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Eating Abroad Part 2: Dining Your Way Through Florence

 Pizza from The ClubHouse

Italy has a reputation of mastering the perfect dish, or two, or all. Before I left for Florence, I read that the meals here would cost me €50 on average. I did panic a bit and told myself I was allowed to go out and treat myself once or twice a month. Trust me it was a misunderstanding on my part and I learned that the easy way. I went out to eat the week I arrived and to this day I go out to eat every weekend with my roommates. The food is not only delicious but, very affordable. I would say the average cost of a meal consisting of pasta or a Pizza with a glass of wine costs around €10-15. If you’re feeling fancy it can be €20-25. I now realize that the reason I was told the prices were high is because Italians eat their meals in courses. I could never because I feel satisfied after one dish but the menus are organized by courses if you ever want to have seconds, or thirds! 
 Fettuccine Alfredo from Gusto Leo

The best pizza I have had at this point in my trip is from Gusta Pizza across The Ponte Vecchio. I always order the Margerhita, which is mozzarella, tomato sauce, and a bit of basil. A modest pizza flavor at that because it is simple but so tasty. The pizzas here are pretty large for a personal size but the good thing is the crust is thin and perfect for one to finish on their own, most of the time. 

If you want amazing pasta be sure to dine out at Gusto Leo. My second weekend here my roommates and I discovered it on accident after snacking at a delicious, but pricey sushi place. We sat down, saw the prices, ate a few pieces, and went out to find something less than €13 for a taste. I had ordered the fettuccine Alfredo with a tiny pitcher of sangria. I know for a fact I will be picky about where I eat Alfredo back in the States because this one set the bar. 

The prices at Gusto are very reasonable and if you're a wine person, you can order 1/4 a bottle of their house wine (red or white) for €3 which is about two glasses. I discovered that wine here is a little stronger than usual and I advise you be careful. The 1/4 bottle is a perfect serving for myself. 
 Orange sesame pork from Tang
 Chicken quesadilla from the Red Garter Steak House

If you ever become homesick and are missing some American style grub there are plenty of places here to satisfy your cravings. Yes, there is a McDonald’s and there is a Burger King but so far I have yet to try them because I have found restaurant food more than satisfactory.

I recently went to “Red Garter Steakhouse” with my roommate Lauren and it was another happy accident. We were on the hunt for a Mexican restaurant and when we could not find it we kept walking and found the steakhouse. It was a small pub with flat screens and Monday night trivia. We ordered Nachos and I ordered a chicken quesadilla with French fries. Our cravings were not only satisfied but our bill was only €24 all together! Once again, you can find amazing food for any budget and satisfy any craving whether it's Italian, Mexican, American, or even Asian!. These places are my favorites so far but I know I will stumble upon more during the rest of my stay.

 

 
A Presto! 
 
Diana Pietrzyk is the Spring 2014 CEA MOJO in Florence, Italy. She is currently a junior at Columbia College Chicago.


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