Friday, April 22, 2011

Quick Bites in Florence

This is going to be a quick photo essay for the most part. If you want something to tide you over in Florence there are a great variety of places that will accommodate and many will be in the main tourist areas.

Piccadilly Pizzeria has been in business since I was just out of college and I spent quite a few lira there. If you’re not so hungry or on a budget, this is a great place for pizza by the slice. You can’t miss it on the right side of the main street between the Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio, about a block or so before the bridge. But if you’re heading to the Ponte Vecchio, you may prefer a panini at the next place.

Amici Di Ponte Vecchio was a newer discovery for me in 2009. A full review can be seen in RestoReco on the sidebar of this blog. It’s a few doors to the left of the bridge, on the street parallel to the Arno. You can select any cold cut from the counter and have a sandwich made on the spot, or you can look at the counter to see what’s available as an individual pizza. Don’t worry, those are samples; they make your pizza to order.

Gilli is the grandest of the cafes in Florence and their pastries are just the best. You can go in a grab a coffee and pastry for a quick pick up at the bar. Look at those biscotti and panforte; they taste as good as they look. Gilli is on the corner to the right as you move into Piazza Della Repubblica on that street connecting the Duomo to the Ponte Vecchio. If you’re wondering why I just don’t name the street, it’s because it has three separate names within a very short distance.

If anyone in your group is whining for hot chocolate with whipped cream, Rivoire is the place to go. I was introduced to this glorious elixir, in these elegant surroundings by Rossela Ristori, the woman who rented us her apartment on our last trip. Riviore is on the Piazza Signoria just east of the street we have been traveling and 4-5 blocks south of Piazza Della Repubblica. Rossella also brought me to our next stop.

Gelateria Dei Neri is on Via di Neri which borders the south side of Piazza Signoria; walk between the Palazzo Vecchio and the Uffizi Gallery and you will be on your way. Gelateria Dei Neri is a block or two away on your left. This place has the most inventive flavors of gelati in Florence. The Mexican Chocolate with Pistachio and Chile makes my heart flutter with excitement. They also make soy based and yogurt gelati.

If you’ve finally crossed the Ponte Vecchio then you must turn right on Borgo San Jacopo, walk the length of it until you can make a right turn toward the Ponte Santa Trinita. As you walk toward the bridge, Gelateria Santa Trinita will be on the left corner. This place is a goldmine for anyone who likes to cook as well as to eat because they have a gourmet store on the premises. But first things first, if you want a gelato, try the fruit flavors or the gelato made with Mascarpone cheese. If you have never tasted the cheese, it is almost like unsalted butter in richness, but lower in calories. Give it a try and report back. I can’t wait to order it again.

Okay, you don’t eat dessert or fast food. Walk back up Borgo San Jacopo and make a reservation at Osteria del Cinghiale Bianco, the White Boar and save your appetite for an early dinner. It’s very popular, but we have had no trouble getting a table when they first open. Order the Strozzapretti, a ricotta spinach dumpling drizzled in butter and Parmigiano. See full review on RestoReco located on the sidebar of this blog at the top.

As long as you’re now familiar with Borgo San Jacopo, you may wish to stop by Mamma Gina’s for a bowl of Pappa Al Pomodoro the famous Tuscan soup made of bread and tomato. Or make a reservation for dinner. Full review on RestoReco.

This Saturday market held at the park near the Ponte Della Vittoria is a great place for a light bite, providing you’re in the area which is doubtful, since it’s further out than most tourists would venture. There’s plenty of take-away foods at the markets and I purchased a delicious porchetta sandwich there. The signs show fried polenta, sausage, lampredotto, or boiled tongue panini, hot dogs, and calzone.


The Mercado Centrale and Mercado Sant’ Ambrogio, open daily except Sundays, also sell food to go or have small stands where you can stand at the counter to eat or sit down. Trattoria da Rocco at Mercado Sant’ Ambrogio pictured above has a solid reputation for good Tuscan food at local prices. That translates to cheap, since this is not in a tourist area and caters to locals, but it’s within an easy walking distance from Piazza Santa Croce. Their produce is quite good and the fruit would also make a good quick bite.

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Almost finished with gelaterie, but not quite yet. La Bottega del Gelato is also on the main drag, to the right as you head toward the Ponte Vecchio. They have a gimmick that works quite well; they sell ice cream bars and display them prominently in the front window. I have yet to try one, but it won’t be long since it’s only a matter of weeks before my next visit to Florence.


Gelateria Vittoria is a short distance away on the left side of the street, as you get within a block or two of the Ponte Vecchio. I will give my personal testimonial for the fruit flavored gelati, especially the Melone that you see on the left of the photo.

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