Food of Florence, Italy
One of the best things about visiting Florence and Italy in general is the food!!! I am a big gnocchi fan (potato pasta dumplings) but any pasta really tastes so much better here. Our first meal was at a restaurant in the tiny piazza outside of our apartment. There were 5 outdoor tables crammed together that required the people from another table to adjust if someone needed to get out of their spot. I started off with an Italian beer, Dolomiti. It was really good. (Notice the distance between tables here, less space than New York City!)
We both had pasta (spaghetti amatriciana for me and gnocchi al gorgonzola for Mom) and I forgot to take a picture- bad blogger! Our dessert at a nearby gelato shop was the most interesting.
So many flavors to choose from! I ended up with creme caramel, banana, with a dab of gorgonzola gelato on top. I had to try the gorgonzola and the lady was nice enough to let me have a small taste. I actually liked it although it was pretty strange.
The best thing about gelato is that you can get a tiny cup of it with 2 different flavors. You should always get the tiniest cup because gelato is super-rich, the tiny size is the perfect amount. Then you can get gelato at least 3 times per day and not feel bad about it because you are getting the small size. Gelato logic here.
This was the best pizza I ended up eating in Florence. I ordered the one on the left with tomatoes, cheese, and pesto on it.
My meal plan in Florence was as such: nothing for breakfast (sleeping in due to jet lag), pizza for lunch, gelato snack, pasta for dinner, gelato for dessert. Healthy- maybe not, delicious- most definitely!
My favorite cheap restaurant in Florence in Yellow Bar. We went there when I was back in college for their gnocchi al gorgonzola and prosciutto and mozzarella constantly. This time I changed it up and went for their gnocchi rose (love!). Mom got a mushroom pizza.
Words cannot describe how much better gnocchi is in Italy versus the US- even in Little Italy locales I’ve visited.
The pizza in Italian restaurants very good but a little different. Usually requiring a knife and fork, you need to cut away a portion, fold it, and then chow down. They usually drizzle olive oil on top (which should be mandatory everywhere in the world) so it can get a little messy. The crust is thin-ish but they are really quite big and is difficult for one person to finish. Get some prosciutto and mozzarella as an appetizer and split a pie.
When in Tuscany make sure to always order the house red (Chianti)- it is usually cheaper than all other beverages (except water) and is very, very good. Back when I was a student here and they still used the Lira as the currency, wine was even cheaper than water. We ended up drinking a lot of Chianti.
The Central Market in Florence is near my old pad in Piazza de San Lorenzo. It is worth a trip to wander through although I remember it less touristy with more raw foods when I there last.
You can buy your fresh pastas, produce, meat, fish, bread, and more. The variety of mushrooms was fun.
I tended to buy a lot of dried fruit for weekend trips in college. The market still has plenty to offer.
My conclusion about the food in Florence is that you should eat a lot of it. Walking around all day leads to a big appetite. Indudge- you are eating fresh food so you don’t really feel weighed down by all the carbs. Tuscany is known for their entrees (pasta is not technically an entree) so try some of those too if you are into meat. But most importantly, leave the main roads to eat. Find the back alleys- that is where the small but delicious restaurants and pizza shops are to be found.