Finding something to eat at one of Florence’s many restaurants can be a challenge or relatively easy, depending if you know where to go. One of the best places to try on the other side of the river is Osteria Santo Spirito. It’s a favorite among locals and tourists alike, and you'll find it crowded at both the lunch and dinner hours.
No doubt you will want to try some of the appetizers that the Osteria Santo Spirito is famous throughout town for. From crisp, baked bruschetta to steamed mussels and clams that will make your mouth water, the restaurant offers up large-style plates for a great price.
Pasta at Osteria Santo Spirito — Photo courtesy of Emma Sparks
One of their most popular antipasto dishes is the Zuppa di Cozze con Pane Agliato, or mussels with garlic bread. The mussels are steamed and then placed inside a bread bowl that you can dip in the savory juices from the seafood. It’s a giant dish and more than enough to feed a large table family-style.
For dinner, you must order the Gnocchi Gratinati. It's by far the most popular dish on the menu, and it only takes one bite to see why. Drenched in truffle oil and baked until the gorgonzola on the top is just browned, it’s served to you moments after it's come out of the oven.
One of the best parts of eating here is the ridotto (or "reduced") price. Instead of paying 10 euro, you can often get your favorite dish for half price for a smaller portion. Even still, these portions are more than enough to feed you by yourself.
The house wine is good, and you can get it by the carafe for 10 euro. It’s something to keep in mind when you go to pretty much any restaurant in Italy that you can usually get a great wine for fairly cheap by ordering the house. It’s a good deal – high quality red for a reasonable price.
Because Osteria Santo Spirito is so busy pretty much year-round, a reservation in necessary. The best time to make a reservation is when tourist season has not yet started or has died down a bit. Keep in mind, too, that Italians usually eat later. So if you make a reservation for earlier rather than later, you might miss out on the whole cache of the hustle and bustle of eating at a Florentine restaurant.
When you want to get away from the touristy spots and partake in an authentic meal, Osteria Santo Spirito can be one of the best places in the Oltr’arno area of the city to do so. Get ready to open some great chianti wine and enjoy a truly Italian dinner with your family.