Florence, Italy is well-known for its artisanal goods and grandiose pieces of art by Michelangelo, Bottecelli, and Raffaello (just to name a few). But did you know this city is also known for its cuisine?
I, along with my friend Shraddha had the chance to visit the city a couple of weekends ago and we ate at a few restaurants definitely worth writing about. Our goal was to eat in places a little less touristy, not near the Ponte Vecchio or the main museums, where food is usually over priced and not well made.
I took the train from Rome, while she came by plane from Edinburgh and we planned it perfectly to arrive in time for lunch. After leaving our bags at the hostel we checked out the first restaurant on the list, Trattoria Nerone Pizzeria. We definitely weren’t disappointed, the inside was warm and cozy with antique decor and a nice homey- atmosphere.
I decided on the ribollita, which is a traditional tuscan soup made with “left overs” of stale bread and vegetables. It once was a poor mans dish, but today it is very common to see it on menus and is generally eaten when the weather is a bit chilly, it is a stick to your bones meal.
For dinner that night we ended up going to a restaurant (Enzo e Piero) very close to where we ate lunch and I had lasagna verde or green lasagna. This was not a vegetarian dish, it’s name comes from the added ingredient of spinach in the pasta, which turns it a faint green color. Like the ribollita from lunch it was a perfect portion size, leaving me nice and satisfied after an afternoon of sightseeing.
For lunch the next day after we toured around the Uffizi Museum we decided to try Vincanto Ristorante, which is in Piazza Santa Maria Novella. Because the sun was shining brightly we ate outside facing the piazza and watching the people pass by. It was here that we learned about gnudi a traditional Florentine dish that I had never heard of before. They are made with potatoes, cheese and spinach and are in the shape of little balls, with a cream sauce to go along with it. Though 4 doesn’t look like much they are very filling, so your stomach will be satisfied by the end of the meal. I have to say they were good and I over heard one person at the next table say “they are like hugs in my mouth.” Definitely worth trying when visiting Florence.
If there was more time to be had in Florence more dishes would have been tasted, but I guess I will just have to wait until next time.
(Some advice: when going out to dinner it is best to make reservations, these restaurants tend to fill up quickly)