Follow Lois and George as they travel the world in 2012.
Osteria delle Belle Donne – Jan. 19th. I had the ribollita (Tuscan bean, spinach and bread stew) and George had the truffle pasta. Both were excellent. I was wowed by the fennel gratin side dish which was baked in a creamy cheesy sauce. Yum. The atmosphere is relaxed and fun. Main dishes around €10, sides around €6.
Trattoria La Casalinga – Jan. 20th. Homemade fare. Inexpensive, but the food was so-so. Pesto pasta and arugula salad for me, spinach frittata and artichoke salad for George. The desserts were really good and I would order either one of them again: little biscotti dipped in vinsanto (sweet, fortified wine), and the limoncello sorbet. Atmosphere is bright and friendly.
Gusto Leo – Jan. 22. Near the Bargello museum. Good pizza, middle of the road prices, very good desserts. We had the Regina Margherita pizza (fresh mozzarella, basil and tomato), the Agrodolce pizze (gorgonzola, pineapple, mushroom, mozzarella, tomato), and a salad. The gelato truffles for dessert are lovely (chocolate gelato with a cream filling, rolled in cocoa powder).
Tredici Gobbi (13 Dwarves) – Jan. 24. We went there for lunch with our friend, Diana. The food was good, but it was very pricey for what you get. I had a pear, walnut, gorgonzola salad, which sounds good to an American, but when there is no dressing (the rule in Italy) it suddenly isn’t as gourmet as it sounds. The fried squash blossoms were delicious. George’s pasta was also delicious. It’s a nice place for a splurge, but not for everyday.
La Pizzeria – Jan. 28th. Right across the street from our house. Average pizza and salad. Affordable. They do take out so we’ll probably have it again sometime.
Golden View Open Bar – Jan. 29th. Excellent food, outstanding view of the Arno river. We went with George’s colleagues and families, including two kids ages 4 and almost 2. The waiters were wonderful with the kids and very attentive to us as a party. We had a lot of fun. The truffle pasta dish is sublime! This place is also a little on the pricey side, but it is fantastic as part of the meal voucher program through the school.
Osteria de’Peccatori (Restaurant of the Sinners) – Feb. 8th. This cafe right next to the Bargello museum is cozy, warm, and friendly. Our server was very sweet and helped us with our Italian even though he spoke great English. I had a grilled vegetable salad, which was very good. It was the first time I encountered balsamic vinegar in a spray container. George had a mushroom, gorgonzola, and pineapple pizza. The desserts were fantastic. I had the “cup of gelato” which turned out to be a big, beautiful sundae with fresh fruit, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream. Mmmmm….
Ruth’s Kosher Vegetarian Cafe – This little cafe is next to the synagogue in Florence and offers mostly vegetarian food (plus some fish). It is run by a rabbi. The food was good, but not fabulous. We had lunch here and it seemed a popular spot. Although we like to support vegetarian restaurants, we probably won’t get back there since it is way across town from us. Good to know about, though.
Il Profeta – Feb. 14, March 1. Still my favorite restaurant in Florence and perhaps in all the world. Claudio and Martina are so warm and welcoming, so fun and generous. Claudio takes great delight in describing each dish on the menu. He speaks about 5 languages and always helps us with our italian. The rest of the staff is very elegant, sweet, and helpful. The gratinata al granduca remains one of my favorite dishes ever! It is ribbon pasta in truffle sauce, served in a fried cheese bowl, topped with melted cheese. There is a gorgeous yellow sauce (saffron?) with red bell peppers. It is visually stunning, it smells like heaven, and tastes just as good. The chocolate dessert is absolutely to die for. I always leave there over-full and super happy.
Da i Boia – This is a new restaurant on the AIFS meal voucher program and we LOVE it. We’ve eaten there twice now. The ambience is romantic and sensual with erotic paintings on the walls, done by the proprietor. The candlelight and jazz add to the romance. The staff are super friendly and helpful. And the FOOD…. This is the largest and most interesting menu on the meal voucher program. I’ve had risotto with curry and green apple, a pear and gorgonzola calzone, a huge caesar salad, and other yummy concoctions. Aside from Il Profeta, this is my favorite restaurant in Florence.
Trattoria Anita – A sweet and entertaining restaurant. The food was good and the staff is always a lot of fun. Inexpensive and loads of food.
Trattoria Nella – Small and family run, the food is good and it always seems to have lively Italians eating there. Last time, there was a birthday party that took up about half the restaurant. One guest was playing guitar and singing – right at the table. My kind of place. The food is excellent and they have the best panna cotta in town.
Zafferano – This is an Indian restaurant in our neighborhood. It was a nice change of pace from all the pizza and pasta. The staff speaks English and Italian. We had the palak paneer, a ginger and cumin dahl, and saffron rice. The coconut dessert was delicious. We also tried Indian wine which went very well with the indian food. It was a dark, robust red with a flavor I have never encountered anywhere else. It was quite tasty. It was also inexpensive, so I think we will go back there again.