Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fine Florentine dining that won’t break the bank

Food lies at the heart of Italian culture and is one of the many enticing factors that attract the massive volume of tourists to its cities every year. The Tuscan kitchen is known as “cucina povera”, which literally translates as poor kitchen. The ethos of traditional Tuscan cooking is the use of fresh ingredients to create basic dishes that are wholesome and tasty, where preparation and process are fundamental to the outcome of each dish. It is essential to try some of the local cuisine during any trip to the Tuscan capital and this blog aims to offer a few suggestions for trying authentic and reasonably priced Florentine cuisine that will inspire you to try some cooking in your own Florence apartment.

Il Rifrullo
Situated in a charming and tranquil setting on the left side of the River Arno, Il Rufrullo boasts a picturesque garden that overlooks Florence’s medieval walls. The lunch menu offers an array of pasta dishes, traditional Tuscan soups, salads, hot and cold plates and a range of Tuscan specialties that are defined by the seasons. A popular favourite among locals is the Sunday brunch. It is still quite a novelty for a restaurant to open on Sunday in Florence and Il Rufrullo has catered for that market with its Sunday all you can eat buffet, which offers a vast range of foods both traditional and modern (5-15 € main course).
Il Rufrullo is located at via San Niccolò, 55, Florence.

Ristorante del Fagioli
This is a traditional family run restaurant that offers only traditional Tuscan fare. It is considered by many to be one of the best places in Florence to try the famous bistecca fiorentina. In traditional Tuscan style the menu is heavily influenced by the foods that are in season at that particular time. Other specialties include, arista di maiale al forno—very thinly cut slices of pork loin, seasoned with fried garlic and sage and involtini di Gigi—thin slices of beef stuffed with cheese, ham and artichokes, rolled, and braised in butter and olive oil. Antonio, the restaurant manager will be happy to offer you his suggestions and the whole family of staff are very friendly and eager to converse with the diners. For the quality of food and service provided, Ristorante del Faglioli offers some of the most reasonable prices in Florence. (5-15€ main course)
Corso Dei Tintori, 47/R Florence.
Check this video.

Osteria de' Benci
Another favourite among locals and regular visitors alike, the Osteria de´Benci features on the list of many gastronomy tourist’s itinerary. The menu selection is diverse while preserving a strong Tuscan influence. This is a particularly good choice for tourists that don’t speak much English as the friendly staff are on hand to help and offer their own personal suggestions. Marco Meneghini, creates a welcoming and authentic atmosphere and the surroundings are in a typical Florentine style. The grilled meats are of a very high standard as are the pasta dishes, which come highly recommended in many popular guides and online reviews. If you have room for desert after your meal then it is definitively worth trying, though due to the size of the portions here it is often impossible to even manage a coffee after the main meal! Very reasonably priced for the amount of food and very friendly staff ( main courses from 5-15€).
Via de' Benci 13r, Florence
Review of the Osteria.

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