Dear Friends and Followers,
In the spirit of bringing you the latest and greatest in food/travel/lifestyle trends I asked a wonderful food writer to contribute to the website, Darren Atkins. The name sounds familiar? This brilliant Aussie is a contributor to NEW YORK Magazine and FOOD Magazine, too! (see, Serena always brings you the best and the brightest…) Darren has a blog called DManBurger, but today we are not talking about patties or kangaroos. We are talking about the land of rustic comfort food, excellent wine and EVOO: FIRENZE! Here are Darren’s tips on where to go, what to eat and how not to end up in a tourist trap!
“If you have been to Florence Italy, then you have marveled at the birthplace of the Renaissance, wandered through the Uffizi, gazing longingly from the Ponte Vecchio up and down the Arno, after being fascinated by the statue of David and shopping in the markets for leather goods. All the walking and culture can make anyone hungry! You may think that there is not bad food in Italy -WRONG! There are misses, but few and far between . Try and focus on smaller local places, such as Osteria de’ Benci – a quaint little haunt perched on a corner and a stone’s throw away from the beautiful Piazza Santa Croce. The “drunkard” pasta (Pasta dell’ubriacone) is a must! A luscious pile of spaghetti cooked in voluptuous local red wine sauce with garlic and hot pepper-also try the Scottadino d’Agnello sulla Brace (grilled lamb chops with herb sauce) both simple and memorable.
Also while in the Santa Croce area, visit Ristorante Boccadama – formerly an Enoteca – now transformed into an exquisite restaurant on the ground floor of a spectacular renaissance designed palazzo. At Boccadama start with the Insalata con Pere e Grana and Pappardelle al Cinghiale then the Tagliata di Manzo con Rucola, Pomodorini e Grana – delightful combination.
Another amazing find – also near the Piazza Santa Croce – is Trattoria Baldovino. Try the classics – thin crust pizza, ravioli and bistecca alla Fiorentina – all prepared perfectly! It is tucked away in an alley Baldovino – very romantic as well as a dramatic display of Florentine cooking at its best.
When visiting Florence most tourists stick with restaurants in the city center or nearby there hotel, but try a trip over the Arno and treat yourself to Il Santo Bevitore (translated “Holy Drinker”). There you will find a raucous restaurant of locals sitting at long tables, sipping wine and laughing. The food is superior to any of those chi-chi concierge recommendations at half the price! Try the pastas like the Gnocchetti alle Melanzane with Burrata and anchovies or the Garganelli with tomatoes, zucchini and onions.
Lunch at Trattoria Za Za is a definite must while in Florence – handsome servers buzzing around and delivering scrumptious dishes like the Spaghetti alla Za Za, the Petti di Polo alla crema di tartufo in the shadow of the Piazza del Mercato Centrale. ..
After dinner, walk to the famous Bar Vivoli for some late night sweetness, the gelato here is the best in the city.
Florence is a true city of beauty, culture, laughter and good food”.
Darren Atkins (DMANBURGER) is a Contributing Editor to FOOD Magazine, Grub Street and Noche Latina.