I know it’s been a while since I announced the new (and amazing) “What Giorgio Says” series- but Giorgio has been busy being awesome (like making art in Southern Italy) and I’ve been busy traveling around Istanbul and Rome foie gras’ing myself (eating way too much) as usual. We got to talking finally and he wanted to give some tourists advice about eating well in Florence and how to spot crap restaurants. He only agreed to give me 5 tips, I asked for 10, so he compromised and gave me a 6th.

If you’re a tourist in Florence…how can you eat well- and not get ripped off? Here is what Giorgio says…


1. “Don’t go where there are photos of the food.” True. So true.

2. “Don’t accept menus in English. Pretend like you’re Italian and talk with your hands! They’ll bring the best food.” Haha! This one made me chuckle. A lot.

3. “If you see fixed menus for dinner (first, second and dessert for 15eu)- it’s a rip-off. They are usually crap- don’t ever order a fixed menu’ dinner.I have to disagree- sometimes these can be fun! For an Italian with a critical palate, okay these are not the prime pickings but for a budget traveler some places like Trattoria Giorgio can be an O.K. place to take a fixed dinner menu in a fun atmosphere.

4. “When you’re at a restaurant, a dead give away for product quality is in the olive oil. Smell the olive oil that is set on the table. If it smells off or rancid- run! That means they are using nasty ingredients in the kitchen.” Giorgio almost didn’t let me use this tip because he says Americans wouldn’t be able to smell when an olive oil is bad. I disagreed with him- I’d like to think my readers have a sense or two about food/product quality.

5. “There has to be at least one old guy working in the restaurant. Minimum age: 65 years old. It doesn’t matter if he’s a waiter, a cook or a dishwasher. There just needs to be one old guy. Un vecchiotto!” This cracked me up- it is so true! For credibility, there needs to be an older member from the family in Italian restaurants. But what about the women, eh? And! What about the modern, chic restaurants? Giorgio says they’re usually overpriced and underwhelming. This guy is tough!

The 6th recommendation? Where to Eat in Florence…where you won’t get ripped off!

He says his go to (which also happens to be mine as well) for simple, family style Tuscan eating with no frills, bells and whistles is Sabatino’s just outside the arch door of San Frediano. 

In your proletarian pleasures,

The Curious Appetite

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6 Comments on What Giorgio Says…What Tourists Should Know about Eating in Florence

  1. GirlinFlorence
    April 28, 2015 at 8:07 am (9 years ago)

    I love Giorgio already, I love Sabatino and he makes some great points. Ps. Love the photo of ToTo!

  2. bonniegm
    April 28, 2015 at 12:13 pm (9 years ago)

    Excellent points! I would add to please learn at least the basic food words in Italian before you go and do some research on what are local specialties-trippa fiorintina for example. Bring a “cheat sheet” if necessary. I still carry one with me. At the end of a wonderful 5 week visit we were at a restaurant in Fiumicino. Although we entered with me speaking Italian we were given menus in English. My husband and I perused them and nothing looked appetizing. We chalked it up to “palate overload” but I decided to ask for Italian menus. Whoa, all of a sudden we were both hungry! I had not even noticed the calamari fritto on the English menu! This was such an eye opener for us. My husband does not speak Italian but he knows the food words!!

    • Curious Appetite
      April 29, 2015 at 2:17 am (9 years ago)

      Hi Bonnie! That is a great tip- and I agree! These restaurants need better translations! Thanks for visiting my blog:)


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