A lovely little fast food joint off the main street leading to the duomo. We were there for lunch and had the specials that were just being made.. very very tasty meal overall. R is still talking about how he passed up on the gelato there.
|Roasted Vegetable Crepe|
|Mixed Vegetable salad with greens, cukes, olives, fresh corn and feta and a oregano olive oil dressing.|
Cappuccino at a bar near our hotel:
We had dinner here our first evening in Florence. It was recommended to us by our hotel front desk friend. The menu was very extensive with a large range of vegetarian options. It was a bit touristy because most of the diners were non-Italians. However it was also recommended by the Chowhound forumites. It didn't disappoint. I would certainly go there again. The fettuccine pesto was amazing as was the pizza.. the grilled flavour of the vegetables totally came through.
A hip and happening joint in Piazza del Republicca, that was housed in a tent in the side of the Piazza!! We were drawn to the lively music and energy ... we stopped for Tiramisu!!!!
Awesome joint for lunch. Located near the San Lorenzo street market. Service was a bit slow but the food was excellent. Despite it being called a Pizzeria, R's Penne arabiatta (no picture, sorry) was one of the best pasta dishes of his trip. I had the potato gnocchi with eggplant, tomatoes and zucchini. Their house wine was good too.
Osteria Cipollo Rossa
This place was highly recommended on Chowhound and Fodors forums. We didn't make a reservation so I was a bit worried they wouldn't be able to seat us but it's a large enough place and being the low-tourist season, it wasn't very very crowded. Italians eat their dinner around 8-8:30pm so if you get in before 8pm typically we had a chance to get seated right away.
For appetizer, we ordered the bruschetta with navy beans which was OK. I didn't think it was flavoured a whole lot so it was a bit disappointing. The herb pesto fettuccine with spicy peppers and toasted almonds that Rajesh ordered was simply excellent. I'm pretty sure the herb pesto had mint. No other words to describe it except that we will probably order the exact same thing if we were to go there again. My ricotta ravioli with carriage driver sauce (tomatoes mostly) was on the salty side. The dessert, panna cotta, was out of this world. I highly recommend this place.
Trattoria San Lorenzo
During our walks in the area, we had come across this place a couple times and it seemed quite busy and hopping. A quick search for reviews revealed that it was infact a good place for dinner with quite a few options. The service was fantastic. We had an awesome waiter that was quite entertaining and kept up with Rajesh's remarks/humor. The food was very good. The Tuscan bread soup (ribbollita) was very different but simply delicious. Just for kicks, we ordered a side of roasted potatoes with rosemary. AMAZING!! And the Tiramisu was really really good.
|Spaghetti with cherry tomatoes and parmesan|
|Tuscan Bread soup- ribbolita- made with black cabbage.|
Some interesting tidbits about Italian dining....
- Italians do not fuss with plating and presentation. This was a common theme throughout all the places we dined at. The food was amazing.. plating was very very simple. No garnishes or random leaves of parsely or carved out cucumbers on the side.
- Maybe because of the fact we went in November, there was not much use of fresh basil. That was disappointing.
- The food and the courses came out pretty quick.
- The waiter brings you your food and then pretty much leaves you alone until you actually call him or her and ask for something. They don't keep checking up on you. You got a big bottle of water at the very beginning which leads me to my next point...
- You pay for your acqua. i.e water. Whether you want regular (naturale) or fizz (fizzante) , it's not free. You also pay for the bread they give you at the very beginning. And not all times they ask you if you want bread. I think it's assumed that you do.
- In the evenings, most restaurants have a "cover charge". Typically this is around 1.50-2 Euros a person. However there is no tax charged on food.
- Italians love their parmesan. The rule of thumb is grate till your hand hurts. I'm not exaggerating.