al tranvai {florence}

Al Tranvai - Florence
Al Tranvai has the reputation of being one of those old fashioned, traditional restaurants in the working class neighborhood of San Frediano. But for some reason it often slips between the cracks of foodie destinations and is never on the top of anyone’s hit list.

It should be. Al Tranvai serves some of the best – and often creative food – in Florence, at an extremely reasonable price with some of the friendliest service around.

The restaurant, founded in 1985, is in the leafy and quiet Piazza Tasso. This is at the far reaches of the working class San Frediano neighborhood, and so way off most tourists tracks. The weird sounding  name refers to both it’s shape – long and skinny like a tram car – as well as the actual bright green tram car front that divides the dining room from the otherwise open kitchen. (to each his own)

Rustic wooden tables take the place of tram seats, running on either side of the restaurant. Daily specials (which change at lunch and dinner) are written up on the chalk board and a scrap of butcher’s paper taped to the wall.

Expect to find classics like pappa al pomodoro and ribollita. But don’t be surprised by more innovative offerings like risotto ai porri (leek risotto) and gnudi gorgonzola e asparagi (ricotta dumplings with blue cheese and asparagus.) 

Second courses are just as tempting. Again, they range from the uber classic : trippa, peposa (beef stew) and lesso rifatto (sauteed boiled beef) to somewhat lighter asparagus souffle. I loved the mix of bacala, potatoes and leeks that came served piping hot in its own cute, bright orange casserole dish. But for me their stellar dish is the coniglio fritto con zucchini: a huge pile of crispy fried rabbit served with equally crunchy spears of deep fried zucchini. I mean really, how often do you see fried rabbit on a menu? 

Save room for dessert, since the owner/chef is a master. The budino di castagne (chestunut pudding), served with purreed persimmon was a revelation. We also managed to grab the last slice of the thin, and intensely flavored, pear and chocolate tart.

Remember, this place is tiny. So make sure you buy your ticket reserve your seat on the tram ahead of time.
Al Tranvai - Florence

Ribollita - Al Tranvai, Florence

Gnudi al gorgonzola e asparagi - Al Tranvai, Florence

Asparagus souffle - Al Tranvai, Florence
Al Tranvai, Florence
Bacala con porri e patate - Al Tranvai, Florence

Coniglio fritto - Al Tranvai, Florence

Chestnut pudding, with persimmon sauce - Al Tranvai, Florence

Pear and chocolate tart - Al Tranvai, Florence

Al Tranvai, Florence

Al Tranvai
Piazza Torquato Tasso, 14r
50124 Florence
055 225 197

For more on eating in Florence, down load my app EAT FLORENCE available at iTunes and for  Android

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  1. says

    This must be a sign! Earlier today I was writing up my “places I want to eat when I’m in Florence” and Al Tranvai is on my list. Now it is at the TOP of my list! I’ve walked by it a few times over the years and vowed I would eat there “next time”. Well, now I will!!! thank you for this wonderful post and photos!! I’ll be in Florence in 85 days!!!

  2. says

    Love the pictures Liz! Especially the budino! I saw this listing on your app and meant to stop by the last time I stayed in the Oltrarno but so many trattorie and so little time. :-(

    Any idea why it is “Al Tranvai” instead of “Al Tramvai”, which I thought was the Italian word for tram?

  3. says

    Nice blog! Another blogger sent me your link and it’s weird – I walked by this place yesterday on my way to the Chinese Rosticceria right down the street. I thought it looked worth a try, and then I see your blog! One question, though, their website say the following and I am sure it can’t be right: “Coperti: 50 + 15 esterni estivi” – what cover were you charged?

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