One of the main expenses when travelling is eating out. Clearly you wish to try local delicacies and dine at authentic local eateries when abroad, but like most of us, you probably have a budget to stick to. If you need to grab something to eat in central Florence but don’t want to sacrifice quality – or pay an arm and a leg for microwaved pizza in piazza del Duomo, read our local ambassador Mary‘s recommendations.
1. Gusta Panino – fresh and tasty sandwiches
This is a favourite lunch spot among savvy locals, budget travellers and students. If you order your sandwich to go, you won’t pay more than €5. Choose from a range of breads and sandwiches with pre-selected ingredient combinations, or create your own! Mary’s top pick is stuffed with brie, sun-dried tomatoes and turkey.
Photo credit: Alanna Martine
2. Ristorante La Spada-Rosticceria – divine daily specials
This place is part sit-down restaurant, part takeaway counter. The rosticceria discreetly located off to the side of the restaurant serves generous portions of inexpensive daily specials like spaghetti alle vongole (with clams), gnocchi, mezzemaniche pasta with sausage and broccoli, truffled ravioli, vegetable soup and more – all for under €5! On Fridays, the rosticceria serves seafood specialties. Go for the fried calamari and ask for a bit of lemon.
Photo credit: La Spada Ristorante Rosticceria
3. All’Antico Vinaio – €5 monster panini
The queues here can be crazy long, but this is simply evidence of the fact that their paninis are amazing. Even born-and-bred Florentines can’t deny that the €5 price tag on the historic centre’s biggest, customisable panini is tough to beat. The best part is that if you’re not starving, you can save half of your huge panini for dinner!
Photo credit: Anthony Crider
4. Salumeria Verdi – meet Pino, the sandwich wizard
Pino, the owner of this place, is the sweetest man with exceptional sandwich-making skills. You can create your own combo, but we’d stick with the menu given that he really knows what he’s doing. If you feel you’ve had enough of sandwiches, there are also daily pasta and meat specials. Here, you can even afford a glass of wine to accompany your lunch as the prices start at just €2.50.
Photo credit: Grace
5. Cioccolateria Ballerini – pizza by the slice
This place is essentially a chocolate shop, but they also serve delicious pizza by the slice. The choices vary daily so there’s always something new to try. What makes the pizza really special is the crust, which is made from deliciously salty schiacciata bread – a Tuscan specialty. For dessert you can grab a pistachio cookie or some chocolates.
Photo credit: Ballerini
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