The great pasta escape
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The great pasta escape

Chock full of restaurants, pizzerias, bars and eateries, Florence has a reputation among Italians and foreigners alike as the place to find the best that Italian cuisine has to offer. However, not many know that the city is also rich in international cuisine, providing an escape from Italy's classic

Thu 17 Jan 2013 1:00 AM

Chock full
of restaurants, pizzerias, bars and eateries, Florence has a reputation among
Italians and foreigners alike as the place to find the best that Italian
cuisine has to offer. However, not many know that the city is also rich in
international cuisine, providing an escape from Italy’s classic dishes if even
just for one meal. Here, Leah Eades begins a guide to international food in
Florence. But with so many more possibilities on offer, especially in the
suburbs, we need our readers’ help in completing the list. Send your
suggestions (with valid reasons) of the best foreign food eateries in Florence


Don’t get me
wrong-we all love Italian food, and if we’re being honest we know that it’s the
real reason we are visiting, studying or living here-but there is a world of
cuisines out there. In a city full of international travelers and a growing
immigrant population, the possibility of exploring that wider world beckons.
Whether it’s for a taste of home or a bit of restaurant-chair travel, Florence
offers an increasingly wide array.





America gave
us brunch, and for that we thank her. Seeking a plate piled high with pancakes
in maple syrup? The Diner (via dell’Acqua 2, 055/290748, runs a daily all-American style brunch. Imported
goodies, not to mention the prerequisite burgers and fries, can also all be
taken out. The House of Sizzle Steak House (via dei Benci 33-35r,
055/2344909) has the prerequisite steaks as well as wings, burgers and, of
course, sports.


(via della Chiesa 34e,
055/219214, is the perfect place to grab an American-style
cupcake, muffin, club sandwich or bagel. Run by an Italian-American couple,
this family-friendly bakery has its own international book exchange: settle
down with a good read and enjoy a 1 euro cup of joe with unlimited free


If you want
to order in, try Bocca Bocca (, the latest food
delivery service to open in the city. Chose from a range of American and
English dishes, among them hamburgers, NY-style fried chicken, salads and
sweets; they’ll be at your door in a jiffy. American Salad & Co also offers home delivery and catering of a wide range of American classics and ethnic dishes (





For curry,
the general consensus seems to be that Haveli Indian Restaurant (viale
Fratelli Rosselli 31/33r, 055/355695, is the
place to go. In fact, it’s the only international restaurant in Trip Advisor’s
top 50 Florentine restaurants, which says something. In this restaurant
everything strives to be as authentically Indian as possible, from the
beautiful interiors to the ingredients.


For dim sum
and dumplings, the slightly out-of-the-way Rosticceria Casalinga (via del Leone 53r, 055/212862) is one of the best takeaways in town, and
it also delivers. More central, the recently opened Dim Sum (via dei
Neri 37r, 055/284331, offers a swankier haven in which
to enjoy handmade noodles and hot tea.


For those in
search of sushi, Florence has an abundance of options. You don’t have to look
far for nice Japanese restaurants: Mr. Sushi (piazza 1 Maggio 5/6,
055/3436316, is one obvious choice, and Momoyama (Borgo
San Frediano 10r, 055/291840, won a Traveller’s Choice Award
earlier this year.





Head to via
Ghibellina. If you’re lusting for some hearty Argentine steak just off the
grill, it’s got to be 7 Secoli (via Ghibellina 140, 055/245205,, where you can also enjoy imported wines,
empanadas, Dulce de Leche desserts and even mate.


Just a few
buildings further down ,you’ll find Tijuana (via Ghibellina 156r, T 055/
2341330 or via il Prato, 055/287247,, which, in
addition to all the fajitas you could wish for, hosts Mexican live music
nights, a daily happy hour (7-8pm) and features a wonderfully decorated
interior. The via Ghibellina location now also serves a range of burgers and
vegetarian dishes at lunch.





Eastern and African food is perhaps the hardest to find in Florence. Florence’s
first (and only?) Lebanese restaurant, Valle Dei Cedri (Borgo Santa
Croce 11r, 055/2346340, is one of the few places in the
city where you can find fresh hummus. However, don’t stop there: the 15 euro
‘la maza’-an assortment of 10 little plates of appetizers-is well worth a try.


Only a hop,
skip and a jump away from the Synagogue you’ll find Kosher Ruth’s (via
Luigi Carlo Farini 2a, 055/2480888,, which features an
eclectic menu of fish and vegetable dishes.





Longing for
(or curious to try) a decent cup of tea? Sure, a lot of places stock Twining’s
English Breakfast tea (often for triple the price of a coffee), however, I
recommend a visit to afternoon tea at the British Institute (Lungarno
Guicciardini 9, 055/26778270,, held every Thursday
from 3 to 6pm. For a euro or two’s donation, you can choose from a selection of
Fortnum & Mason tea (fancy!), nibble on traditional English biscuits and
other such goodies. You can also find British foods like Marmite, smoked
Scottish salmon, Darjeeling tea, and a Walkers Shortbread Assortment box at the
Old English Stores, which opened in 1924 to serve the British community
in Florence (via dei Vecchietti 28r, 055/211983,

Of course,
if you’re after something stronger than tea, there’s always the trusty English
or Irish pub. You’ve probably noticed by now that Florence is not exactly
lacking in this department. However, for the most authentic experience, pay a
visit to The Fiddler’s Elbow (piazza Santa Maria Novella 7r, 055/215056,, Florence’s first Irish pub, which has been serving
Guinness amidst walls littered with vintage drinking paraphernalia and Irish
witticisms since 1994. A lively place to watch football (or any other sporting
event), all pints costs just 4 euro before 9pm.





Vivi Market (via del Giglio 20r, 055/2648120) is an international
food store not far from the Duomo, which stocks all things Asian, Latin
American, British and American. A great source for ingredients for those who
fancy whipping up a curry or a stir-fry in their own kitchens, it’s also full
of imported comfort foods like PG Tips, marmite, Skippy peanut butter and Betty
Crocker cake mixes.


craving piazza, pasta and ribollita after reading this article? Remember that
Florence also boasts plenty of very affordable traditional restaurants. For a
list of the best cheap and traditional eats in the city, consult this article
in the TF archives:

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