WARNING — A TON OF SUPERLATIVES INTHIS POST!
The food gods are shined down on us in Florence. The first restaurant was a family owned trattoria one block down our street. For lunch they had a 9 euro set menu that includes an entree, side, and water bottle The serving sizes were perfect and the waiter pointed out every single gluten-free option. My husband settled on a chicken and ham dish with a side of potatoes and I got salad and a beef steak.
For dinner, we went to the wonderful i’Toscano. Almost all the appetizers, entrees, and desserts are gluten-free. Both our dishes were gluten-free, including this amazing fried chicken that was plated nicely on a wood plank. My husband — who is a fried chicken afficianado — ate everything off the plank, including the perfectly fried rosemary. We spent hours at the restaurant eating and capped the evening off with a wonderful apple tarte for me and a pannacotte for El hubs.
For lunch the next, day, we had reservations at Buca dell’orfo. Our AirBNB host had recommended the place as a local favorite not to be missed. Reservations are a must at this tiny restaurant right next to the Ponte Vecchio. The restaurant only has about 7 tables and their menu is entirely in Italian. There weren’t many options without gluten and tomato so the waiter suggested a beef and cheese dish. My dish was incredible with perfectly seared beef slices topped with lightly fried herbs and pecorino cheese, all covered with olive oil. It was so good that I wanted to lick my plate! For dessert I got a caramelized pear which had been marinated in simple syrup, wine, and spices. So good!
My husband had an equally amazing dish — lightly breaded and fired chicken and artichoke. The food was priced reasonably for the quality – the only downside was the 8 euro 750ml of water. Every bite was so unforgettable though that the ridiculous water was worth the cost of entry.
Gluten-free can be found at some unexpected places in Florence and in the outlying regions. For those with more mild gluten issues who don’t need food to be prepared in separate facilities, I found that it can never hurt to ask if there are any options that are senza glutine. For example, this morning my husband stopped at a bakery and I was resigned to eating the remains of my white chocolate bar for breakfast. When we walked into the Deanna Terracafe (right off the square at the Santa Maria Novella station), I found a large sign saying that there were gluten-free options on the piano level. I walked upstairs to find croissants, tarts, and some prepackaged gluten-free cookies.
My luck continued on our day trip to the Cinque Terre. Our tour guide spent the day reminding us of the amazing wine tasting and fried bread. When we finally got to the fried bread shop, I asked if they had anything senza glutine and he told me that he had a chickpea bread in the oven. It was the perfect snack after a long day of hiking. I found the same bread again at the first village – this time with zucchini and onions.
My husband’s pain frito or fried bread.