Girl in Florence

A Tuscan Texan immersed in Florentine life

truffle beans

Osteria Buongustai – cheap & traditional lunch in Florence, Italy


lunch florence italy

Food tips in Florence, Italy – this is the kind of posts I really live {and eat} for. It really makes me happy to write about Osteria il Buongustai because it has been my favorite lunch place since I arrived in 2007.  While there are so many wonderful restaurants in the center of firenze, not all places are created equal. I am especially fond of various lunch places around town  that locals frequent because it’s much more affordable to eat out during lunchtime than dinnertime. I suggest those on a budget to eat a nice lunch at a place like the one above and  save money by grabbing aperitivo for dinner.

I thought about writing a list of top tips for lunch in the historical center but I pretty much already covered that in my guest post for Budget Traveller. Also, I really wanted to spotlight this special place. The location is about as central as you can get, literally steps from Piazza della Signoria on via dei cerchi, a lively street with all sorts of shops nearby. I used to work in Piazza Signoria so we often stop by here for lunch huddling in the narrow entranceway waiting to get seated by the same ladies who are always present furiously cooking and serving patrons.

When you walk in you immediately notice the kitchen to your left with a glass window so that anyone can look inside and watch your food being cooked. The ladies who work there mean business –  they bring out food like clockwork, cooking pasta after pasta, slicing fresh prosciutto to pair with hot coccoli {fried bread}, or taking a coffee order from across the room, they impress me. Everyday there is a  ‘menu al giorno’  – ‘daily menu’ which changes according to season. My favorite day is when they are serving pasta alla carbonara {pictured below} a hearty pasta made with pancetta {bacon}, egg and parmesan. I am very picky when it comes to carbonara and they get it right every single time, and charge only €5.50 for it. Speaking of cheap, the prices  for all dishes range from around 5-9 euros per plate and trust me, you won’t go hungry.

Images of Osteria Il Buongustai, Florence
This photo of Osteria Il Buongustai is courtesy of TripAdvisor

I usually order a quarto {1/4 liter} of red house wine, fizzy water and this develishly-good bruschetta pictured below. Beans on toast, you think? NO, this is heaven on toast. Or rather Tuscan white beans perfectly paired with truffle cream ontop a toasty piece of local bread. Yeah this is my kinda meal, obviously being half-hispanic myself, I appreciate beans in general, and the combination of truffle and crusty bread just makes this a slice of perfection.

DSCN6470Last time we went, t-man got the roasted turkey and salad with a side of spinach {he’s currently on a health kick – super annoying 😉 } which was actually really well-cooked and the spinach full of flavor – as long as you love garlic.

I recommend ordering from the daily menu, sharing an appetizer and a dessert. They are well-known for their cheesecake which is one of the best in the city {to me} and of course the tiramisu.

*Go early, as it can get packed! Remember, some people in this country are true experts in the art of ‘skipping the line’ so bring out your elbows and make sure one of the ladies working spots you so you can get seated. It’s really busy from about 1-130pm so go before 1 if you want less of a hassle.  I don’t think they are open during the weekend but they are pretty much guaranteed to be open for lunch every day of the week during lunchtime. Please go, and then write me here and tell me what you thought because I want everyone to enjoy wonderful, cheap, traditional Tuscany food and this is just.. buonissimo..

Osteria il Buongustai, Via de’ Cerchi 15R, 50122 Firenze. Tel: +39055/291304

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26 Responses

  1. Great post Georgette! I can’t remember if I’ve been there yet but it sounds so familiar. I will definitely check it out and appreciate the suggestion.

  2. ooo I shouldn’t have read this! Now I’m craving carbonara (real Italian carbonara of course) all the way from America. I hate when that happens! You made my mouth water though, so great job on the write-up!

    1. thank you!
      Time to start looking for a good recipe online! My boyfriend makes a pretty good carbonara actually but I can’t seem to get it right…

  3. I went there today based on your post, and you are correct, the food was FAB!!!! (I had the mixed crostini and broccoli lasagne). I have to admit, though, it seemed more face-paced than what I’ve grown accustomed to here 🙂 Thanks for the recommendation!

    1. it does get a little crazy, because its so small inside. In fact its not the best place to linger over lunch but I always bring people there to show them something delicious, typical and affordable in the center :). Plus the crostini with beans and truffle cream rock my world! glad you went!!!!

  4. Ciao! Was thinking you’d be a good person to ask – I need to recommend a restaurant to friends of my cousin who will only be in town for one night – I only know budget places and I think they are looking for that very special dinner… ideas? Thanks, as always, for being a wealth of information!

    1. I recommend Il Latini, Touch Florence, Trattoria vecchia bettola and trattoria del mario :-). All very very good!

  5. I am so happy you didn’t mention Trattoria Mario!! By that big market, I think that place is completely overrated and became an expensive tourist trap with limited selection of courses….sorry didn’t mean to be negative but just expressing my opinion 🙂 also btw I love your blog! Congrats! I’ve been thinking about moving to Florence since 2009 and it wouldn’t be that hard since I am an Italian citizen thanks to my grandpa but we are so spoiled here in America I always wonder if my passion for Florence is enough to move there and live a more simple life….

    1. Ciao Ana! I actually am a fan of Trattoria Mario but I do agree with you somewhat. I think its a little expensive for what it is and there are just too many people. I always take my guests to Buobgustati, or in the Oltrarno.. there are some great options in the city! Thank you so much for your comments about my blog. Italy is not an ‘easy’ place to live if you are looking to live and work independently which might challenge that ‘simple’ life thought but I find that it works for me!

  6. Your blog is wonderful! I’m stopping in Florence for one day on my way to Rome and it’s nice to read all your posts. Making a list of where to have coffee, lunch and then dinner and wine in one day. Thanks!

  7. Just wanted to say, love your writing style. I just feel like booking a flight to Firenze right now to try out your exquisitely painted experiences!!:-)
    (a well-travelled welshman!)

  8. I was curious ….the portions look so large…do you ever take half home or is that not customary……I will be arriving Sept. 29th! Thanks, Debra

  9. Heya, I went to this place on a very rainy Saturday 3 weeks ago and it was incredibly tasty and welcoming. I was on my own, and sometimes it feels weird in Italy to sit down alone and order something but the ladies were amazing and they definitely run this place well, will go again soon! Thanks!

    1. Awww I’m happy you had such a positive experience! Its been awhile since I’ve been and I have a craving for their famous carbonara

Georgette Jupe

Welcome to my personal blog by a curious American girl living and working between Zug, Switzerland and Florence, Italy with my husband Nico, our newborn Annabelle and Ginger the beagle. This space is primarily to share about my love for Italy (currently on a 13 year romance) with a fair amount of real talk, practical advice, travel suggestions and adjusting to a new culture (Switzerland). Find me on IG @girlinflorence @girlinzug

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