Curious Appetite

eating in Florence

Top Picks for Where to Eat & Drink in Florence August 15th (Ferragosto)

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

(updated July 2020)

Usually I write my where to eat guides geared to travelers, specifically American travelers perhaps because well- I’m American-born? This is one of the strangest years to be blogging, updating dining guides knowing this on-the-ground info will not be able to prove useful to my compatriots who usually roam my adopted home’s streets.

I’ll still update this guide to restaurants in Florence during August (specifically, for one of Italy’s most important national holidays, Ferragosto), This post is my top picks for where to eat in Florence on Ferragosto, the 15th of August (Assumption day) with the hopes someone will find it useful. Whether English speaking visitors/residents or a sneaky Italian-American (or who similarly won the European passport lottery) who like me lives and works with Italy.

In all transparency, I haven’t had the bandwidth to 100% edit this minus cleaning up some descriptions or sadly removing listings of addresses permanently closed due to the financial hardships brought upon by the pandemic, or for extended closures, etc.

So you may find some pre-covid (BC) nomenclature or an explain-y tone to newbies. If you know the Ferragosto cultural song and dance, feel free to scroll to the listicle juice. But rest assured, everyone here on this listicle (in no particular order) is respecting current regulations (some with stellar outdoor seating set-ups) around restaurant’ing in the time of coronavirus.

If you happen to be in Florence on this national holiday- bookmark this guide and I cannot stress enough- reserve in advance. Like now. Continue Reading

An alternative guide to the “best” panini in Florence

salami florence panini brunori

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

Aperitivo in Florence – UPDATED!

Photo Credit: Sam Engel (contact me to get in touch with Sam- he’s a great photographer!)

Man oh man, it’s been a painful few months knowing I had a very popular/read post just dying to be updated. Mostly, I wanted to update my article on Aperitivo in Florence because there were some spots that have gone horribly downhill and it took some personal visits to realize horrifically how disgusting they were in both terms of service and quality. It’s a real bummer when recommendations get outdated, usually due to a rise in popularity, If people catch on to a good place in Florence, it usually doesn’t stay secret for long (which should usually be a good thing!) Unless locales are prepared for the increased volume, they usually can’t keep up with providing consistent quality and service.

Here is the link to my updated post:

Aperitivo in Florence- a round-up

And while I was at it, I realized the article I wrote on Where to Eat in San Niccolo (the area near Piazzale Michelangelo) was also a bit outdated so I cleaned it up, with a realization that most places in that area suck. Florence, what is wrong with you?! (Sometimes) Continue Reading

Trattoria Coco Lezzone (Florence, Italy): Mixed feelings

By a fateful accident of texts exchanged between me and a pal we ended up dining at Coco Lezzone for what should have been a no-nonsense weekday lunch date. I suggested Coco Filippo and said pal replied “oh, you must mean Coco Lezzone!” Since I never heard of this trattoria before, truth be told, I wrote off Filippo and said to Lezzone we go! Continue Reading

In defense of food in Florence

take note.

I realize that for foodies from countries like America, Tuscan food in Florence can seem confusing. Recently, I took a quick stroll through common criticisms on sites like yelp and tripadvisor and decided to respond. These misunderstandings can be avoided, and I question the information out there educating people about what real Tuscan food and Italian food culture is about. Yes, Italian food includes plates of creamy gnocchi, carb-rich lasagna, pillow-y charred pizza and silky tagliatelle pasta and rich ragu’. But it is also a culture of regional foods, simple eating with little condiment. People eat out somewhat frequently in Italy, whether for a panino on the go or a quick plate of sliced roast beef and vegetables on lunch break. These meals are consumed casually at simple local cafes, hole in the walls or neighborhood trattorias. The grey area is that everyday Italians rarely go out for nicer, gourmet meals at atmospheric restaurants raved about in culture and leisure publications/blogs which travelers tend to chase after, giving a false impression of what the local eating culture is truly like. Continue Reading

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