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Florence Restaurants

I've been to many restaurants in Florence (Firenze), but edited the list below down to the top places. These are the places I would visit regularly if they were in my home town. Many are too small to show up in the latest travel guide books.

Here are a few recommendations for food items to bring home:
    Traditional Balsamic
    Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Trattoria 4 Leoni - Piazza della Passera,Via dei Velluntini,1/r Tel:055.218562
This excellent and crowded restaurant is a great place to sample traditional Florentine dishes in a casual atmosphere. Chicken cooked under a brick was especially good as were pasta dishes. For dessert try the light and airy ricotta cheesecake. Sister restaurant Il Francescano Trattoria (largo Bargellini, 16 - piazza S. Croce Tel: 39.055.241605) is also popular and a good choice if you're staying near Santa Croce.  Reservations recommended

Trattoria Mario - Via Rosina,2/R (and Piazza Mercato Centrale), 055/218550
You'll want to arrive early to this crowded family run restaurant close to the central market to avoid the line that forms outside at lunchtime. This is a wonderful place to experience typical Florentine dishes in a casual, friendly setting. You'll also be able to see into the glass-walled kitchen and watch how everything is prepared. Stews, Bistecca alla Fiorentina (steak Florentine style), and French Fries are among my favorites, but everything (including the fresh pastas) I've had is delicious. For dessert, order biscotti and some vin santo to dip it in.

Nerbone - Inside the Central Market
This small sandwich shop, close to one of the entrances of the central market is a whole experience. Arrive early and fight your way to the front of the line to place your order at the register, then push your way to the front again in the sandwich line to order a Bollito bagnato with tuttele salse. Delicious boiled beef will be piled onto a fresh bun (dipped in meat broth) and topped with fresh salsa. Fantastico!

Casa Del Vino Bruno - Via Dell Ariento #16
This crowded wine bar near the San Lorenzo market is a great place to stop in and sample some of the local wines with a small snack. This is one of the oldest wine bars in Florence, and the perfect place to try lots of different wines and buy a few favorites to take home.

Leopoldo Procacci - Via Tornabuoni 64/r, Tel: 055/211656
A nice, non-smoky place to stop in and get a small bite to eat or some fresh squeezed juice or coffee. Close to the Ponte Veccio and Florence shopping.  Also sells jars of honey, jam, and other delicacies to take home.

Chiar Oscuro - Via del Corso 36r, Tel:055.214247
This coffee shop is the perfect place to take a break from shopping near the Ponte Veccio and to do some people watching. The shop features delicious pastries made from artisan chocolates (unusual in Italy). There are several varieties of hot chocolate, including Azteca, with cinnamon and spices (my favorite) white hot chocolate, rose flavored hot chocolate, and plain hot chocolate so thick and rich that you'll think of it more as melted pudding than hot chocolate.

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