Trattoria Quattro Leoni
Just a 100 yards or so across the Ponte Vecchio, in Piazza della Passera, you will find a hidden square with this quaint unassuming restaurant. It was filled mostly with locals but also tourists who were willing to venture off the beaten path. You will need a reservation, it was completely booked on a Thursday night until after 10, inside and outside. There are so many English speaking tourists in Florence that we always found someone who spoke enough English to explain the menu. Our waiter was so helpful and made great suggestions. When I don’t speak the language, I try to get recommendations for wine and food, and rarely do I get a bad suggestion.
We started with the meat and cheese antipasto, we were in Tuscany after all. An interesting twist was that it was served with honey which paired perfectly with the aged cheeses and cured meats. From there we had the house specialty Fagottini di peer e asparagi which is pasta, filled with pears and ricotta and served with a cheese sauce and asparagus. I Later learned that they created this dish and are very well known for it throughout the region.
While the food was phenomenal, our waiter made the meal even more enjoyable. He suggested a nice wine and then had to point us in the right direction off the square to get us back to our hotel. What a wonderful experience. The place was full of young people, older folks, mostly locals and a few tourists. A great place to soak in some local flavor and enjoy a fantastic meal. We found after trying several more upscale restaurants, that we enjoyed the more informal spots in Italy the best.
One drawback to eating so late every night was that it was too dark for pictures. You will just have to take my word for it.