Eating out in Florence needn’t be a drain on your travel budget, there are plenty of inexpensive places to eat without compromising on taste and quality.
In and around the central market of San Lorenzo there are some great choices for a quick lunch or even just a snack between sightseeing and shopping. In the covered market there is one stall serving Florentine style fast food that has been there since the market opened, well over a hundred years ago. Look for Da Nerbone inside the market for an authentic lunch of pasta or hot beef in a bread roll. If you are feeling adventurous, here is a great place to try the Florentine speciality of lampredotto washed down with a glass of Chianti. Remember they have the ‘pay first’ system, so decide what to eat, line up to pay for it and then line up to collect your food.
You don’t have to be at the market to get a satisfying well priced lunch. Right between the Cathedral and the Piazza della Signoria (the square with the statues), is the Cantinetta dei Verrazzano. It looks like a baker’s shop as you walk in, with fresh bread and tempting cakes on display, but towards the back of the shop where they have a huge bread oven, they serve excellent filled foccacia bread. If you feel like a glass of wine with your food, the Verrazzano family have been making it at their castle for over 800 years, so it’s a great place to taste some local red wine.
If you are having a cultural morning at the Uffizi Gallery or visiting the Palazzo Vecchio, just off the Piazza della Signoria is Cernacchino. Here they serve home made traditional Tuscan specialities in hollowed out crusty bread rolls. If you have a big appetite to satisfy, try a slow cooked beef stew or one of the rich vegetable soups, if you are looking for something lighter when the weather is warm, they also offer great salads. Interesting fruit juices are available for those resisting the range of Chianti wines available by the glass.
If you are leaving the Uffizi in the other direction, towards Santa Croce, stop off at All’Antico Vinaio in Via dei Neri, a favourite Florentine fast food shop. At most times of the day you can find it by looking for the small crowd spilling out on to the street enjoying the food and wine. Try the classic porchetta, stuffed roast pork in crusty bread or get them to make a sandwich to order. Help yourself to wine from the bottles left on the shelf at the front, just keep count and pay at the end