You may have tried panini, those delicious Italian sandwiches, at some point in your home country, and if so you probably will have the urge to seek them out in their place of origin. Not only are they delectable, but they also provide an extremely convenient and inexpensive meal option. Major bonus.
Now you can get an ordinary, run-of-the-mill panino just about everywhere you turn, the trick is finding where to get the best panini in Florence. We’d like to share our two favorite places with you, which in my opinion are tied for first place.
Salumeria Verdi aka Pino’s
Kevin first discovered Pino’s while studying abroad in Florence four years ago. During that time he became such a fan of the place that he took me directly there for lunch the first day of our 2015 Florentine stay.
When we first arrived I was struck by the number of panini options there were on the menu. There are so many different combinations of meats and vegetables to choose from, and all panini are made from an array of fresh ingredients right before your eyes. Walking in the shop was enough to start my mouth watering every visit.
The panini here are also only 3.50 Euro each. With that price point and how good the sandwiches are you really can’t beat that deal.My favorite sandwich of them all ended up being the aptly named “The Best” with pesto, a sandwich filled with roast beef, salume, eggplant, and tomato, all between two slices of perfectly pressed foccacia. I would actually kill (okay, exaggerating a bit) for one right now. Needless to say I highly recommend giving “The Best” a try.
Above and beyond the panini themselves, grabbing lunch at Pino’s is always a pleasant experience owing to an outstanding staff. The shop is owned and operated by an impossibly charismatic Italian man. You might have already guessed his name — Pino.
He’s a genuinely kind and enthusiastic person, and he makes you feel truly welcome every time you set foot in his shop. He also has an incredible memory. If you visit multiple times, don’t be surprised if he learns and remembers your name for your next visit; he even remembered Kevin despite the fact that it had been four years!
Antico dei Neri
If you go to Antico dei Neri for lunch, prepare to be presented with panini that are literally the size of your face. And I do mean literally. They are huge!
Like Pino’s the ingredients in the panini are fresh and delicious, but this place is a little different. The guys working there are hilarious and kind, and willingly suggest sandwich combinations for you. We got awesome turkey sandwiches with toppings we wouldn’t have chosen ourselves (like truffle sauce) on their recommendation. They know what they’re doing.
They will also tell you if what you want on your sandwich isn’t up to their standards. For example, they have a sign in the shop that reads “Don’t mix meats! It’s a blasphemy!” Another example: One time a man in front of us ordered a ham and mozzarella sandwich, to which the panini maker responded by saying, “Ham and mozzarella is no good. Pecorino is better, eh?” And jollily proceeded to make the suggested sandwich for the customer. I can honestly say that process was unlike anything I’d ever seen before in a restaurant, and I found it to be both refreshing and hilarious.
To top it off, the giant panini only run you 5 Euro each, making for an all-around win for your taste buds and wallet.
There you have it, our top picks for where to get the best panini in Florence. Let us know about your experience if you drop in to either one, or feel free to share any other favorites of your own in the comments below!