Curious Appetite

Where to Eat in Florence

New farm-to-table openings in Florence’s Sant’Ambrogio district

Sant’Ambrogio to me is the city’s culinary landmark. It has the daily food market and some of the best restaurants in the city. Personally, this is where the heart of Florence’s food culture beats and where I learned the bulk of how to cook Tuscan food, gleaning secrets from fellow shoppers and my favored purveyors. In Sant’Ambrogio, you find the institutions boasting Florence’s gastronomic specialties like cafe & bakery Nencioni, the pop & son run street cart of Via de’ Macci who does lampredotto & tripe, a couple wine treasure chests like Sosta de’ Papi and Enoteca Sant’Ambrogio, Gilda’s vintage accoutered sweet & soulful Tuscan restaurant, Marco’s Semel and his signature panini and of course Fabio Picchi’s Cibreo empire.

One of the best parts about this quarter is being a bit off the beaten path, one can relish in a slice of Florence without the crushing crowds. This is why I choose my gourmet market tour to taste around here- to give visitors a chance to experience not only great food but genuine culture. Continue Reading

Where to Eat on the Cheap & Budget Dining in Florence, Italy

 

One of my least favorite questions to get from people, whether friends or strangers, are “can you recommend a restaurant Florence dove si mangia bene ma per poco. (where you eat well but paying little)” Even worse, is when someone asks “where is a good place for aperitivo in Florence that has loads of food and doesn’t cost a lot.” Or even better “where can I eat well, with a view, in the center, eat well and pay little.” I decided to respond to my least favorite question with a curated, quality round-up of cheap eats & budget restaurants in Florence.  Continue Reading

10 of the Best Restaurants in Florence for The Guardian

Curious Appetite is at it again- eating way too much for the sake of important journalism! Hey, it’s a hard job but someone has got to do it!

This was one of my favorite commissions yet, not to mention one of the proudest moments in my career. While I mostly rag on Florence’s dining scene, I definitely come to her defense when people say “A Firenze si mangia male” perche’ e’ troppo turistica” (Food sucks in Florence thanks a lot to mass tourism). Yes, Florence’s tourism problem is getting out of hand and with very haphazard approaches towards addressing it, but there are indeed valid gems still worth eating at near Florence’s major attractions.

Link here for all you curious travelers:

10 of the best restaurants near Florence’s major attractions Continue Reading

The Best Restaurants in Florence open all August (updated 2017)

Pasta in Florence tomato pappa al pomodoro
All things summer tomatoes at Osteria de’ Pazzi- open all August

You’ve probably read about it: Italy shuts down for the month of August. Well, not entirely. Over the last 12 years, I’ve seen this shift of cities being less of ghost towns. My first visit to Italy was 2005 in Florence during August- can’t remember noticing this apocalyptic country closure. But in 2007 I was studying in Perugia for the summer and I definitely witnessed the city empty gradually through July until August arrived and all there was left were the tumbleweeds and overheated classrooms (and professors). The last 5 years, I’ve noticed a shift of closures becoming less month-long to 10-14 days, or less.

This post is a curated guide to restaurants in Florence open in August- all month long. Bear in mind Ferragosto, the 15th of August/Assumption day, mostly everything in town will be closed similar to the Christmas effect. The listings I’ve handpicked are restaurants who confirmed being open all month, some even the 15th. Some will be closed or will decide last-minute to close for the 15th so better to call ahead when you make a reservation or if you plan on stopping by. Continue Reading

Where to find the best pasta in Florence for Vogue Magazine

Between researching stops for my progressive dining tour in Florence and eating out (aka my favorite thing), I have come to find the restaurants in Florence who serve excellent pasta- so I wrote a dining guide all about if for Vogue Magazine.

Here is the link to the article now on Vogue: Where to Find the Best Pasta in Florence

My first job in Italy involved assisting & translating cooking classes. We made fresh pasta during every lesson, taught by a little Italian nonna who didn’t speak English. It was one of the most fulfilling jobs I ever had- I was able to put my Italian language to use which I spent years at University learning plus doing something with my passion for cuisine.

After doing who knows how many lessons and rolling out pasta, making tagliatelle, gnudi and tortelli- I sort of became discerning about my pasta. Now I prefer tagliatelle from paper thin sheets, even if I’m not sure if this is the “right” way. I can’t stand if tagliatelle strands are thick (in height) and I can’t explain how, but I usually can tell when fresh pasta is made in-house or when they have bought it from a industrial pastificio. I love making pasta at home just as much as I love eating pasta. Now on to pursuing an independent career, I still learn pasta secrets from the local culinary experts on the pasta making classes I help arrange.

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