Italy is the land of food, and Italians themselves have a special connection with meal times. From home- made meals to fresh pizzas and delicate pastries, there is a dish suitable for every palate. Like any major city or town in Italy, Florence is no exception when it comes to cuisine, there is something for any budget from dining in high end restaurants to eating street food with the locals.
First off is breakfast, which in Italy usually consists of a sweet pastry and a shot of espresso or a creamy cappuccino. To have one of the best pastries in town, you can visit Caffè Scudieri, a bar in the centre of Florence dating back to 1939, one of the oldest and most famous cafes in town. From the moment you enter you are transported back in time, with their dark panelling, elegant décor, and pristine service. They offer a vast array of handmade pastries, one more delicious than the other, which you can enjoy with your coffee either seated or at the bar whilst admiring the Duomo. After having tasted their pastries, you will probably be tempted to bring home with you a box of their biscuits or sweets which you can find creatively displayed in their show window.
In Italy lunch is usually eaten at around 1pm, and it is usually a lengthy affair with many dishes. La Mescita is a historic restaurant in the centre of Florence established in 1927. The restaurant itself is very small and usually crowded, but if you are able to get a seat you’ll be able to enjoy excellent local dishes ranging from sandwiches to full course meals in a very traditional and rustic atmosphere, that seems like the kitchen of a house in the European countryside. The service is fast and friendly, with affordable prices and a menu in English.
One would sit down to have dinner in Italy at around 8pm, which can be considered quite late for some. Unlike lunch it is a much lighter meal in general, however if you are particularly hungry you are in for a treat, as Florence is known for restaurants serving a unique kind of steak, the Bistecca alla Fiorentina. Since these steaks are quite large and thick it is recommended that at least two people share the dish. Del Fagioli, a restaurant a short walk from the Arno river, serves one of the best Fiorentina’s in town and is known for them worldwide. With its excellent steak cuts and dizzying array of delicious local dishes, you will be hard pressed to decide but after your meal here you will be convinced to come back over and over. Be prepared to book a table in advance as it is hard to find a spot without a reservation and on another important note, they only accept cash.
Florence is not only famous for its art but also the art of dining, and these bars and restaurants are only a small selection of what the city has to offer.