Dinner In Florence

I arrived in Florence on friday night and there was still a little bit of daylight left so I started roaming. Whenever I go to new places, that’s just what I do. I’m a roamer. I didn’t even have any real maps. But I just started walking. I quickly realized how small Florence actually is and how amazingly walkable it is. Maps make it look big, but in reality, it’s quite small. You can walk everywhere and see everything. It’s hard to get lost because eventually, any street you walk down will end up somewhere familiar, like the train station, the river and any of its bridges, the duomo, this piazza or that piazza, so it’s hard to actually not know where you are, relatively.

I didn’t exactly know where I was going, but I had a couple of snippets of maps to get me to some major spots. I actually had a place picked out for dinner, but once I found it, it turned out to only be a lunch spot. Drat. So I had to just wing it as far as where to have dinner. This is how I ended up at Giannino. When you walk around in Florence, especially considering how touristy it is, all the restaurants have menus outside and sometimes, there are people who try to get you to come into their restaurant. I ended up here because really, it was a toss-up to me, and they didn’t have anyone out front.

When you first go in, the place isn’t that big. Or so you think. But then when you’re sitting, you see giant groups coming in. And you realize there’s a whole other dining room on the first floor, as well as seemingly giant rooms on the second floor. It turns out, this place is huge. Many of the restaurants have special menus that are a set number of euros and you get a few courses of specific dishes. The prices are quite reasonable too. I decided to just go a la carte. It’s a pretty big menu.

As opposed to where I was earlier this week, in Florence, they give you olive oil with your bread. I think this is fairly typical bread of Florence, but it was really bland. I didn’t care for its lack of flavor or its dry crumbly texture. And the olive oil, well it certainly looks green, and it tastes even greener than it is. It didn’t do it for me.

I went real italian and decided to get two dishes, a pasta and a meat. So for my pasta, the parpadelle with meat in a chianti sauce. I know it was friday, and it’s supposed to be fish on friday, but I ain’t catholic, so who cares. I picked it because on their menu, they have certain dishes marked as traditional florentine dishes. I wanted to try traditional, so I picked this one. This was super good! The pasta was nice and firm and the meat and sauce were highly flavorful and full of fresh herbs. Big thumbs up on this. And it was a really good sized portion. I was pretty much full.

Then came my chicken dish – chicken el diavlo (or something like that). It was the devil style chicken, devil, because it was supposed to be spicy. This was another dish that was traditional florentine. This chicken was cooked extremely well, tender, and juicy. But it was boring. So so so boring. It was just plain cooked chicken, and the skin had been brushed with some chili oil. There was nothing wrong with it, it was just too boring for me, and since I was fairly full, it wasn’t a big deal. I loved that it came with fries though, how traditional! But I ate them up because I really wanted a vegetable, even though I’m not sure how much a potato counts as a vegetable. I had some italian ketchup too, and it’s different than heinz or hunts, but I can’t exactly explain how it tastes different. It just does.

You’re in Florence, so all of the wait staff speaks english. So you don’t really have to worry. They’ll bring you an english menu by default. Service was quite fine. And the prices were reasonable too.

After dinner, I roamed around some more, and then ended my evening with some gelato. I mean, you can’t help yourself, because gelato spots are everywhere. There are multiple shops on every block. It’s like a requirement. I got some mixed berry and lemon, and it was a perfect way to end the night.

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