When we travel our schedule is often quite hectic. We want to see as much as possible and often there is no time for a proper lunch in a restaurant. It simply seems a waste of time. The good news is that in Florence you will find many places where to have a quick, cheap but really delicious lunch.
Here are few places I have chosen for you:
Il mercato centrale – San Lorenzo market
San Lorenzo market is the place where I buy all the produce, meat, cheeses and fish. However, besides being a food market, San Lorenzo hosts also many market stalls with little bars and food stands where you can have a quick lunch.
The most famous one is definitely the crowded Nebrone, founded in 1872. Their typically Tuscan menu includes tripe, pappa al pomodoro (a dense tomato soup cooked with stale bread), bruschetta with chicken liver pate, risotto or plate of pasta.
Recently, at the San Lorenzo market they have opened a new area with food stalls on the upper floor, which offers great variety of little restaurants and bars. You will find there a fishmonger, cheese specialists, steak house, pizza and even some vegan hamburgers. The prices are higher than on the ground floor, but it is another valid option for your lunch.
Mercato San Lorenzo, via dell’Ariento
The ground floor is open from Monday to Saturday from 7 am until 3 pm.
The upper floor is open every day from 8 am until midnight
Casa del Vino
Around the corner from the San Lorenzo food market, hidden by the stalls of the street market, you will find the Casa del Vino. It is a unique, historical wine bar that serves a great variety of finger food, ham, cheeses, bruschetta, salads and sandwiches accompanied by a glass of wine. This place is for you if you want to feel like a local for a while. It’s always crowded but nobody is annoyed by that. Everybody share the space eating their sandwiches standing up.
Casa del vino, via dell’Ariento, 16
It is open from Monday to Thursday from 9:30 am until 3:30 pm. On Friday and Saturday they open from 10 am until 8:30 pm. They are closed on Saturdays in June, July and September and on every Sunday.
They close in August for the summer break.
Here is their website: http://www.casadelvino.it/
A similar lunch with a sandwich and a glass of wine you can find at a little food stall Due Fratellini in via de’ Cimatori, close to Piazza della Signoria and Orsanmichele. Due Fratellini was established in 1875 and it never moved from their little shop in the original location. Today it is run by Armando and Michele who prepare more than 30 different sandwiches with the selection of local hams, cheeses and vegetables. You can also choose from a big selection of wines to accompany your quick lunch.
Due Fratellini, via de’ Cimatori 38 r
They are open every day from 10 am to 8 pm. Here you will find their website: http://www.iduefratellini.it/eng/
Who doesn’t love the Tuscan schiacciata! This soft, Tuscan flatbread, brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt is one of the local delicacies. The most famous place where to try the schiacciata filled with ham, cheese or vegetables is All’Antico Vinaio in via de’ Neri. This place is famous for the generosity of their servings, enormous choice of different stuffing and the quality of the food. However, the fame of this place made of it one of the most crowded locations in Florence and if you try to go there during the high season around 1 pm, you will find a very long queue in front of the shop. Therefore, my advice is to try their schiacciata if you travel during the autumn or winter, when there is nobody there (here you will find my article that talks about winter holiday in Florence). Another solution is to buy the sandwiches early, around 11 am, when there are few people there and then eat them later on. If you decide to have your lunch there, avoid eating on the spot as there is no space for that. You can find benches in Piazza Santa Croce, piazza della Signoria and next to the Cathedral. Around the city you will also find many historical palaces, such as the Palazzo Strozzi, with the “panca di via” – stone benches along the street – where you can easily seat down and eat your delicious schiacciata.
All’Antico Vinaio, via de’ Neri 65r
It is open every day from 10 am to 10 pm, on Saturdays until 11 pm.
Here is their website: http://www.allanticovinaio.com/en/
If you prefer a plate of pasta rather than a sandwich, try the Buongustai in via de’ Cerchi, just few steps from Piazza della Signoria and the Uffizi. The Osteria is run by four women who offer their home cooked, delicious dishes: pasta, risotto, salads or lampredotto (the fourth stomach of a cow, boiled and served with a green sauce with a parsley base). The Buongustai is very popular among the locals who work in the historical centre and who go there during their lunch break. I go crazy about the desserts there. The chocolate cake is simply spectacular!
I Buongustai, via de’ Cerchi 15r
The Osteria is open from Monday to Saturday from 12:30 until 15:30.
The lampredotto is simply a must when you’re in Florence. At the corners of many Florentine squares you will find food vans of numerous lampredottai who prepare this delicacy on the spot. They serve the sandwiches with lampredotto. The fourth stomach of a cow, boiled in stock is served in a bun with the salsa verde. The top of the bun is dipped in the hot broth before serving and in this way the sandwich results soft and simply delicious.
You will find the lampredotto in Piazza dei Cimatori, in via dell’Ariento (outside of the mercato San Lorenzo), in via Gioberti, in piazza Sant’Ambrogio (at the beginning of via de’ Macci) and in Piazza del Mercato Nuovo – next to the famous wild boar!