Ed. We're re-sharing this article in January 2023 in connection with the imminent opening of Roscioli in New York City. Please note that it appears as first written in 2015; figures and our former editor's recommendations have not been updated.
The world’s most reviewed eatery? It’s in Florence.
Located on Via de’ Neri, All’Antico Vinaio, famous for its gourmet sandwiches known as schiacciate, reached 8,425 reviews on Trip Advisor at the end of August (now it’s at 8651 and counting), surpassing the former title holder, the Mon Amo Gabi in Las Vegas, thus making it the place with most reviews in the world on the famous travel website.
Their panini are filled with local cold cuts and cheeses, on view behind the counter, and prepared fresh; in the past few years, All’Antico Vinaio has become one of the favorite spots, with locals and tourists alike, for Florentine street food.
Is it worth all the fuss? I asked my colleague at ITALY Magazine, Georgette Jupe, who is based in the Tuscan capital and who I consider the go-to girl when it comes to all things Florence (Georgette is the author of the successful blog Girl in Florence): "If you want to see what all of the hype is about, go early. The line can start before 11am on a weekday, and their sandwiches are so big they could easily feed two people, on a budget price."
If you’re not big on standing in huge lines to get food, or you’re not too trusting of TripAdvisor, follow Georgette’s recommendations for the best sandwiches in town (in her own words):
- Semel: tiny location in the Sant'Ambrogio market area (very Florentine) with barely enough space to stand, but is a quintessential local favorite. Here, the owner Marco whips up really creative, gourmet (small - so get two) sandwiches for a good price, he makes things that are in season. Ingredients include fennel, orange, anchovies, etc. Where: P.zza Lorenzo Ghiberti, 44/r.
- Panino Ino: gourmet panineria near the Uffizi Gallery on a street that was bombed by the mafia in the 90s. The sandwiches have gourmet prices to match, because of the excellent high-quality ingredients (like pecorino infused with saffron) and crunchy ‘ciabatta' bread, often with a little tasty mostarda inside. There is space to sit too. Where: Via de' Georgofili, 3.
- Lo Schiacciavino: A tiny hole-in-the-wall close to the Santa Croce neighborhood serving up tasty panini using bread from the local Focacceria Pugi (very well-known) filled with typical Italian cold cuts and anything you like. I love their filled schiacciata sandwiches. Also quite cheap. Where: Via Verdi Giuseppe, 6/R.
- Scheggi Panineria: looking for a panino shop close to the stadium? This is definitely my favorite spot near Campo di Marte, a local spot with great focaccine ai vari salumi; they also create many of their own sauces. Where: Viale dei Mille, 1.
One last gem from Georgette: She suggests to go local and try the classic Florentine sandwich made with lampredotto: “One favorite spot is Sergio Pollini on Via de' Macci (Sant'ambrogio neighborhood). A steal at under 5 euros, served with salsa verde or salsa piccante.”