Wow what a great city Florence is! The most amazing buildings and architecture, and it brings you straight back to what Italy is all about. At the same time it creates the perfect setting for authentic wining and dining, the other thing that Florence is known for. I was over in Florence with some friends just recently and being based in the centre of the old city I have five recommendations for you for food and drinks.
Restaurant, bar, coffee place – La Menagere. I think this is an amazing place. Yes, it is hip and happening, but what a great concept and lovely food. Set in the middle of town in an authentic building the three arched rooms all have a different purpose. There is one with a 15 meter long wooden table where you can join for a full blown Italian menu. The middle Archway hosts a flower shop, some tables in a more brasserie setting, and the final Archway has a long bar which is the perfect location for drinks with DJ in the evening or relaxed coffee in the morning. A must go.
Go slow at Piazza Santo Spirito – I’m sure you will ache for a relaxed piazza without the tourist crowd after a few days in the centre of town. Just across the river, pass a few streets and you will find Piazza Santo Spirito. With a market every day (except Sunday) till 1pm, a few restaurants, cafes and lovely small terraces this is the perfect place to chill after a big night. Try pop cafe for your wake up breakfast, or Osteria Santo Spirito for some authentic pastas. Or just try each terrace to find your own favourite spot.
A rooftop terrace – it is surprising but there are not many rooftop terraces in Florence. I just found you the perfect one though for your sunset cocktails. Go to Hotel Continentale and shoot for the seventh floor around 7pm. The best view, great cocktails gives you a perfect start of an Italian evening.
Authentic food – you’re not to leave Florence without having eaten chianina, the steak. Il Latini is the place to go, it is basic, nothing fancy at all, great courtyard and the best chianina (they have some fish also;-) ). Bring some meat eaters, because the meat comes to share and not so much in small sizes.
Serving chefs – at Zeb, again on the other side of the river, there is this specific restaurant/ wine bar where the chefs run the show. You’re seated around the bar peeping into the kitchen, and the chefs walk in and out of the kitchen to serve you. The most delicious fresh pasta is served while you can observe their work or chat to your neighbour. They have a great tagline also: when there is passion…gastronomy becomes art…
Yeah, more and more tourist overwhelm the city and it is frightening to think when the centre will be closed off and become “disney-fied”, but when all of the above option continue to exist you can continue to create your own special Italian experience in an amazing setting.