Florence, you quaint little village of a town. You’re adorable and manageable, yet brimming with history and culture. Best described as an outdoor museum, the streets are alive with replicas of some of the most famous European sculptures. Spend your morning at Accademia Gallery, climb the Duomo in the afternoon, stroll Ponte Vecchio bridge at sunset, take your snapshot of the best cityscape view from Piazzale Michealangelo, and then.. my loves, relax.
Unlike the other major tourist cities of Italy, Florence holds onto it’s charm quite well. Yet, just like all of the other cities, it’s a mecca for the world’s worst food. [insert your gasp of shock here]. You are in Italy, so you naturally have assumed every restaurant has a nonna in the back rolling your pasta while she hand feeds you prosciutto and mozzarella over aged chianti. Your fantasy couldn’t be more wrong. Unfortunately, I have had worse meals in Italy than i have had out of the frozen section at Trader Joe’s.
So here’s the truth… you need to do your research to eat well in Florence, but if you do, you just might have the best meals of your entire existence. Oh wait, did I say you need to do the research? I retract that. All YOU need to do is keep reading.
THE BEST SANDWICH IN THE WORLD
All’Antico. Let me be a bit more blunt: BEST THING I HAVE EVER EATEN. And I don’t even particularly like sandwiches. There will be a line. Wait in it and swoon while you watch gorgeous italian men (can’t guarantee the gorgeous part, food comas always alter my attractiveness radar) rush across the cobblestone road to bring piping hot just baked ciabatta bread and just sliced meats from their store across the street to the narrow closet of a sandwich shop that is All’Antico. What can I say about this place, really? Worth all the hype, and then some. Make sure to get the truffle cream sauce, it’s mind blowing. I ordered the prosciutto, truffle cream, sun dried tomato, zucchini spread, pecorino & olive oil.. and while I was so full that the last few bites actually hurt me to ingest, I was devastated when the experience was over. I’m going to have to retire in Florence now just so I can regularly consume heaven.
WORLD’S BEST GELATO
Carraia Ice Cream. This is the gelato you travel to Italy to find. I tried nearly every gelato place in every single city we visited on a 3 week jaunt through Italy, and nothing even came close to the creamy splendor that is Carrera. Get the nutella flavor and die of happiness.
If you can’t leave well enough alone and feel the need to ‘discover’ another amazing gelato place, I suppose I can provide you with a runner up. Carapina is amazing for any other place in the world… but in comparison to Carraia, it doesn’t really take the cone (just go with it). Bonus points for Carapina that they make these beg-to-be-photographed little fig crumble bowls.
L’Oseria Giovanni. You’ve got to get steak florentine (Bistecca fiorentin) in Florence. It’s a thing. And there’s really only one place to do it… at L’Oseria Giovanni. Make a reservation and limit yourself to only one carraia gelato before dinner so you have room to devour the entire 1 kilo rare steak you’re about to order. It’s all for the experience, so just enjoy it. Order a pasta dish to share and perhaps some bruchetta for an appetizer and relax in one of the highest rated restaurants in our dear Firenze.