Ciao! Welcome back to Feasts of Florence! This week’s post is a continuation of my previous one and I will be sharing where I ate in my last days in Florence.
Il Mercato Centrale di Firenze
The last field trip we were able to go on before our program was suspended was a food tour of the Central Market in Florence. The building was designed and built in the 1870s when Florence was still the capital of Italy. On the first floor there are multiple stalls and vendors, selling everything from meats and vegetables to specialty items like olive oil and cheeses. On the tour we were able to sample our choice of an Italian coffee as well as salami and a pecorino cheese.
1950 American Diner
Walking into this diner is like a blast from the past. It’s decorated with neon lights, vintage cars, old commercials play on the TVs, and the waitresses even get around on roller skates. Their menu features the “real American experience” with dishes like cheeseburgers, curly fries, and milkshakes. The basement has an air hockey table, foosball, and other games. I forgot to take a picture of my meal before eating it, but I had the 1950 D.O.C Beef Burger ( € 12) and the strawberry milkshake (€ 4.50). Overall it was relatively inexpensive, had good food, and I enjoyed the atmosphere.
I’Margaritaio Cantina Messicana
I’Margaritaio is a small yet popular Tex-Mex bar that’s visited frequently by study abroad students. During Happy Hour, which lasts from 5:30-8:30pm cocktails are € 5. They have over 20 flavors of frozen margaritas, daquiris, and other frozen cocktails. They also serve nachos, quesadillas, as well as traditional bar foods like wings. I ordered the passionfruit margarita, which was delicious, however if you drink it too fast you’ll get a major brain freeze. I think they were well worth the price and are only € 7.50 outside of happy hour. The cupcake shot was made with vanilla vodka and used a mini ice cream cone as a shot glass.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to eat at every restaurant on my list before having to come home. Here are a few recommendations of places we would have visited if we stayed the full time abroad. Emily, our guide from the food tour, pointed these places out to us and they are also highly recommended on travel sites such as TripAdvisor.
- Grand Hotel Cavour Florence: This hotel has a rooftop bar and lounge, La Divina Terrazza, that’s open to everyone, not only hotel guests. It’s an American style bar located in the heart of Florence that has a breathtaking view of the Florence skyline, including the famous Duomo. Due to its popularity, the number of tables is limited and reservations are recommended.
- Trattoria Za Za: Possibly one of the most famous restaurants in Florence, Trattoria Za Za specializes in Tuscan cuisine. They have been operating in the famous Piazza del Mercato Centrale since 1977.
- L’antica pizzeria da Michele Firenze: Famous for their dedication to create traditional Neapolitan pizza, as well as their giant pizzas, L’antica pizzeria da Michele has been serving pizza for over 100 years. Michele’s family has been making pizza since 1870, creating a long line of master pizza chefs. Michele opened the first pizzeria in 1906 and today their pizza is internationally known.
- Trattoria Mario: Though a small restaurant, Trattoria is famous and loved both by tourists and Florentines. Since opening in 1953, this family restaurant serves traditional Florentine recipes. Their menu is very small and changed daily to ensure the freshest ingredients. Despite this, certain meals are served everyday such as the Florentine steak, ragu, and ribollita- a Tuscan soup made with leftover bread, beans, cabbage, and other vegetables. Due to their popularity people often line up an hour before opening to ensure a space inside the restaurant; when certain ingredients run out during the day, dishes are taken off the menu. Trattoria Mario is a member of the Esercizi Storici Fiorentini, which is an association of historical Florentine businesses. Restaurants and other businesses are very proud of their accreditation and will often display the following seal on the front door.
I hope you’ve enjoyed Feasts of Florence as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. I hope my posts were helpful if you plan on studying in Florence in the future or you’re planning to visit with family. Stay tuned for next week’s post where I will be talking about my experience leaving Florence and general travel tips.