Another spotlight on a great panini place in Florence. Though this one is not a hidden gem, considering it is #1 on the travel website Trip Advisor. However, it's located on the street leading to our school here so it was only a matter of time before we found our way in. Tips on places to go and eat spreads like wildfire amongst abroad students, and Antico was a case and point. In the first few days here, some students had tried it out and loved it. Within days, there was a line out the door during lunch hours. Luckily, it was January and there was not the giant hoard of tourists that is here now, so we were able to still get our five euro panini in a decent amount of time.
Compared to my earliest post on Pino's, this place has a few notable differences. First off, it feels a lot more authentic and there are usually up to three Italian men working there at a time. A lot of students like to tell them to "surprise me" upon ordering. That's a green light for the panini masters to whip you up one of their favorite sandwiches as a "surprise". Unless you are a picky eater, this is a great way to order, especially if your italian is lacking. You can also specialize the "surprise" by exclaiming that you like something spicy, or some mortadella + a surprise part. That way they have a base with which to add to your panini and you won't be totally shocked when you get the result. As opposed to Pino's, there is no menu here that has pre-made selections as recommendations on it, you have to make up your own. These self proclaimed "panini magicians" are guaranteed to hand you over a fresh lunch, usually on a square piece of bread with the meats hanging out the end. There is also plenty of wine options and a table hanging off the edge that is self serve. You pay two euro on the inside when you get your panini and that entitles you to the self serve part of the wine. It's really on the honor system as the glasses and bottles are already outside, however this place makes enough money that I'm sure they don't get hurt on the free riders who decide to fill a small glass for free. The line is constantly out the door, I assume in part due to the rating on Trip Advisor and word of mouth. Most students try to take their visiting parents here at one point, which might tell you that the line is worth the wait.
|The self service wine station outside|
Small Tip: 4 or 5 stores down is a small convenience store that sells waters and sodas for much cheaper than inside Antico's. Grab your sandwich and head there to get a drink, then take a seat on the street and enjoy your lunch.
Link to: Review on Trip Advisor