Florence | Top Food & Drank
Here are our favorite spots during our visit to Florence, Italy:
Restaurant and Wine Bar - $$$
Via S. Miniato, 2/r, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
We chose Zeb because of its proximity to our lodging, but man, it turned out to be the right choice. This spot is located in the San Niccolò neighborhood, right across the Arno River from metro area of Florence.
Michelin Guide recommended, pop over to Zeb for a casual yet upscale meal. In the center of the restaurant is a 3-sided counter, each side filled with serving trays of the daily specials. We went in the early afternoon on a weekday. There were a few tables seated, but we were able to sit right up at the counter.
The owner, Alberto, greeted us and told us a little bit about the daily specials. I felt that he was a bit rude (or condescending) to us when we asked about the various dishes and wine offerings, but I let it slide in the moment. Later, a quick scan of Trip Advisor reviews confirmed my suspicions. But whatever, I'm an adult; I can take some sass as long as the food was on point.
We settled on one of the daily specials, rabbit and pork roll, and a dish off the staple menu, cheese tortellini with truffle shavings. Duuuuude, i'm so glad we got the tortellini! The cheese was already savory, but the truffle shavings provided that subtle touch to elevate the dish to the next level. I immediately absolved Alberto of all perceived wrongdoings. The rabbit and pork roll was very good too; but no one focuses on Scotty Pippen when you got MJ on the court. Get the tortellini when you go.
Zeb is definitely worth a visit. The heart and soul of the venue is Alberto's mother Giuseppina, who draws upon the memories of her mother and grandmother. When you come in here, you get dishes that have been crafted over 4 generations. Now that's a true fmaily business.
Bottega de Gelato
Gelato & Popsicle shop - $
Via Por Santa Maria, 33, 50100 Firenze FI, Italy
The Fellowship of the Pops
Bruuuuh, where to even begin with this place. Bottega de Gelato is your neighborhood pusher man. I think that they sell gelato by the cup, or in something something or whatever. The main star of the show here is the gelato popsicle, or as I like to call it -- That Good Good. Y'all know that I am not a big dessert person. But after having this popsicle, we risked chronic flatulence two more times during our trip to enjoy the goods.
To describe the process of making this cherished treat, the skilled craftsman freezes a solid block of pure joy. Next, using the sharpest of blades, they cut out a solitary pop according to the golden ratio. A flawless cedar stick is then inserted into the pop for ease of handling. In a nearby vat, a serving of happiness (chocolate) is heated. Once ready, the pop is dipped perfectly diagonally into the molten concoction. Finally, the prep technician sprinkles molly (coconut flakes) onto the non-chocolate half of the pop. The pop is then presented for you to enjoy with your unworthy taste buds.
*Certain aspects of this explanation might be exagerated... the wood is maple.
Anyways, BTG is right near the Arno Bridge area. It's in the perfect location to pop by after touring the Florence streets. Damn, even writing this article is making me crave one right now. Major withdrawals.
Bottega del Mulino
Hilltop cafe and wine bar - $$
Via di Montefiesole, 48, 50065 Pontassieve FI, Italy
Meat sweats to the max
To get to Bottega del Mulino from Florence is a bit of a journey. You have to rent a Vespa (the right way to do it) and ride about an hour uphill to get here. That being said, it's totally worth it. You can rent your ride from Mela Vespa, and choose the Mulino Path to get here.
Aside from the paralyzing anxiety of knowing that you could easily be killed at any moment by an impatient motorist, the Vespa ride is super enjoyable. You'll want to stop multiple times to get material for the gram.
When you finally get to the top of the hill, the cafe will be waiting for you. BTM has a small, but well-curated selection of charcuterie items and plenty of wine and beer to reward you for the ride. They also have several groceries for you purchase, like locally produced honey and truffle salt. You bess believe we copped us as many items as our lil Vespa could hold.
We ordered a full spread of meats, cheeses, tomatoes, bread and wine. Everything was surprisingly cheap for this caliber of establishment. You'd think that the lack of competition would lead to inflated prices. But not so at BTM. Way to maintain a sense of common decency. Fuck yeah! We took our noms out onto the patio in the back of the cafe.
The view from the top of the hill was magnificent. Looking out into the sprawling countryside with Florence faintly in the distance under the warm Tuscan sun made for a perfect honeymoon moment. And the wine. The wine was the shit. The setting is perfect to make friends with everyone else on the patio (and stay out late into the morning drinking together), which is exactly what we did.
The ride back down is much easier, mainly because of the wine. Just make sure you're not over the limit. You know... because of the very real possibility of vehicular destruction.