Finding a restaurant that offers both home-style foods and a welcoming atmosphere for a good price can take some strolling through the back streets of Florence in order to find.
If you’re not planning on staying in some of the outskirts of the city, then you should think about looking into the central osteria Il Gatto e Volpe. It’s become one of Florence’s hidden treasures among both expats and locals, and it provides some of the best food in the city without breaking the bank. The recipes are hearty and just what you need after a long day of walking.
You don’t need to have a reservation to enjoy this old-fashioned ristorante, which is located near the Santa Croce region and just across from the Bargello. Think about stopping by a little early to avoid the crowds, though; it’s a popular spot among the study abroad students in the Santa Croce area who want a real Italian meal.
A perfectly cooked steak Fiorentina — Photo courtesy of Il Gatto e La Volpe
The pasta is the real reason for coming here. With so many different options, ordering a few different kinds is the best way to sample some of the Tuscan area’s most famous dishes.
Il Gatto a Volpe is well-known throughout the city for its delicious rose sauce, a traditional recipe handed down for generations. You can’t go wrong by ordering a plate or two of the gnocchi and sharing it family-style with the other guests at your table.
This is definitely a good place for a large group, since there's plenty of room and plenty of staff to help you with any requests or suggestions that you might need.
Il gatto e volpe are originally characters from the Pinocchio myth, which you will find is a large influence on Florentine and Tuscan culture. They were the crafty cat and fox trying to lead the unsuspecting puppet to his death by murdering him. Pinocchio escapes, but it remains a theme for children throughout the story: don’t trust strangers.
The fun, fanciful sign at Il Gato — Photo courtesy of Il Gatto e La Volpe
However, you can trust the meal at Il Gatto e la Volpe to be delicious and to have amazing service. It’s open every day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. even on Mondays, a day Florentine restaurants usually take off.
Remember to order some of the house wine. It’s a cheaper bottle than what you will find at the local grocery store, and it’s a smooth-bodied chianti.
Also, remember to take your time and enjoy the meal. This is one of the best spots in the city to relax and enjoy, as you feast on a heaping plate of pasta.