Our Top Selections in the City Center
I often find myself in the center of Florence at lunch hour, but often with very little time for a sit down meal. The perfect solution for me in this case is a delicious panino, especially since in the city center there are several “paninerie e vinaini” (sandwich and wine shops) which prepare excellent panini and offer a good price / quality relationship. It’s tough to find someone who will say no to a good panino (Italian styled sandwich) everyone enjoys the flavors: from a friend to a colleague at work, even your kids. That’s the beauty of street food, it is truly versatile.
In fact, often at lunchtime rush hour you will note that certain shops have a long line in front of them: so just keep this i mind if you want to stop at one of the more well known places on our list.
Below you will find a list of my favorite stops, those places that tempt your tastebuds (without draining your wallet). You will note that the more famous places for a panino are even listed in restaurant guides!
In these select places you will find “classic” panini, prepared with genuine Tuscan bread, “schiacciata” (or sometimes called focaccia), or a type of soft white bread called a “rosette” (but this is not a typical Tuscan type of bread). The base of a panino is then filled with sauces, cheese and salumi - and as tradition would have it, it should always be accompanied by a glass of Chianti wine.
Panini with the mythical “trippa” or “lampredotto”, are other good examples of Florentine Street Food, and you can reamore about then in our article here.
THe 3 BEST KNOWN PLACES
this is one of the historic wine shops in Florence and thanks to the use of both social media and good marketing, they probably have one of the best ratings in the city. If the idea of waiting in line doesn’t scare you off, then once you taste the panini you will have to agree they are good.
Practically across the street there is the “osteria”, for those who prefer a sit down restaurant with an authentic Tuscan menu
Where to find "All' Antico Vinaio": via de’ Neri 74R (near Piazza della Signoria)
I DUE FRATELLINI
The little sandwich shop “I due fratellini” (the two brothers) has its origins in 1875, and they like you to know that they have been around that long! They open up directly on to the street and don’t boast a lot of room but this doesn’t stop the people from lining up for a panino. You will find almost 30 different combinations of fillers including those with and without salumi. If you are really hungry, one might not be enough! The average cost is 4 Euro a panino.
Where to find "I due fratellini": via de’Cimatori 38R.
LA PROSCIUTTERIA FIRENZE
This little shop is also located behind Palazzo Vecchio, and La Prosciutteria Firenze proposes excellent schiacciate with salumi, platters with a wide selection of typical Tuscany delights and even a couple of vegetarian options (hard to imagine when surrounded by prosciutto and salumi)! Here you can choose to sit inside or outside, you need to have a bit of luck on your side to find an empty seat - remember you are still in the busy city center. The atmosphere is a bit nostalgic even if a tad bit touristy, but the authentic flavors attract both locals and non.
Where to find "La Prosciutteria Firenze": via de’Neri 54R.
3 PLACES YOU JUST “MUST” TRY
Can panini really be “chic”? SandwiChic highlights the quality of the ingredients and the special attention that they give to combining just the right flavors for a fabulous end result. What will probably strike you just a bit odd as you walk in, is that they kept the decor of the prior activity that occupied this space: a merchant’s shop. This little sandwich shop proposes select products, ranging from artisan salumi to homemade sauces and creams. Their menu has encompasses many delicious options, but if you are having trouble deciding - then you can have one tailor made for you!
Where to find "SandwiChic": via San Gallo 3.
You can’t get more central than here - in Piazza del Duomo - and needless to say their clientele is largely visitors to this great city. However, I appreciate the attention that they pay to everyone looking for the genuine flavors of Tuscany and especially since they give you the opportunity to taste test the various products, assuring you of a sandwich you can really sink your teeth into for lunch. They get my stamp of approval for their generous Tuscan style welcome.
Where to find "Panini Toscani": Piazza del Duomo 34/R.
DUE SORSI & UN BOCCONE
Schiacciata or focaccia filled with your favorite selection! That’s the way they roll at Due Sorsi & un Boccone, nothing fancy - just the flavor. You can choose 4 ingredients from a long list of delights with a good price/quality ratio. The atmosphere is informal, with soft musical notes floating in the air: pleasant and not invasive. I suggest that you give the crepes a try as well, stuffing them with the same ingredients as the panini.
Where to find "Due sorsi & un boccone": via degli Alfani 105.
3 OF THE MOST ORIGINAL SHOPS
The name of the shop, located just a short distance from the Duomo, is actually a play on words in Italian, but you don’t need to understand the pun to appreciate their delicious toasted sandwiches. They feature three different types of bread both savory and sweet and then proceed to fill them with yummy ingredients. They are truly super size and literally stuffed! For me to finish one of these sandwiches off on my own...I need to start with a super-size sense of hunger!
Where to find "I' Tosto": via de’Servi 8R.
Amblè is not your classic panino shop, immediately evident by the eclectic choice in decor and the Bohemian atmosphere. They feature a menu of rather original recipes and “tramezzini” - which are sandwiches made with sliced bread and fillings. You can enjoy your choice either indoors or outdoors in a secluded little corner of Florence near the Arno river. They also have a tasty selection of drinks including fruit and centrifuge. The menu caters to those looking for a “healthy” selection and the vegetarians in the group.
Where to find "Amblè": Piazzetta dei Del Bene 7A.
This little place is close to Mercato di Sant’Ambrogio, and uses the traditional flavours but with a gourmet twist, thus creating a list of … how shall I say this … unusual, and perhaps not everyone’s cup of tea. If you are curious you will find exotic meats, sandwiches made with ragu (classic Italian meat sauce), or cacciucco (Livorno style fish soup), all this accompanied by the ever present glass of red wine.
Where to find "Semel": Piazza Ghiberti 44R.
Do you have a favorite panino shop in Florence that I didn’t mention?
Let us know about it, we are always ready to try something new!