Gambero Rosso, Italy’s leading food, dining culture, news and wine publication powerhouse, came out with the 2017 edition of its street food guide to Italy and guess who touts the title for Tuscany? Marco Paparozzi’s Semel in Florence. Semel serves just panini and wine- and a few forgotten old-fashioned Italian sodas like Tassoni Cedrata and Chinotto. Water is served as a last resort. Marco has been officially recognized for having the best street food in Tuscany- by the most food and drink culture publication in the country. The article can be found here (in Italian)Continue Reading →
Until this year, I never experienced a meal at a Michelin-star restaurant- in Florence, Italy or anywhere. Part of this is because Seattle’s fine dining scene is somewhat non-existent and my first years in Florence were spent “faccendo la gavetta“, putting in my dues so to speak. The Michelin-star restaurant title had been one with both allure and eyeball “give-me-a-break” rolling, but still nevertheless a curiosity…I wanted to know what it was all about. Continue Reading →
Most people coming to Florence, will be hopefully be looking for “authentic”, non-touristy food. Chances are that if you are looking for “authentic” food, you may not realize that what you should be looking for are: places that do traditional food of their region well.Continue Reading →
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Last year, I wrote a list on Florence’s new openings for Eater.com and to be honest- selecting a respectable list of 10 had its challenges. However, this year is looking like it’ll be a cinch thanks to some venues which break the traditional Tuscan mold. Moreover, there seems to be a trend (or perhaps demand) for seafood restaurants in Florence. Continue Reading →
There is more to panini in Florence than l’Antico Vinaio. Places like Antico Vinaio are extremely famous thanks to a failproof recipe: thousands (13K+) of tripadvisor reviews mostly since they’ve been listed for ages, tasty albeit obnoxiously large panini and cheap wine all for under 5€. However rarely questioned is the quality of their ingredients. Like are those industrial factory produced cheeses and grocery-store quality meats? Aren’t you curious as to what’s in those sauces/globs?
I’m going to flat out and be honest- this post is a reaction to seeing l’Antico Vinaio on nearly every major publication’s list, usually written by writers who are just passing through probably gleaning clues from other articles without contacting local on-the-ground experts. While I’m not saying me or anyone is the ultimate authority, it’d be nice if visiting writers actually reached out to the people who live and breath the food scene every day in Florence, to make their pieces more authentic.
The panini at l’antico vinaio are good, even delicious, but not worth to me waiting up to an hour in line for. Italian panini, were meant to be simple and traditionally included few ingredients: primarily cheese and/or meat. It seems that they’ve become monstrous man vs. food feasts here! Not that I don’t enjoy a decadent massive panino, but again, I suggest folks to consume info (and food) with a discerning palate. I am suspicious of the ingredients in terms of what’s actually in there and truffle sauces with 99% artificial flavor and 1% truffle extract. My personal tastes goes towards more artisan style eateries, where ingredient quality is emphasized. Not always, I do enjoy junk food too! But I get a lot of questions “is Antico Vinaio really that good?”Yes- it is but in case you don’t want to wait in line for an hour, here are some alternatives. Continue Reading →