Alla Vecchia Bettola is that old fashioned kind of Florentine restaurant you’re hoping to find. Cozy, cramped, full of good food and good cheer. But unlike the more well known places around the San Lorenzo neighborhood, Alla Vecchia Bettola is also still a place that Florentines regularly go to. I’m not saying there won’t be tourists. There are tourists everywhere in Florence. But at least here you’re just as likely to be seated next to someone who’s Florentine accent is so strong you can’t understand him, as someone who only speaks Finnish.
Be prepared to squeeze your way onto one of the wooden stools or benches at one of several communal tables. The menu is printed on butcher’s paper and changes daily. The antipasti include classic trattoria fare like burro e accuighe (butter and anchovies served with bread) and marinated mushrooms (my personal favorite). But there will also be seasonal treats like fresh fave beans served with a chunk of pecorino cheese in the spring.
The primi are usually varied and usually offer everything from a risotto to a baked pasta like lasagna. But rest assured, there is also excellent pappa al pomodoro. Meat is a huge deal here, and you’ll see many Florentines going straight to that side of the menu. Classics like Trippa, Arista and bistecca alla Fiorentina. The home made desserts are rustic and delicious.
Despite its rustic appearance and cramped quarters La Vecchia Bettola is not cheap. With antipasti starting at 10 Euros and secondi at 14, it’s more restaurant prices than you’d expect from the setting. But the food, which is excellent, is well worth it.
Alla Vecchia Bettola
Via Vasco Pratolini 3, Florence
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