If you’re anything like me, you enjoy a hearty brunch in the late morning or early afternoon of a Saturday or Sunday like all other Millennials, enjoying dropping hard-earned euros on Instagram-worthy avocado toast.
While Italian food is delicious, Italy hasn’t yet mastered the “perfect brunch”, and sometimes I really crave one that includes some of my old favourites: sausages, real bacon and baked beans, all things very difficult (and expensive) to find in Florence.
Below, my girlfriend and I have compiled a list of the best places in town to get brunch, and what to order to avoid food envy.
First on the list, and easily our favourite Sunday treat is Café Le Vespe on via Ghibellina, 76. It’s a cute little cafe, complete with mismatched chairs and colourful tiled tables. It’s run by a friendly Canadian woman who is yet to tell us where she finds her bacon. My Sunday go-to order is the eggs Benedict, with bright orange yolks spilling over bacon and English muffins, served with house fries – you can’t go wrong with this order! My girlfriend usually orders the stack of American-style pancakes which are also excellent, smothered in maple syrup and fruit. During the week, Café Le Vespe doesn’t sell Eggs Benny, but there’s a range of delicious salads and sandwiches, including a grilled cheese sandwich with lots of caramelised onion which blows away the cobwebs of any hangover, warm and greasy and served with house fries. The café has a wide selection of drinks from smoothies, coffees (hot and iced), juices and alcoholic drinks (if you’re feeling up for hair of the dog!) The one downside is that it’s always a challenge to get a table since there are so many people queuing, meaning that you either have to arrive as it opens at 9am, or wait a while for a table to clear up. It’s completely worth the wait, though! €€€ http://www.levespecafe.com/
A new contestor, and second on our list is Rooster Café on via Via S. Egidio, 37R. Rooster has been open only three weeks and is already competing with Vespe for custom. It’s small but uses the space well with large windows letting in a lot of light, with high ceilings and interesting decor. I’ve been twice and both times the service was excellent with very friendly, chatty staff and there’s a large menu with a wide selection of food. Honestly, there’s so much choice I felt slightly overwhelmed and panic-ordered! Being an Eggs Benny fan, I tried theirs and while it was enjoyable, it wasn’t quite as good as Vespe’s. The Caesar salad, however, was delicious, with lots of croutons and chicken and not too much dressing, great for when you’re trying to eat something a little lighter. Next time I’ll definitely be trying the Rooster Burger which looks huge and absolutely scrumptious, including red onion jam, bacon, cheddar, rocket and bbq sauce. Make sure you bring your appetite! An added bonus at Rooster Café is that the mimosas are only 5€ and are reasonably sizable! Other drinks include smoothies and juices, coffees and all-you-can-drink Coca Cola (and Coca Cola vanilla – a rare find in Florence!) on tap €€ https://www.roostercafefirenze.com
Thirdly, just around the corner from our apartment is Ditta Artigianale on Via dei Neri, 32/R. As well as being so conveniently located, Ditta is right on the money when it comes to drinks. In addition to beautiful cappucinos made picture-perfect with heart shaped latte-art, The Hugo in particular is fresh and tasty, made with gin, elderflower, mint and ginger for a refreshing morning cocktail. However, Ditta is not only known for its drinks, the food is also very good. Served between 9am and 12pm, the brunch menu isn’t terribly extensive but is refined to a tee. Unfortunately for me, they don’t do poached eggs, but the scrambled eggs are creamy and gooey and are served with a small side salad and sour dough bread – no complaints from me. For those interested in Afternoon Tea, Ditta sells some beautiful homemade cakes and tea (or coffee, depending on your preference) – I recommend the Red Velvet cake or the cheesecake, both are perfect for an afternoon treat. While not very cheap, Ditta provides good service in a quirky atmosphere and excellent coffee, and is open all day and into the night. There is also a second, larger Ditta Artigianale on via dello Sprone 3R in oltrarno, which serves the same. €€€€ http://www.dittaartigianale.it/en/catalogo.aspx
Finally, The American Diner (via dell’ Acqua, 2) is the place that you go when all the other brunch places aren’t open and you’re craving brunch food. It’s a nice enough restaurant in general, but brunch is not their specialty. As usual, I tried the eggs Benedict and they were not up to the standard of Café Le Vespe or Rooster Café. The eggs weren’t fully cooked, and were served with a strange assortment of random breakfast items: hash browns, sausage, salad and fries – not necessarily what I’d expect with Eggs Benny. The English breakfast is much better; it’s a healthy size to kill any hangover, and comes with real bacon which is a winner in my opinion. In the evenings, The American Diner sells very good burgers for when you’re sick of Italian food, but in my opinion, it’s not in the premier league for brunching in Florence. €€ https://thedinerfirenze.com/