Italy is known for having some of the best cuisine in the world. With several regions each specializing in different dishes using locally grown foods, there are unlimited choices when it comes to Italian cuisine. That being said, certain establishments in Florence, a well-traveled city in the region of Tuscany, have started taking unique approaches in their restaurants. We had the opportunity of speaking with several different restaurants in Florence about their businesses to find out what makes each one so unique.
Amblé's interior decor that is also for sale.
Amblé, a small restaurant in Florence, Italy, is owned by 3 collaborative individuals. Each individual saw a different vision to make this specific restaurant stand out among the thousand other restaurants that Florence has to offer. In an old, historic city filled with traditional hole in the wall restaurants serving classic meals, places such as Amble allow a generation filled with a more trendy aesthetic to feel at home. As their website says, “there is a style for vintage right now.” The real question is what makes this restaurant different from the others? Last week a few of us were able to dine with and interview one of the owners. He shared a little insight on the restaurant. Amblé started as one of the only restaurants in Italy making a ‘sandwich’ unlike other restaurants that make the ‘panini’. The owner said, “the customer come back because they can understand our product is very good without chemical things inside, it’s all natural.” The customers know the quality of food that Amblé has and that brings them right back. Amblé also uses the farm to table method, “we buy everyday fruit only from Italy and we buy the meats and the fish only from near Florence. We buy many things from zero kilometers [away] which is from Florence to 70 kilometers outside of Florence. We buy in San Gimignano the turkey, roast ham and the ham.” Not only is Amblé different for the use of the ‘sandwich’ but it also sells vintage furniture. One of the owners really wanted to bring variety to the table and that is exactly what she did.Part of Amble’s trendy charm is the ability to purchase the piece of furniture you sit on while having a cocktail at the establishment The tables and chairs that are seen in the restaurant, used for the enjoyment of your food, and seen on their website is all for sale. In an old city, perhaps this resonates with old souls. The place is an urban hipster’s dream: colorful vintage maps line the walls customers sit next to in their vintage chairs while eating nothing but the freshest food.
Amble’s restaurant guidelines.
A typical turkey Amblé sandwich.
Tucked behind a humble bookstore you will find a gem in Florence. Todo Modo is a unique cafe that locals adore. It sets itself above the hundreds of other cafes because of the quality of their food and products. For example, they do not use normal nutella because of its unhealthy ingredients like palm oil. They prefer to use a different chocolate hazelnut spread that although unhealthy, is made of only natural ingredients. Their menu, it italian and written on the board, changes daily and everything is made fresh and organic. Their chef churns out various dishes each hour in the tiny hidden away kitchen. There is a wide variety of options ranging from typical italian dishes such as a croissants and pastas to uncommon options such as vegan pasta. When visiting, the co chefs introduced themselves. One was an outgoing man named Michealangelo and the other was a shy humble woman. Being able to meet the chefs and seeing their passion for using fresh, local ingredients makes the food taste even better.
Being a cafe, like others in Florence there is a surplus of coffee. However, unlike other cafes Todo Modo has late hours and a daily aperitivo. It also hosts many events such as book signings and movie nights. Last week they played a film that was made from hundreds of clips from romantic movies all put together in one. The most interesting aspect of this film is that it is silent, and they had a live band come into the shop to play the soundtrack.
One of the most unique aspects of Todo Modo is how hidden it is. When speaking with one of the employees, she said “Not many people know about [Todo Modo] because it is a small shop on the side of the road.” This makes the atmosphere quiet, yet comfortable and friendly. They strive for customers to feel at home and at ease. This is a place where you can enjoy a healthy meal and read a book at the same time. Another aspect that separates Todo Modo from other cafes is that they change their menu every day. Regular customers are surprised with the changes and are excited to come back and see the new selection. “I like surprising people with the menu. It is better this way,” one of the Todo Modo employees exclaimed. Customers are drawn to these distinctive features, which makes Todo Modo one of the most enjoyable spots in Florence.
Todo Modo's naturalistic interior design.
An inside peek at the very back of Todo Modo, students are seen studying.
Quinoa Restaurant outdoor patio.
Ristorante Quinoa is a rather new, gluten free option located in Florence, Italy. The owner got the inspiration for this type of restaurant because there is nothing else like it in Florence. Especially being the pizza and pasta (gluten) capital, it was time for a change, and for a new restaurant for those who have a gluten intolerance. Quinoa is based in a public area, so those who just would like to sit and relax with their computers are free to do so without the pressure of sitting down for a meal. Locals come at peak hours and order gluten free meals that make you forget you’re not including gluten. From choices of pad thai to salmon salad to veggie burgers, the menu is very broad with many different healthy options. It doesn’t solely focus on Quinoa but has the name of this superfood because of its diverse health benefits.
Quinoa salads accompanied by their fresh artisan bread.
With all of the italian cuisine spread throughout the city of Florence one might think a variety of food is limited. However, that is quite the opposite as visitors and Florentine people alike have discovered all of the eclectic places tucked in each and every corner of the city. From vegan to vegetarian, gluten free, changing daily menus, and organic cafes, Firenze knows how to keep their cuisine fresh and fun. Amble, Quinoa, and Todo Modo are just a few of many unique spots people can go to enjoy delicious treats and a one of a kind atmosphere.