Trattoria Alla Vecchia Bettola may not be well known by travelers, but its existence is no secret among locals, nor is its reputation for excellent Tuscan cuisine. Located on the south side of the Arno river, away from central Florence, this restaurant has loads of neighborhood appeal. Alla Vecchia Bettola is not a restaurant that caters to tourists, but you’ll receive a warm welcome no matter who you are. Get there early and you’ll find yourself ushered to a marble-top table, surrounded by photos of historic Florence that transport you back in time, far before ’79, the year Alla Vecchia Bettola first opened it’s doors. Get there late, even 30 minutes after dinner service starts, and you’ll find the entire place is already packed.
The food at Alla Vecchia Bettola is home cooked goodness, made for a Florentine palate, but the flavors are universally appealing. You don’t come here for what you expect Italian cuisine to be, you come here for authentic Tuscan cuisine. To make any special requests pertaining to your meal would be tolerated, but probably considered rude. If you want to eat at Alla Vecchia Bettola, you should eat like a local, even if that means your meat is rarer than you’d like or the people sitting next to you are eating parts of an animal that you’d never dreamed of seeing beside you at the dinner table. The kitchen turns out honest food, somehow insulated from current trends where concepts like gluten-free and paleo infiltrate the mainstream.
Alla Vecchia Bettola looks like a typical Trattoria, but not in the staged way you might be accustomed to, this is the real deal, where Italian restaurants got their idea of what an Italian restaurant should look like. The massive bottles of Chianti at each table? Not decoration, you can actually drink from them, 4 euro for as much as you want! The atmosphere at Alla Vecchia Bettola manages to be romantic and convivial at once. The setting is cozy and the food is traditional, simple and absolutely outstanding. It’s clear that everyone here has at least one thing in common, they love quality food, and Alla Vecchia Bettola is a place they know they can get it.
What to Order
- The menu changes daily and reflects the seasonality of ingredients, but the bistecca alla Fiorentina is always on the menu and is one of the stand-out dishes. The only way bistecca should be cooked is rare, and the preparation at Alla Vecchia Bettola is perfect. Despite being quite raw, the meat was not cold in the center and the texture was fantastic.
- Fried zucchini blossoms, if you’re around when they’re in season