Fantastic food in Florence with an amazing array of gluten free options.
Last week I posted about my lovely weekend away to the beautiful city of Florence. You may have noticed that my last two recipes were inspired by my trip so as promised here is a post dedicated to its wonderful food. Before I had even boarded the plane I had received so many recommendations for gluten dining in Florence so I was excited to try a few out. Even away from the recommendations most restaurants have a ‘senza glutine’ offering so I was never stuck for somewhere to eat.
Our first dinner at Da Garibardi was shared with us by @gaynordrake which is just outside the San Lorenzo Market in the Piazza del Mercato Centrale. Jon and I were able to share bruschetta followed by ficattole, pockets of pizza dough with ham and cheese, both of which were gluten free.
The brushetta was crunchy and crispy, just the way it should be, topped with gorgeous super fresh tomatoes. I enjoyed it so much I created my own variation on Monday. I was slightly disappointed with the other starter as I was expecting some kind of sharing pizza from the description but perhaps this is how they are able to offer it gluten free. However the meal was quickly back on track as I had ordered a gluten free ham and mushroom pizza, with a crispy thin base and full of toppings. One thing that always bothers me is the lack of cheese on gluten free pizzas, but Italy gets this right every time!
Ciro & Sons was another great restaurant choice shared with us by @gftraveldiaries with fresh gluten free pasta with the biggest king prawns and a creamy tomato sauce to set it off, it was probably the best I have ever eaten! We also managed to squeeze in dessert here and I went for a banoffee cheesecake, although I was spoilt for choice, no fruit salad in sight!
Another place definitely worth popping into is Mercato Centrale. Downstairs is a huge food market with fresh fruit, stacks of cheese and plenty of meat, if you had a self catering apartment you could definitely come here and pick up some good deals on Italian food to cook at home. My main recommendation however is to head upstairs where you will find an indoor street food market. Everywhere you look are stalls serving different types of authentic Italian food plus a number of places to try some great wine. I had some great pork ribs while I was here and Jon tried a Florentine specialty, tripe sandwich, which I’m glad I avoided! It’s worth popping in here if the weather isn’t great as it’s under cover and open till midnight on most days. It is also full of locals which is always a good gauge of food quality and creates a great atmosphere.
Trattoria Zaza was another great find from a few of you on Twitter. Here we tucked into the restaurants specialty, spaghetti carbonara with truffle. The truffle definitely added an extra wow to carbonara and it was great that Jon and I could eat the same food and enjoy it together.
If you are looking for a quick lunch I would highly recommend popping to Starbene, a gluten free patisserie recommended by @gaynordrake again. The woman in the shop must have thought we were mad as Jon and I sat for a good hour munching our way through and taking photos of the whole counter from savoury to sweet. Everything in store was gluten free so we tried focaccia, pizza and calzone followed by all manner of biscuits and coconut cakes.
We finished our holiday with another local specialty Bistecca alla Fiorentina which is essentially the biggest steak they have available at the time of ordering! This 1.2kg piece of steak is ordered to share and when it arrived it was so thick and juicy, cooked to utter perfection. Jon and I really had to take our time savouring the meal as we had a long day travelling home ahead and it went down a treat.
You really will be spoilt for choice for food in Florence. It doesn’t really get much better than this, dining and sharing wine within the gorgeous sights, Florence is really a perfect holiday destination.