***PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING TRAVESTY: U+B has closed- they didn’t even leave a note! Apparently, they are moving to a new, bigger location near Piazza San Marco. Stay tuned!***
It is not impossible to find good food in the center of Florence, in fact that is where some of the best food in the region can be found. However, it is very hard to find it. You need to know where to go. You need to know locals. Or follow bloggers who live there. Or follow the local Yelp chapter. But throw tripadvisor out of the window. And chuck out sheer luck unless you have a curious nose like mine, constantly sniffing out the good s***. It is so unbelievably easy to get ripped off in the center of Florence. But alas, I have a tip for my dear curious readers: Uscio e Bottega located just a stone’s throw away from the utterly famous duomo.
Tucked in one of my favorite little streets of Florence (Via Santa Elisabetta where there is a chocolate shop AND a shoe boutique. Swoon!) as I said near the Duomo, lies a little gourmet hole-in-the-wall with not only style but gusto. Wines by the glass by little tiny producers that the owners know personally and even some small batch craft fermented bubbly. Slurp. Delicious, soft schiacciata (Tuscan flatbread) that has the perfect balance of moisture and olive oil specked with grains of sea salt on top. They source their bread from Pugi, probably the most beloved bakery for Tuscan breads and sweets of almost every Florentine I’ve ever met.
Delicately selected cured meats from small producers that make a soft, melt in your mouth mortadella from Prato that you’ll probably never taste again in your life or look at the same. Cheese from local sheep’s milk and true cheesemongers. Thoughtful condiments that need to be enjoyed on their own like housemade pickled onions, tiny squares of ricotta and onion tart, olives soaked in olive oil and not overly salty vinegar brine and even making stracciatella cheese a condiment. Stracciatella is one of my favorite cheeses on earth and it’s like the strands of burrata cheese and if you don’t know what burrata is then please don’t tell me because I’m in love and I think burrata should be a food group. Ooooooh that’s an idea for a next post: the food pyramid according to The Curious Appetite…
My definition of a lush is someone who sees wine at a party, has a glass, sees a cheese platter and thinks “now this wine would be so much better with a piece of cheese” and then when cheese and wine are in hand, they spot someone quite dapper and thinks that spotted cutie would go even better with said cheese and wine. And that my readers, is appreciating life. The only thing Uscio e Bottega is missing in order to be a proper lush establishment is a fine selection of eyecandy. Otherwise, the fancy cheeses and pleasing wines will suffice for 72% of your lush tendencies.
If you are in the center of Florence, looking for a decadent (lushy) lunch I highly recommend Uscio e Bottega. Or even just a pre-dinner a nibble with a glass of wine. There are little chairs outside that you can perch yourself on to enjoy the brisk, mild weather that we in Italy are blessed with 9 months out of the year. Not to mention the dainty street and piazza you are immersed in, away from the droves of tourist mauls but still a stone’s throw away from one of the most famous historical city centers in the world. They even have dessert covered with Cantucci biscotti (also from Pugi) and sweet dessert wine to dip them in. Since every food in Italy must be paired with wine. Or someone gorgeous. 😉
In your lush trust,
The Curious Appetite
Uscio & Bottega- Vini e Spuntini
Via Santa Elisabetta, 7/Rosso – 50122 Firenze
Tel. 055 2670452 Mon-Sat 10:30am-8:30pm
Coming to Florence? Contact me if you’d like travel (and moreover eating) advice.