Friday, February 17, 2017

Eating your way through Florence

After spending one semester in Florence, I have really become well-acquainted will all of the best eateries around this beautiful city. As it turns out, Florence isn't just an old historic city with lots of famous museums, churches, and monuments. It is also teeming with some pretty amazing food. After all, it is located in Italy, so you really can't have a bad eating experience :)

So, instead of keeping you wondering-I am going to provide you with some of my personal favorite food places, which will keep you occupied starting at breakfast, and all the way until post-dinner treats.

COLAZIONE (Breakfast)

In case you didn't know, the Italian breakfast is is not the huge bacon, eggs, and toast fest that we Americans are so used to. The typical morning meal for Italians consists of un cappuccino e un cornetto (a cappuccino and a small pastry). For them, this is the perfect amount of food to get you up and running in the morning, and small enough to save your appetite for the most important meal of the day-pranzo.

So, since the coffee and pastry pairing is pretty much the protocol for breakfast, it is hard to pick out specific cafes to try, being that they all sell very similar foods/drinks. However, there is one in particular which is worth visiting, because of the amazing cappuccino art that they incorporate in to their drinks! As if you thought that the architecture and artwork within Florence, wasn't impressive enough, you will be caught by surprise when you see just how much detail can be put into your coffee!

Pictured Above: Cappuccino from "News Cafe", in Florence

PRANZO (Lunch)

Lunchtime is a very big deal to Italians. Most lunches are not treated like they are in America-where people just grab something on the go and quickly eat in on their lunch break. Italians like to use their lunch time as a time to sit with their families and enjoy a delicious hearty meal, usually making their biggest meal of the day. Because of this, the majority of stores often close daily between the hours of 1 and 3:30 pm, so that store owners/employees can enjoy their lunches as well. 

As nice as it would have been to have a big lunch like this everyday, I was still an American studying in Florence, so I didn't have my family there to enjoy a big sit-down lunch like this, nor did my schedule always allow for the time. Lucky for us though, there are plenty of other delicious lunch spots, which are perfect for students on a budget, as well as anyone else for that matter! 

My all-time favorite meal for lunch while I was in Florence, was a panino. You just can't beat the satisfaction that the freshness of this food provides, as well as the endless amount of options that the city has. So, here are two of my favorite panini shops in Florence, which I am sure you will love too!:

Favorite Panini:

1. Sandwichic 

Sandwich on Schiacciata bread from "Sandwichic"!

I just cannot stop dreaming about the amazing sandwiches that I have had here, which ended up becoming a weekly routine. Everything about this shop is just so perfect: as you enter the tiny space, you will be happily greeted by a few really friendly employees, who will grow to become your friends once you start going on a routinely basis, as we did. The ambience makes you feel at home, as they have relaxing jazz music playing in the background as they prepare your sandwich for you, from scratch. There are soo many options to choose from here, and trust me: you cannot go wrong with anything on this menu! As if it doesn't get any better, if you are a student-you can get select sandwiches, along with a water bottle, for only 3.50 Euros!

2. All'Antico Vinaio 

 "La Dante Panino" from All'Antico Vinaio

You will know that you are in the right place, as soon as you see two very long lines of people waiting for their afternoon panino. There are actually two storefronts of the same business, right across the street from each other (and the lines are still always very long, which shows just how popular it is). This place makes some pretty great panini, all with very fresh ingredients, and a crunchy bread which you won't be able to get enough of :) Be prepared to know what you feel like having once you get to the front of the line, because you will have to be in and out of there within a minute or two. Since it is in such high demand and there aren't any places to sit, I do prefer the atmosphere of the panino shop listed above (Sandwichic), but the panini here are equally as yummy!

Best Pizza:

1. Gusta Pizza
Margherita Pizza from Gusta Pizza

This amazing pizzeria has become very well known to both Italians and Americans, alike. It is especially a top-destination for study abroad students, who appreciate great-quality pizza on a student-friendly budget. You can get a delicious pizza here, only ranging between 4.50 and 8 Euros! There aren't enough words to justify how amazing this pizza tastes. The crust is nice and crispy, but also doughy inside, providing the perfect consistency! Once you try it, I guarantee that the thought of this pizza won't be able to escape your mind. 

CENA (Dinner)

If you want to enjoy a nice dinner out, there really are endless amounts of options for you to choose from. I wish I was able to try them all myself, but I think my pants and my wallet wouldn't be able to forgive me by the end of my 4 months spent there. So, I will just provide you with a handful of restaurants that I really enjoyed, and I think you will too!

1. Zeb
 Fresh pasta with pesto sauce, from Zeb

This restaurant located on the Oltrarno, has a contemporary feel to it, while serving such authentic, homemade dishes, which will be sure to satisfy your taste buds. I really enjoyed coming here, because it just provided such a different dining experience, being that there are only bar seats, and no printed menu. So, the owner personally comes around to each of you, and reads off the specials of the day, which are constantly changing, according to the fresh ingredients available at that time. This is a sign of a really good restaurant, because you can pretty much guarantee that you are eating food prepared with fresh, quality ingredients. 
Delicious Ribollita from Zeb (My favorite meal ever)

If you have never had Ribollita before, I definitely recommend trying it here, if they offer it at the time that you are visiting Florence. This traditional Tuscan meal, is usually served during the cooler winter months, being that it is such a comforting and hot dish, perfect for that time of year. 

2. Trattoria Gobbi 13

 Trattoria Gobbi's famous Rigatoni dish with tomato sauce and buffalo mozzarella

Another fan-favorite among visitors, this restaurant has some very delicious and tasty options. A few of the most popular dishes include the Florentine Steak and the Rigatoni dish. I know that "Rigatoni dish" sounds very vague, but if you just utter the word "Rigatoni" to the waiter/waitress, they will know immediately what you are asking for, just because it really is that popular! I came here with a group of about 10 friends, and the waiter automatically assumed that there would be 10 dishes of Rigatoni ordered from our table. Their steak is also very well prepared here, and I highly recommend trying it, especially since it is another traditional food served in Florence.  

3. Osteria Santo Spirito

Delicious Zucchini Risotto from Osteria Santo Spirito

Also located on the  Oltrarno, this restaurant grew to become one of my favorites around Florence. This was one of my first meals that I had in Florence, and it also become one of my last, because I just had to make the memory of it last. One of their best dishes that I have had here, is the zucchini risotto (pictured above). I loved it so much, that I attempted to replicate it by preparing my own version at home. Being that risotto is so creamy and indulgent, the pairing of it with zucchini, is a really great, fresh-tasting ingredient, which makes you feel better about eating the whole dish yourself. Another amazing dish that you should try here is the truffle gnocchi, which really is heaven on a plate. It is another very filling meal, but the nice thing is that you can order half-size portions of most of their pasta dishes, enabling you to try a few other dishes that spark your interest :)

Dolci (Desserts)

Favorite Gelato Shops:

1. La Carraia 
 The very best gelato, from La Carraia

The picture just doesn't do this gelato much justice, so you are going to have to go to Florence to try the amazing-ness yourself! When you transition from eating ice cream in America, to eating gelato in Italy, you can really taste the huge difference-both in taste and in consistency. Don't get me wrong- I do love ice cream also, but you just cannot beat the smoothness and creaminess of gelato. The consistency and texture is also a lot lighter than our traditional ice cream is, so you don't feel all of the guilt and fullness that you likely feel after eating a whole ice cream cone. It is no wonder why eating gelato on a regular basis seems like such a normal occurrence for Italians.

The gelato at La Carraia is the perfect example of how I was describing gelato to be. I know I have said this about all of the food I have tasted in Florence, but the same holds true for gelato: as weird as it sounds, you can actually taste how fresh this gelato is and the fact that they make it homemade every single day. I definitely recommend the "Biscottini" flavor, which has pieces of crushed up cookies in a vanilla gelato. "Torta Della Nonna" is also very delicious, although they only served it during the warmer months for some reason. Another great thing about this place is that there are two locations in Florence, and you can get a small cone for only 1 Euro! Trust me, though, you are going to want more after trying it, so I recommend getting a slightly larger size. 

2. Edoardo 

Cinnamon & Watermelon Gelato from Edoardo

There is one major reason that you have to try this place: THE CONES! You will start smelling the homemade waffle cones as you approach the Duomo, and you will have no choice but to go in and try one. The cones are usually served warm, and have such a fresh and crispy consistency to them; I have really never tasted a better cone in my life! I could go on and on about it, but the truth is that their gelato is equally as delicious! They have a very unique and interesting assortment of flavors to try here, so you will never get bored of having the same flavors over and over. 

BEVE: Cocktail with a View 

1. Grand Hotel Cavour
 Peach Bellini from Grand Hotel Cavour

There are endless amounts of beautiful views in Florence, and to go along with that-an equally abundant amount of viewing points to take in your surroundings. There are a few hotels around the city, which have a rooftop that anyone can access, even if you are not a guest at the hotel. One that I have been to is Grand Hotel Cavour, which is located very close to the Duomo, so the view is definitely not disappointing.I recommend coming here to enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail of your choice, while appreciating the beautiful landscape in front of your eyes.


  1. You are KILLING me with all of these food pics! 😍 My boyfriend and I are planning a trip to Italy this summer and Florence is on the list!

    With love,

    1. Ah I am so happy to hear that! Please let me know if you end up trying any of these places when you visit; I would love to hear what you think!



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