Updated: May 27, 2018
Dinning in Italy??? There are so many great places to eat. Read along for some bomb dot com places that will satisfy your palate. From pizza to gelato and everything in between, the Florentine dinning experience, if done right, will make a lasting impression on your taste buds.
Ahhh the beauty of downtown Firenze (Fearinzay). Nothing like the center of town where the Duomo peeps over the entire city. Did you know there is a permit which doesn't allow anymore modern buildings in town to be built higher? Yep. The Italians have a real sense status quo.
Looking for a place to eat near the Duomo is the easy part. Choosing a place to eat is exciting but hopefully this will help you narrow the challenge. So much to choose from. Donnini's is voted a Travel Hogzs. The extremely welcoming and friendly Fabio, awaits visitors and charms them into coming inside to try their delicious selections. Donnini's is surrounded by amazing architecture; the perfect eye candy people watching spot. Going to eat with your dog? No problem. Most places allow dogs inside. The Donnini's owner fell in love with two Travel dogz who visited often!
Ordering your meal in Italian is quite fun if you've tried any lessons. Italians appreciate a good try. The steak combo is to die for. It includes a glass of Chianti, a bottle of water, 2 bruschetta, a small salad, rosemary potatoes, a huge, juicy, tender, mouth watering steak all for the whopping price of 35 Euro! Yep. In the states, at a nice place like this, it would easily be $85 and if you are from Orange County it's at least $100! The spinaci is excellent and so is the pizza! You already know. You can, however, get good pizza just about anywhere in Florence, but Donnini's makes an awesome Margherita.
Eye Candy While You Dine - Head to the Westin Hotel rooftop overlooking the Arno River. No food is served until 7pm, but you can drink yourself silly until then...why not? They also serve great coffee in a beautiful martini glass. Fancy! So, if you’re looking to have an amazing view while drinking a cup of coffee or a cocktail go to the Westin Hotel rooftop.
PIZZA -Yes, we all know that Italians love their pizza. Not a myth. Just like the French love the baguette, Italians love pizza. It's hard to find bad pizza in Florence. There are authentic pizza places wall to wall in this small town. However, some places may have a specific time they serve it (Osteria Vecchio Vicolo has amazing pizza but after 6:30pm). This place screams cute along with great pizza and wine. It has a patio like setting but it's inside with a well in one of the seating areas. A couple of other delicious places to try are in the downtown area which are Industria Firenze, a charming delight near the river (vegetarian pizza gets Travel Hogz two thumbs up, and they have vegan pizza as well), Manigia Pizza, and Pizza Man All of which have great pizza and extremely friendly people. They take credit cards as well and for about 7.50 - 8.50 euros, you will be completely satisfied. If you want to spend less, head towards the inner city where pizza is just as good but for a couple of slices and a drink 4 - 6 euros. Contact the Travel Hogz for more great pizza & food choices with the locals and cheaper prices.
So your wondering if Italians love their gelato. YES THEY DO! Where there is a pizza place, there is a gelateria not far from it and sometimes in the same location. Trying different places is fun and some are as little as 2.50 euros for a small cone. There is one place downtown where you SHOULDN'T GO! 10 Euro for one baby scoop that resembles a sample of the coveted treat!
The gelateria that is reasonable and voted with two Travel Hogz thumbs up is the best so far is Bar Il Granduca!!! Trip Advisor gave it three stars. The experience was quite the opposite. Friendly staff, great gelato and it is always packed.They recently raised their prices from 2.50 euros to 4.00 for a small. It could be due to the high season is starting. Who cares, they have really good gelato. Vivoli Gelato is another one in the heart of downtown. This one by far isn't touristy. It's a bit of a hunt. When you order, you pick what you want, then pay ( even some authentic restaurants are like this) then go back to the gelato counter to give the person your ticket and pick your flavor. A bit confusing so the Hogz avoid this system whenever they can. After being in Florence for 3 months, of course you become a gelato pro. The hog stumbled upon 2 more of the best tasting and better price value gelaterias. La Carraria, next to the Arno river opposite downtown Florence is a feastie find. The gelato line is always long but moves very quickly. They have cones as low as 1 euro. Towards the end of their 3 month sabbatical, there was a great gelato place not very far from Bar Il Granduca called Amorino. You'll fall in love with the atmosphere of this hip euro urban Gelateria. There are no artificial ingredients and to top off tasting great, they make your gelato into the shape of a flower and top it with a gelato filled macaron....flavor of choice.
Breakfast in Italy - If you are set on having breakfast in Italy and have a mouth watering taste for pancakes sausage, eggs bacon, waffles...forget it. It's hard to find unless you are at a spendy Hotel and even then you, you might not be in luck. You really aren't in luck if you are staying where the locals are. Then what is breakfast? Breakfast is usually a small espresso and a pastaccharia (pastry) or a small sandwich. Touristy areas charge a bit more for coffee and a pastry while the local areas are almost half the price and even more delicous. Italians enjoy a quick cup and "breakfast" while standing at the bar, paying and leaving within five minutes. If you want to sit, you may be charged a cover charge (coperto) per person between 1.50-5.00 euros. It depends on the establishment.
Coffee in Florence - The coffee is great in Florence and Italy in general! Odering coffee is quite different from your averange Starbuck's or Coffee Bea in the United States. A latté is your typical steamed milk and coffee, but called a caffé latte. There are no carmel, mint, white chocolate, hazel nut, vanilla flavors.Just Coffee. Although, there is a place in the center of town next to Santa Maria del Fiore called "American Coffee" that makes all of these goodies. Italians call their coffee drinks something slightly different than we Americans. A capuccino is a double espresso with steamed milk foam on the top. A macchiato is called a café macchiato which is a very very small espresso with a small amount of foamed milk on top. A latte macchiato is a tall glass of distinctive layers between the foam, espresso and the milk.