzz.
You can request an English menu or practice your language skills with the Italian one.
The food is absolutely delicious and the service is attentive and friendly. Some stand outs were the porcini risotto, the pigeon, rombo, and the veal.
This simple pear and pecorino salad was a perfect starter.
We always say, “si” to a sformatino– a light, savory custard just right as a first course..
Il Santo Bevitore’s veal was perfectly prepared.
You can’t go wrong with the pastas, meat or fish—whatever you choose is going to be good. Save room for dessert though. The chestnut torte and yogurt mousse were both terrific.
The succulent pigeon is a game bird lover’s delight.
Fresh fish (rombo in this case), lardons, and potatoes were elegantly plated and beautifully prepared.
Save room for dessert. This yogurt mousse was spectacular.
We would’ve eaten at Il Santo Bevitore every night, but felt the need to explore some of Florence’s other delightful dining options. Remember, reservations here are a must. Il Santo Bevitore is open for lunch and dinner.
Try Cucina Torcicoda cucinatorcicoda.com for lunch or dinner. They have a restaurant, a casual trattoria, and a pizzeria– all in the same building. When you book in, and you must reserve, let them know which you prefer. They’ll be very different dining experiences but all delicious.
Torcicoda’s elegant and tranquil dining room.
Torcicoda’s wine list features fine selections from all over Italy.
We had an excellent dinner in the restaurant. The food was superb and the service attentive.
This exquisite pork dish was rich and flavorful. The chestnuts gave it a great contrasting texture and crunch.
Memories of this sensational truffle- topped tenderloin make my mouth water.
The casual trattoria has a different menu from the restaurant’s and it looked good, though we didn’t have time to try it.
We’ll try the casual trattoria next time.
We ate lunch at Torcicoda’s pizzeria and sampled four different pies. We were especially pleased with the ones topped with fresh buffala mozzarella cheese– gooey and delicious but with a crisp, thin crust–just the way we like our pizza.
The pizzeria was packed day and night, so be sure to reserve.
Fresh buffala mozzarella, available on a number of Torcicoda’s pies, upped the yum factor.
Pizza bianca with sausage and broccoli rabe was another hit.
The pizzeria also has a good-sized outdoor dining area which is open rain or shine. It’s fun to watch the parade of tourists passing by on their way to the beautiful Santa Croce across the piazza, as you enjoy your meal.
We walked past Konnubio www.konnubio.it one afternoon at lunchtime and it looked so inviting we decided to go back for dinner. It was a good choice. The restaurant is casual and lively but the noise level is not over the top.
Diners were just beginning to arrive when we took this photo. Every table was taken in both dining rooms when we left.
The food was beautifully plated and everything we tried was delicious.
Seared tuna with fresh asparagus was pleasing to the palate and the eye.
Tender lamb with caper berries was outstanding.
Konnubio has an extensive wine list and knowledgeable, helpful waitstaff.
You should reserve a table as we saw only one walk in party seated, while others were turned away. See if you can sit in the main dining room at one of the tables with the big comfy chairs instead of the side dining room, if you can.
Cantinetta Antinori is owned and operated by the Antinori wine family cantinetta-antinori.com. The restaurant is located in the beautiful Antinori family palazzo right in the center of Florence. We’ve had many delicious lunches here as well as a very good dinner.
Enjoy fresh baked bread and Tuscan olive oil from Antinori’s estate while you peruse the extensive wine list.
Thinly sliced artichokes with parmesan cheese was a winner.
The food is typical Florentine cuisine and oriented to the seasons.
Crispy potatoes topped with filet of white fish, sundried tomatoes, and capers was full of flavor and texture.
The hearty stewed beef on a bed of polenta is typical Florentine fare.
They have an extensive wine by the glass (or half glass) program so you can sample many of Antinori’s broad line at reasonable prices. It’s fun to try wines you may not see at home.
Cantinetta Antinori is very popular with local business people especially at lunch, so book a table.
We had a good lunch at Trattoria 13 Gobbi Via Porcellana 9/r www.casatrattoria.com tel 055 284015. We discovered this cute little place tucked away on a small side street on one of our meandering walks through this beautiful city.
The dining room is charming and features plenty of vintage posters, advertisements and more to catch your eye.
The flavorful vegetable soup was presented in this lovely copper pot.
We plan to give dinner a try there next time.
Trattoria Cibreo is another one of our lunchtime favorites. We go to the trattoria at Via di Macci 122R, instead of Signore Picchi’s very popular but pricier restaurant, Ristorante Cibreo. The food is terrific and the menu seasonal. Be aware that they don’t serve pasta and they take no reservations at the trattoria. They open for lunch at 12:45 pm and you need to be there early to get a table. People will be lined up and waiting for the doors to open. The trattoria is closed Sundays and Mondays. There’s a tripe truck parked nearby that the always has a line. Snack while you wait?
While not to my taste, this tripe truck does a great business.
Here are a few other Florentine restaurants we’ve enjoyed over the years: Omero is a wonderful classic Florentine restaurant way up above the town with great views. The food is delicious, the service is attentive and this well-known eatery is extremely popular. Be sure to book in for lunch or dinner. ristoranteomero.it
Il Latini is the place for multi- course and enormous meals. There wasn’t a menu when we went for lunch–they just kept bringing food to the table. It was all good and there was plenty, served family style. The key word here is “basta”! Enough! Tell them how many courses you want before they start bringing it—especially if you don’t want the meat courses. illatini.com
Del Fagioli means the beans, literally. This is a good, casual family place close to the Uffizi. The owner seemed to know at least half the patrons when we had dinner there some time ago. Corso Tintori 47r telephone for a reservation—they were turning people away. 055244285
There are so many wonderful restaurants, trattorias and pizzerias in Florence you’re bound to find some to fit your taste and budget. Please share your favorites with us @traveltawk. Buon appetito!