Curious Appetite

Trattorias in Florence

An alternative guide to the "best" restaurants in Florence

Do you really want to eat from a blatant tourist menu’?

“Stuffing feathers up your ass does not make you a chicken” is one of my favorite quotes from Fight Club. Just because a thousand people with unproven eno-gastronomic credibility reviewed an eatery on tripadvisor as the best pizza in Florence, does not make it the best pizzeria in Florence.

I’m not saying 3rd party sites like tripadvisor don’t have their place or worth- it just seems to have become gospel for some food hunting travelers. I find that the people worth trusting online 1st are bloggers who live, have lived and/or continue to spend time/visit that place (and stay in the good graces of the locals there) or those who actually know food either by writing about food, knowing cooks, having taken culinary tours or classes and who aren’t bad cooks themselves. Like pasta- how can someone really recommend the best pasta if they’ve never made it themselves or understand the standards behind al dente? Continue Reading

What Giulio Says…What Tourists Should Know about Eating in Florence

I know it’s been a while since I announced the new (and amazing) “What Giulio Says” series- but Giulio has been busy being awesome (like touring Southern Italy with his cool band) 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 Giulio says… Continue Reading

In search for the best ribollita in Florence

ribollita in Florence: Tuscan peasant bread, bean and garden vegetable soup

La Ribollita…this dish has been haunting me the last few months as I have been trying in every way to understand it. Before I get too wordy, let me explain what Ribollita is for those who may not know.

Ri-Bollita literally means -re-boiled. You may see it on an English menu’ boasting “re-boiled bread soup.” It is almost impossible to translate this dish while making it sound appetizing to the foreign masses. In Tuscan cuisine, which I harp on quite often, is based on peasant eating and not leaving any scrap behind. Tuscan bread is made without salt, for a slew of historical legends (feuds between port towns, high salt taxes, etc) and as a result it goes stale quicker than salted bread. In order to not toss out unused bread, it was then re-purposed to many iconic dishes we eat today such as Panzanella. Continue Reading

Perseus: Time travel and Steak in Florence

People ask a lot: Where can I get a good steak, stellar red meat and the famous “Bistecca Fiorentina” in Florence? Well, there are a few good places. But one that always comes to mind is…Perseus.

This place is a trip in itself. It feels like I went back to the 80’s even though I only knew what that was like in the womb or running around tormenting my older sister as a scary, awkward burger obsessed toddler. Did I just date myself? Yes, I did. A young foreign woman in Italy talking about food, at that.   Continue Reading

Trattoria Mario in San Lorenzo, Florence (Italy)

As much as I enjoy a fancy cave aged, herb crusted goats milk and a oily, aromatic glass of Sauvignon Blanc from the Dolomites, at the end of the day I simply adore a good rustic Tuscan greasy spoon hole-in-the-wall with house wine that could pass just as easily as oily gasoline…

This is what I ACTUALLY adore most about Florence. It’s the family run, health department renegades, the hole-in-the-wall where you sit elbow to elbow with strangers at your table, the Tuscan peasant food oasis that has absolutely ZERO pretension…Italian food is this to me.

Fancy name brand chef restaurant serving shot glasses of heirloom tomato coulis and vanilla pod risotto with some equally pretentious mystery “foam” that lacks not only soul but the ability to make you break a sweat when you’ve eaten a little too well. Put it away. I don’t want it. Unless a gorgeous Mediterranean man is insisting on taking me there (happens ALL the time! ugh- lay off, Fabios!), I will snub it just like it snubs me with its out of reach menu prices. Continue Reading

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