Il Santo Bevitore


This Santo Spirito restaurant serves great food at reasonable prices.

This buzzy place is my local choice if I want something more than a homely trattoria but don’t want to blow the budget. The food is good, fresh and well-prepared, menus offer something a little more interesting than the usual Tuscan standards, prices represent really good value for Florence and the ambience is relaxed and informal.

Food and drink:
The monthly-changing menus reflect seasonal market availability and there’s usually plenty of choice for vegetarians and fish-eaters. I often kick off with a sformato, a kind of light, pastry-less flan made, for example with artichokes. Other starters include great soups (I love the colourful fresh pea topped with sautéed squid) and a variety of pasta dishes. Recent mains include tuna steak in a sesame crust and tartare of Chianina beef. Puds are worth saving space for and the wine list is interesting and well-priced. I quite often come here for lunch, a more informal – and cheaper – affair with a limited choice of dishes.

Recommended dishes:
If you don’t feel like a full meal, I would recommend one of the wooden platters of cheeses or cold meats with pickles.

The restaurant occupies a large, wood-panelled vaulted room where, frankly, the acoustics are appalling when the place is full (which it often is in the evenings). The new side rooms provide a more intimate atmosphere and refuge from the noise but the few outside tables set out on the street are even quieter. Popular with both Florentines and tourists, the atmosphere is quite young and lively but not only; plenty of older punters do eat here too.

The charming, friendly young staff do a good job for the most part with the odd lapse in timing.
A classic Oltrarno location on Via Santo Spirito, just south of the river; it’s within easy distance of the city centre.

Price advice:
You don’t have to eat a full meal here, but three courses without wine will come in at between 35-40 euros; that’s not bad for a ‘nice’ restaurant in Florence.

Tables to book:
If you want a quiet evening, go for a table in the side rooms