10 Delizioso Restaurants To Dine At While You're In Florence, Italy

10 Delizioso Restaurants To Dine At While You're In Florence, Italy

Carbs, on carbs, on carbs.
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When you think of Italy, you immediately think of pizza, pasta, wine, and gelato. After living abroad in Florence for four months, I got the chance to try out various different restaurants. Here are some food spots that you cannot miss out on if you ever find yourself visiting the beautiful city of Florence.

1. Acqua al Due

This may look like a piece of chocolate cake, however, it is actually a balsamic drizzled fillet from one of the most popular restaurants in Florence, bringing in both locals and tourists. If you are anything like me, deciding on what to order at an Italian restaurant is almost impossible, but Acqua al Due has the solution to that. What sets this restaurant apart from the rest of them are the steak, pasta, and dessert samplers, which serves small portions of the restaurants best pastas, steaks, and desserts. Customers can enjoy various different menu items without going through the struggle of choosing just one. On top of that, every single item they bring out is absolutely outstanding. If you are thinking of dining here, make sure that you reserve a table in advance, because this is a fan favorite for all.

2. Il Gatto e La Volpe

If you are looking for the perfect family style dinner spot, then you need to pay a visit to Il Gatto e La Volpe. All for 20 euros, you get to enjoy an assorted appetizer platter, 4 different types of pastas (as pictured above), and a half liter of wine per person. I never left a meal here unsatisfied or hungry. There is nothing but good things about this place.

3. All'Antico Vinaio

Here it is, the most famous panini place in all of Florence. Don't let the lines expanding down the streets steer you away from this place because the panini's make it well worth the wait. My advice is to go when it isn't prime lunch or dinner time to avoid waiting in the line, but whatever you do, you have to pay All'Antico Vinaio a visit. Pictured above is "The Boss," which is a panini filled with turkey, mozzarella, prosciutto, and truffle cream. This was probably one of the best sandwiches that I have had in my entire life.

4. Gustapizza

The only thing better than pizza is heart-shaped pizza. Another food spot that absolutely exceeds all of its expectations is Gustapizza. My personal favorite is the pesto pizza, but no matter what you order, you will not leave this place unsatisfied. Gusta's is a great lunch spot after walking around and touring the city all day long.

5. Ristorante Trattoria Dante

Attention all study abroad students in Florence, Dante's is calling your name! Tell your server the name of the institution that you are studying at in Florence and they will give you free bottomless wine with your meal. It really can't get much better than that. The free wine goes nicely with anything you order here, but I recommend the truffle sausage gnocchi. Dante's is a fun place to go for a big dinner with a bunch of friends.

6. Osteria Santo Spirito

There really isn't anything better than gnocchi baked with cheese and truffle cream. This dish was recommended to me by people who had eaten at Osteria Santo Spirito before, and it certainly exceeded all of the high expectations that I had for it. This gnocchi was one of my most memorable meals while in Florence and it is not something to miss out on.

7. Los Chicos

This restaurant is the Chipotle of Florence. From burritos, to quesadillas, to nachos (pictured above), and just about every Mexican food that you could possibly think of, you can get it at Los Chicos. What's even better is that it stays open until 4 AM every night, and there is no better way to satisfy your late night food cravings than with some Mexican food. Whoever said Italy can only do Italian food was seriously mistaken!

8. Le Vespe Cafe

When you need a break from the constant pizza and pasta of Italy, it's very comforting to find food that is a bit more Americanized. Pictured above is a bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich from one of my favorite cafe's in Florence. This meal is a great change from the typical croissant and cappuccino breakfast of Italy.

9. "Window Pizza"

This place is seriously a hidden gem. Located right in the center of one of the best nightlife areas in the city, this window pizza stand stays open until 3 in the morning, and for only 3 euros you get to enjoy a decently sized slice that tastes incredible.

10. Trattoria Zà Zà

If there is one restaurant that you absolutely cannot miss while in Florence, that is ZaZa's. Hands down, the meal (or should I say meals) that I had here was easily the best thing that I have tasted in my entire life. Besides the food being absolutely to die for, the ambiance of the restaurant is so inviting, making the dining experience that much better. Pictured above is one of my favorite dishes at ZaZa's, gnocchi with gorgonzola cheese and truffle, which I highly recommend trying out. However, you will not regret any dish that you order here.

Cover Image Credit: Mara Gordon

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I'm The Customer That Doesn't Always Tip 20 Percent

I can be your best friend or your worst nightmare, but it depends on YOU.
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As a server, I fully understand that myself, and others like me, make a living off of our tips.

I know how nice it is to get a $50 tip and how frustrating it is to get merely change when you did everything you could to make the unpleasable table happy. I am well aware that an acceptable tip is anywhere from 15-20% and I typically tip way over that.
However, I can easily say that there have been times where I have tipped anywhere from 5-15%. In these times, the tip was well deserved...or not deserved.

As before mentioned, I am a server, bartender, and part-time restaurant manager. It is safe to say that I know the business quite well. This makes me aware of the tipping process and what is deemed acceptable, but it also makes me aware of what a serving job entails. We are, without a doubt, the worst critics when we are out to eat. We noticed everything you did or didn't do and we timed how long it took to get our drinks -- it's just in our blood.

We also notice if you are genuinely good at your job, or if you are just there to be there.

The key point to any serving job is knowledge. I, as a customer, expect you to be able to answer almost all of my questions. If I ask you something absurd like "exactly where was your lettuce grown?" ....Like what the f****? Who knows that? But when I ask what beers you have on draft, or what all comes on a salad, I expect you to know it. If you don't, I dock it off your tip. No, it's not mean, it's you not holding up your end of the deal when you started this job.

I know that sometimes you get busy and it's hard to cater to someone's every need, but I do expect my refills in a timely manner and would also expect you to check back with me shortly after I get my food to make sure everything tastes good. I feel like that all is just common sense. If I have to wait for five minutes with an empty glass before I even have the chance to call you over, that's going to affect your tip. If you never check up on me after I get my food, guess what, I take it off your tip. If something goes wrong in the kitchen or you forgot to put my order in, do not avoid me. Tell me. I know how hard it is to tell a table that you are the one who screwed up their experience, but it is so much better to be honest and shows more about your integrity than by saying, "I don't know, the kitchen lost your ticket. There was a computer malfunction and then things caught fire. The firemen had to come and put it out, and then they found your ticket under the smoldering embers...so that's why your steak is five minutes late.".... Just tell me you got busy and it slipped your mind. I'm okay with that.

The worst one to me is when I see my server on her phone. I know that today's generation has some need to be in contact with everyone 24/7 and I have learned to accept that. But when I need something at my table, and you fail to notice because your girl friend just broke up with her boyfriend who cheated on her with his supposed best friend...I'm not going to be happy. You are here to work and this is your job. And, not to be conceded, but I come first. I am the one paying the bill that allows you to keep that phone your on in service, so make sure that I am happy before Samantha can't call you the next time shit hits the fan with Andrew. It's common sense.

Despite all of these, probably the number one thing I look for in a server is a positive attitude. We all have our own lives outside of work, and not to be cold, but I don't really care about yours. I am here for a nice dinner and a night out to not worry about my own crazy life let alone wonder about yours. As soon as you walk into work, the outside world needs to stay there. Do not be in a terrible mood because your girlfriend is psycho. Do not show the customer that you simply don't want to be at work. You don't want to be -- I don't tip you. Easy as that. If you engage in even a small conversation with me, I will tip you more than expected. I am extremely easy to please and really understanding.

I know that every place is different and every store/restaurant has different standards, but I the guest-service industry all lies on the same guidelines. The number one rule is to make the guest happy. I am not that guest who asks for the world from my server. Nor am I that guest who doesn't tip my server if my food came out overcooked or doesn't taste good. I know what lies on the server and what lies in other areas of the store. I know what they can and can't control.
As a customer, I can be your best or your worst, but that all lies on the service that I receive from YOU.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia

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Pho Fixes Everything

A bowl a pho keeps everything bad away.

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Pho might just be the best thing my taste buds have ever endured. If you haven't had pho, you're missing out. It's a Vietnamese soup, but it's not just any soup; it's the soup to my heart.

And no, this is not like ramen. It makes ramen look like random noodles in a bowl of water….yeah I know that's basically what it is, but you get the point.

Pho helps with everything. Having a bad day? Pho. Want to have 2 meals, one here and one to go? Pho. Bad break up? Pho. Need some emotional support? PHO IT UP.

Best part, there are so many options for pho. If you're vegetarian, no worries, there's pho for you. If you don't like spice, no worries! There's pho for you! If you love different kinds of meats… THERE'S PHO FOR YOU.

Please, everyone, just go get a bowl of pho and be happy. Doesn't matter if it's 100 degrees out or -13, pho is still amazing. You won't regret it.

Not going to lie, I'm craving it just from typing this.

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