The words “Pasticceria Produzione Propria” may not mean much to you YET, but they will in a moment. A bar that displays these words indicates that they bake their sweets on site. Most of the time, these are the best bars in Italy. When you’re dying for a cappuccino and a “pasta” (a bready sweet of any type, while in north-central italy), these are the best places in Florence to get one. Arttrav’s criteria for a good bar are: fresh sweets (preferably made on site), quality of the cappuccino (not over-heated milk) or ability to make hot tea to specifications, cleanliness and decor, and availability and cleanliness of bathroom. Bars are conveniently located on a map so that you can have your cake and eat it wherever you are in town.
TIP: most places charge a major surcharge for sitting down. Locals drink their coffee standing up (and in 2-3 wrist-motioned sips!). Bars must display a price list behind the cash register, where you can normally see the different prices for seated versus standing. Some of the places listed below permit you to take your sweet and sit with it for no extra charge.
Le Logge, Via porta Rossa 44r
This is probably my favourite downtown location for a bar break. It’s remained a good local bar despite being so centrally located. It’s the kind of place where you can overhear conversation about local politics, but it’s also attractively decorated and the service is very professional and fast. You can sit down while you consume your snack or lunch, inside, without surcharge. Outdoors there is seating that costs a lot more. The “paste” (sweets) are excellent, as are the reasonably priced sandwiches. THey also serve primi for lunch, including pasta, rice salad, plates of vegetables, etc. Bathroom is reasonably well equipped and sometimes clean.
Robiglio: two locations downtown (via dei Servi is the best)
This chain of pasticcerie is a good bet if you’re up near the Innocenti, or dying of starvation near Palazzo Vecchio. In both cases there is a good bathroom. Service is better in via dei Servi though both locations are always jam packed. The cream puffs are pretty deadly good.
I dolci di Patrizio Cosi, Borgo degli Albizi 15r
Excellent pastries as well as drinks. The apple tartelletes are divine. Bathroom is clean.
Gran Café San Marco, Piazza S. Marco
The best cappuccino foam in the city according to an informal survey amongst professional testers known to arttrav.com. The milk must be heated to just the right temperature, not too hot, in order to create a foam that is not bubbly but downright creamy. This is served in a rather largish cup for extra enjoyment. The pastries are of reasonable quality. Avoid sitting down, it costs a fortune. As this bar is well known and located at a major bus stop, the bathroom is an offense to all senses and is to be avoided.
Outside of the Centro
Bar Querci (Piazza Viesseux)
Truly superior pastries, think you might have to have two, and you can sit down inside (serve yourself) at no extra cost except at lunch. Has outside seating where you can have reasonably priced primi and sandwiches at lunch (though a limited selection). Clean bathroom though if you’re out here in the ‘burbs chances are you’re no tourist.
Via Circondaria 24r
We think these are some of the very best light and delicate pastries in Florence though prices have gone up a lot this decade. The salatini are also divine, Tommy likes the small brioche with boiled egg and smoke salmon. The bar is a local joint rather out of the centre.
Via G. D’Annunzio 106/C
Recently rennovated to look rather fancy, this is a pleasant neighbourhood bar where you can also sit down to sip your cappuccio and eat some tasty pastries. It is at the intersection of the 10 and 17 bus routes, should you be taking the bus up to Villa I Tatti/ Berenson Library and be dying for breakfast.
via Giacomini 16
Not far from Piazza della Libertà and near Syracuse University in Florence (Piazza Savonarola), you can eat some of the most delicate fruit tartelettes in the city. No bathroom that I know of.