Panini’s are by far my favorite lunch food; there is nothing more satisfying then an amazing sandwich! Florence is sandwich heaven-you will be able to find a Panini shop on every single street you walk on. This competitive industry has resulted in the best sandwiches I have ever tasted. After living a month in Florence I would say I am an expert in locating the best Panini shops in the city. My top 3 places would be Pino’s, All’ antico Vinaio, and The Oil Shoppe. Each shop is unique in it’s own way and has gained a strong reputation for a reason.
Pino’s. Not only are you guaranteed a great sandwich, you are guaranteed a very warm welcoming by Pino himself as well as his beautiful wife, Antonella. They absolutely love it when you try and order in Italian (even if you are not very skilled), they appreciate the effort. You really get the best bang for your buck here as each Panini is only 3.50 euro’s! There is a selection of Panini’s on the wall and included in those is the ‘Fantasy Panini’.
This is the one I personally get as it allows you to get any 5 ingredients you would like (I highly recommend the truffle sauce). If you are not in the mood for a sandwich and are looking for a healthier option, they also have grilled and steamed vegetables and caprese salad.
All’ antico Vinaio. This hole-in-the-wall shop is filled with character and enthusiastic people. It’s very small interior is covered with photograph’s of famous people making their own sandwiches. Outside there is a small bench that is lined with bottles of wine and glasses. Yes, it is self-service for only 2 euro’s a glass! The Italian culture is very trusting, as they allow you to pay for your meal after. Beware -the Panini’s are massive; one is almost good enough to share!
Recently the shop has expanded next door to allow indoor seating for customers. Originally people would sit along the streets and on any benches they could find to enjoy their meal while people watching. You decide which ever one you please!
The Oil Shoppe. This shop is targeted towards American students and many of them eventually fall in love with it. The post cards from previous customers that cover the walls are proof of this. Additionally, a large bulletin board lists all the ingredients you can include while making your own sandwiches and salads. As you will find out, in Florence they do not have mayonnaise, mustard or ketch up for your sandwich however you will you find all of the above! Be sure to try the chef’s famous iced coffee, it is one of my favorites!