There are two noteworthy places, both are simple and delicious.
Trattoria Mario– a hole in the wall right by the market in the old part of Florence. Simple, daily changing food according to whats fresh on the market. Open only for lunch so be patient while waiting for your table as it is on a first come first serve basis. Your wait will be rewarded. Communal tables, bread on a napkin and a plastic table cloth await you together with fresh pasta, soup and meat. We opted for the local specialty Bistecca Florentina, 33 Euro/kg, when a portion is about 900gr or so (yes we shared…); it is a beautiful cut, a T-bone, grilled to a perfect medium-rare; the specialty is not only in the grilling but in the local cows :) Eating with your hands is encouraged…
Address: 2 Via Rosina Tel: 055 – 218550
Gusta Pizza on via Maggio the corner of via de’Michelozzi (on the opposite side of the Arno) – the tables are made of wine barrels, the menu consists of less than ten types of pizza and it is oh so good! We had the Calabrese and the Gusto which had lots of fresh tomatoes, rucola, olive oil and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano.
Address: 46R via Maggio Tel: 055285068
Hotel: Relais Campanile, the most expensive and the only bad hotel we stayed at throughout our holiday – it was noisy, the AC did not work so it made it difficult to close the windows, the window faced the back terrace of a bar, mosquitos were a real pain and breakfast was a joke.
The world ice cream champion, the only icecream shop on the main piazza in San Gimignano that does not have chairs (or tables) outside. It is the best ice cream I have ever had. Three times ;)
I do encourage you to taste a local specialty which has nothing to do with ice cream…Wild Boar, they are plentiful in the area (we saw some running in the vineyards) and many shops offer salami and other ways of preparation; they are also served in restaurants.
La Vecchia Lira –they have a counter where you point at the things that look good (and they all do…) and take them for to go or eat in; they also have a sit down menu which is worth exploring. We chose the papardelle with wild boar ragu and let me tell you it beats spaghetti Bolognese on any day!
Address: 19 via Matteotti Tel: 0588 86180
Hotel: we stayed at the lovely Fattoria San Donato, about 15 minutes drive from San Gimignano. Nice rooms, very hospitable owners, beautiful views and delicious breakfast. If you go there and they are serving dinner don’t pass on it under any circumstances!!!