Category Archives: Florence

Il Mandarino

Via della Condotta
Firenze, Italia

Yes, it’s strange to be eating Chinese food in Florence, but we had with us S, who was quite sick, and wanted some Chinese food, so we asked around, and were directed to Il Mandarino, along Via della Condotta. The first time we were there we had take out, since S was back in the hostel room resting. We got her some wonton soup and a seafood noodle soup. While waiting we chatted with the waiter, and we discovered that Il Mandarino is the only Chinese restaurant in the neighbourhood. They rely a lot on tour groups from China and Japan who go there for meals. Their location is quite unbeatable, literally a stone’s throw from the Uffizi, and so rental is extremely high.

We can’t comment on the quality of the take away, since we didn’t eat any of it. In any case, we told them that the food was meant for our friend who was sick, so they made sure that they prepared the food with minimal salt and minimal oil.

The next day we went there for lunch, since S was still quite under the weather. We were there before opening hours, but they let us in anyway. Sure enough there were 3 tour groups there for lunch while we ate. The servers were all really nice, and wouldn’t stop apologizing for any shortcomings in service or service times since they were really busy catering to the tour groups. This was truly night and day from the horrible service one would get in a Chinese restaurant in London.

 

The food was quite average unfortunately. The Cantonese fried rice that S had was quite nice, though she did complain that it was a little to oily and salty.

I ordered the seafood noodle soup, and there was obviously a dash of vinegar added to the soup, which I didn’t really like.

A had steamed rice with tofu, which was really yummy and satisfying, and also some sweet and sour pork, which was also quite nice.

Overall, the food isn’t anything to rave about. They clearly don’t rely on repeat business since they cater mainly to tour groups, who have no choice of restaurants, and go along with whichever restaurant the tour company has decided on. However, we were very impressed by the service and by how accommodating they were to our requests. It is for this reason alone that we have included this review in our blog.

Service: 8/10
Food: 6/10

Grom

Via delle Oche, 24-red
50122 Firenze
055 216158

S brought us to this gelateria very near the duomo in Florence. It was quite early in the day, a little surprising to have gelato then, but hey, when in Florence the gelato is so good that I would have it for breakfast if I could.

 

Grom serves very good gelato indeed. The gelato is handmade, and there is a live demonstration to the side of the shop for tourists to see the gelato making process. We had the hazelnut, pistachio, melon and stracciatella. Everything was heavenly. The stracciatella was a little too subtle, and the white chocolate could be slightly stronger, but it was still pretty good. We seem to have developed a liking for the flavor combination of pistachio and hazelnut, and we have started using this combination as a control to test the quality of a gelateria.

Grom passes with flying colours. The gelato here is very smooth and really top-grade. The bits of hazelnut and pistachio really add flavor and complement the texture of the gelato. In the land of a million gelaterias, this is one of the best. We liked it so much we went out of our way to go back for more on our second day in Florence.

Food: 7.5/10

Gelateria dei Neri

Via dei Neri 20-22r
Florence 50125
055 21 0034

It is almost a fact that the best gelato can be found in Italy, and of all the cities in Italy, the one with the highest quality of gelato is probably Florence. Indeed, every gelato we’ve had in Florence was fantastic, and believe me, we had many many gelatos (gelati?) in our 3 days in Florence. We practically had one before lunch, one after lunch, one for tea, one before dinner, and one after dinner. Of all the gelato stalls in Italy, our favorite would be Neri.

 

The selection of gelato at Neri is immense, and we had a very good time trying many of their flavors before deciding which ones we wanted to buy. The servers were nice and very patient with us. The gelato was definitely freshly made, and every one of them was full of natural flavor. The best thing is that Neri is located very near to Trattoria Anita, where we had our fantastic beef steak, so it was very convenient for us to pop by for dessert after a satisfying dinner, which made the meal just simply perfect.

Trattoria Anita

Via del Parlascio 2/r
I-50122 Florence
055 21 8698

Bistecca Alla Fiorentina is an amazingly mouthwateringly good steak, perhaps, as inferred from its name, found only in Florence. When we were in Florence, we followed our guide book’s recommendations and headed to Trattoria Anita for lunch. For just 10euros (it might be more expensive now) we had a choice of lunch sets. A had one set which came with a plate of pasta and salad, which was just alright, and I had the Bistecca Alla Fiorentina, which was so amazing that we went back the next day for dinner to have it again.

 

Dinner was much better than lunch. We had a parma ham and mozzarella starter which we don’t remember much of now (it was 2 years ago when we were there) and a bacon and tomato pasta for A and a carbonara for me which were far better than what we had for lunch. In fact, A loved her pasta very much and could remember it till date.

Once again, the Bistecca stole the show. It was equally good, if not better, than what we had for lunch. There’s something primal about attacking a huge beautiful piece of beef, and this was indeed a beautiful steak. It was very nicely grilled on the outside, and tender and full of flavor inside. For the beef itself we would have given Trattoria Anita an 8 for food, but it was let down but the other dishes we had during lunch, which were just average. In fact we love Bistecca Alla Fiorentina so much we’re going to make a trip back to Florence in summer this year in search for the perfect one! Watch this space!

Service: 7/10
Food: 7.5/10