For me, one of the joys of traveling is trying the food that each place has to offer. So I wanted to start a Things I Ate series to document the food I ate on my travels. Today I present the things I ate in Florence, Italy!
My Favourite Gelato: Gelateria Santa Trinita
One of the first things I asked my Airbnb host (Paolo of Florence Holiday Homes) was where his favourite gelato place was, and he was adamant that I would not find anything better than the gelato at Gelateria Santa Trinita. I'm happy to report that he was right! The gelato I had there ended up being my favourite. And by favourite, I mean out of all the gelato that I ate in Italy!
I had the pistachio and lemon, and they were both amazing. The pistachio was the most pistachio-y (if that is a word) of all the pistachio gelato I've ever had, so if you are a fan of pistachio gelato, definitely give it a try!
Yes, the gelato here may be pricier than some other places, but the flavours were so rich, and the portions were quite big!
Gelateria Santa Trinita located at Piazza Frescobaldi, 11-12/r (at the end of Ponte Santa Trinita)
My Favourite Pasta: Eataly Firenze
If you're looking for a local, hole-in-the-wall type place to eat, this is definitely not it. There are a number of Eataly locations, both within Italy and worldwide. Eataly is sort of like an upscale Italian supermarket, but there is a restaurant located in it as well. We ended up going here because we were tired from climbing the 877 steps that day, plus it was raining pretty hard, so we just picked somewhere that wasn't too far from our Airbnb. Because it is a chain restaurant, I honestly wasn't expecting much but it turned out to be the best pasta I had!
I ordered a paccheri pasta with tomato sauce and stracciatella cheese, and it was amazing. The pasta was cooked to a perfect al dente, and (forgive me but) I'm not a big fan of cheese, and I had never tried stracciatella cheese before, but I ended up loving it. Stracciatella is so creamy, and it sort of reminded me of yogurt. It went so well with the tomato sauce!
Eataly Firenze located at Via de' Martelli, 22 R
Florentine Steak: Trattoria Sergio Gozzi
Florentine steak is a very specific cut of meat that is prepared and cooked in a very specific way. I'm not going to pretend that I know all the details, so read it straight from a pro here! The history of the Florentine steak is that back in the day, when the Medici Family (a very wealthy and influential family in Florence, and Europe in general in the 14th - 18th centuries) were in power, the Florentine people would celebrate the Feast Day of San Lorenzo (August 10th) by roasting a lot of beef at Piazza San Lorenzo. So it's kind of cool that Trattoria Sergio Gozzi is also located at Piazza San Lorenzo!
We found this 100 year old trattoria (opened in 1915) while looking for affordable florentine steak that we could have at lunch. We were told to get here early and expect lines, so we did, but we ended up being the only ones waiting before they were open since we went during low tourist season. The friendly chef ended up coming out to tell us they weren't open for another 15 minutes, but we were okay with that! The restaurant did fill up with both locals and tourists soon after it opened.
We ordered the florentine t-bone steak (bistecca alla fiorentina, 40 euros per kg). 1 kg was enough for 3 of us to share. It was quite large, extremely flavourful, and cooked to perfection! I can't call this my favourite because I only had one florentine steak on my trip, but it was really very good! There is pasta on the menu too (although we didn't order any because we knew we would be too full for that), although the menu does change daily except for the steak (which remains on the menu).
Trattoria Sergio Gozzi located at Piazza di San Lorenzo, 8R. Open for lunch only!
Best Bang for Your Buck: Osteria dei Centopoveri
Osteria dei Centopoveri was another recommendation from our Airbnb host for a good place to go for those on a tighter budget. It was very affordable. We went with the lunch menu and for 10 euros, we got two courses, wine, and water! I found the food decent, it didn't really blow my mind. I wonder if the non-special lunch menu items would have been better? Either way they definitely did not skimp on portions or ingredients. We left the restaurant hugging our stomachs, ready to go into a food coma!
The restaurant is very popular with locals so there were quickly many people waiting for our table, and we were politely asked by the staff if we could leave soon after we finished our meal. So don't expect to be able to sit and have a good chat with your friends after your meal! But if you are looking for a lot of food for cheap, definitely pay Osteria dei Centopoveri a visit for lunch!
Osteria dei Centopoveri located at Via Del Palazzuolo 31R
Cafe to Stay Away From: Caffe Maioli
We were caught in a rain shower while we were on Ponte Vecchio so we decided to stop at Caffe Maioli for some dessert, coffee, and shelter. I found the waiter to be quite pushy, pushing us to pick somewhere to sit even before we entered the cafe. Once inside, before we ordered, we checked the drink menu by the standing coffee bar area, and the prices looked alright so we decided to go ahead and order. We ordered cappuccinos, cannolis, and a tiramisu. I thought the tiramisu was quite good, but not good enough for the price that we ended up paying for it! The bill came to around 40 euros for 3 cappuccinos and desserts. We paid it reluctantly, thinking maybe we had misunderstood the prices.
After heading back to the Airbnb that night, I did some research and learned about the "sitting fees" at the cafes in Italy, where they charge you more if you choose to sit at a table and have your coffee (we never made the mistake of doing that again!!). I thought that maybe the high cost was due to the sitting fee, although we didn't recall seeing that written anywhere at the cafe. But after googling the cafe, it seems like we weren't the only ones who were ripped off by them. Their reviews on Trip Advisor are pretty abysmal, with people saying that they saw different people being charged differently, even though they ordered the same thing. So my advice to you is to stay away!
Caffe Maioli located at Via de' Bardi, 73 (at the end of Ponte Vecchio)
Did you have some great meals in Florence? Which were your favourites?
This post is linked up on: The Weekly Postcard