Florence 2021: Thanksgiving is Truly Back

Florence Thanksgiving photo by Pat Thomas

While universal holiday festivities such as Christmas and Easter were missed by since the start of the pandemic, the American community in Florence in particular saw the 2020 edition of their Thanksgiving celebrations pass by with little of the usual fanfare and excitement that previous years had brought. With the reopening of much of Florence during this past year, there is a sense of eagerness to celebrate the return of in-person connection and togetherness, tenets that are commonly associated with the Thanksgiving season. In the spirit of this, many restaurants around Florence have introduced or reintroduced Thanksgiving events for fall 2021. So for all Americans, whether resident, visitor, or student, and their Italian friends in Florence, can enjoy the selection below on Thursday, November 25 and in some cases, even beyond!

DYI and Takeout

Vivi Market on via del Giglio and Mu Lan Market on via Toselli stocks canned pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk and prepared pie crusts in addition to cranberry sauce, while sweet potatoes can be found at the Sant’ Ambrogio and San Lorenzo markets in addition to local stands.  For the main course, there are a number of choices.  One is the Marcelleria Lanini 1980 (055 248 0629) in Sant’Ambrogio, which debones a whole turkey except for the thighs, and stuffs it with a pear, apple, prune, pistacchio and chestnut stuffing, that, once ordered, is available to be picked up or delivered to your doorstep even on Thanksgiving Day.  Clients get to customize stuffing of either a turkey or a turkey breast at one of the six Marcellerie Vignoli located throughout Florence.  Macelleria Tordi  (055/490820) on viale Don Minzoni is accepting for whole, stuffed turkeys until Monday evening, November 22.  Alternatively, a whole roasted turkey can be picked up at Rosticceria Giuliano on via Giampaolo Orsini near piazza Ferrucci (055 680 1351).

Supplier of scrumptious desserts to the Via del Té and Ditta Artigianale, the wholesale Vanilla Cake Bakery, Galluzzo (055/046-2755) is accepting orders for home-delivered pecan, pumpkin and apple pies, plus pumpkin bread, carrot, apple and pumpkin cupcakes up to Tuesday evening, November 23.

Live La Dolce Vita with Dolce Vita Experience’s Thanksgiving menu this coming holiday! Located in the Sant’Ambrogio area, the Dolce Vita offers an à la carte menu and the full meal. The first has single servings of turkey for €12, chive mashed potatoes and gravy for €4, creamy green beans and mushrooms for €4, sausage cornbread stuffing for €5, sweet potato mash and crispy pecans, blueberry lemon white pepper and thyme sauce for €1.5, whole pies for €16, and a slice of pie for €3. The second is a €175 family size option, feeding about 8-10 people, complete with whole roasted turkey, quartered, chive mashed potatoes, sausage & corn bread stuffing, a whole pecan pie and a whole pumpkin pie. Orders can be placed by contacting through WhatsApp (+39 331 579 6997).

Restaurant Dining

Accademia (Piazza San Marco, 7, 50121 Florence), tel. 055 217 343

Accademia continues a long running Thanksgiving tradition with a slight twist: while originally a two day festivity beginning Thursday and ending with a half-priced leftover Friday, demand for the Accademia menu has gotten so great that Thursday and Friday have both been designated full course days with Saturday serving as the leftover half price day. Reservation is needed beforehand, with the full course price of €38 featuring pumpkin soup with cornbread; turkey with stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce; mashed potatoes & creamed corn; and apple strudel, pumpkin pie or pecan pie. The full price dinners will take place on November 25 and 26.

Melaleuca (Lungarno delle Grazie, 18, 50122 Florence), tel. 055 614 6894

A delectable meal awaits all who wish at Melaleuca, highlighted by a host of pastry delicacies topped off by an assortment of full pies that must be ordered ahead of time by November 19. The regular priced menu begins at €38, but a well stocked kids menu starts at €15 and features turkey and house made cranberry sauce; bone broth gravy; house milk rolls with honey butter; sage and sweet potato casserole; classic stuffing made on Melaleuca’s sourdough; crispy kale and Jerusalem artichoke salad with walnuts; and a choice of one pie slice from the international pie buffet of pumpkin, apple, key lime, sweet potato, lemon meringue, blackberry, and sweet potato. The aforementioned full pies are priced at €25  for the pumpkin, key lime and sweet potato varieties; €30 for apple and lemon meringue tart; and €18 for pumpkin bread with walnuts.

Djaria (Via dei Serragli, 100r, 50124 Florence), tel. 055 493 7061

A through and through American bar, Djaria is ready to get into the Thanksgiving season! The €40 menu, complete roasted turkey and cranberry sauce, celery and herb stuffing; choice between mashed potatoes & turkey gravy or sweet potato casserole with marshmallows; green bean casserole with crispy onions; cornbread; choice of apple pie, pumpkin pie or cheesecake; and water and coffee refills, must be pre-ordered.

Pino’s Sandwiches (Via Giuseppe Verdi, 36R, 50122 Florence), tel. 055 244517

Santa Croce’s own haven for all things heavenly in sandwiches is rolling out the carpet for a fantastic one-day Thanksgiving available all day. In addition to the usual menu offerings, Pino’s Thanksgiving tradition is a hefty portion of roast turkey, chestnut dressing, potatoes and other traditional Thanksgiving ingredients on a plate (€8) instead or a portion that fills toasted focaccia bread (€6).

Francesco Vini (Borgo dei Greci, 7/r, 50122 Florence), tel. 055 21 87 37

The husband and wife team of Fabio La Brusco and Jodia Levinson strike again with their return to their previously eight year Thanksgiving tradition, offering a 6 pm dinner for €40 accompanied by the usual menu that Francesco Vini on non Thanksgiving days. The menu showcases pumpkin soup with shrimp wrapped in lard; traditional turkey with cranberry sauce, a sausage/artichoke stuffing and gravy; sides of truffle mashed potatoes, green beans with scallions, roasted sweet potatoes, corn on the cob; and apple cake with cinnamon gelato.

Ristorante Quinoa (Vicolo di Santa Maria Maggiore, 1, 50123 Florence), tel. 29 08 76

Florence’s first 100% gluten-free restaurant, immersed in an urban garden of a 16th century cloister and noted melting pot between traditional Tuscan cuisine and Asian cuisine, is hosting a phenomenal Thanksgiving meal as well. The €25 meal showcases butternut squash soup with crusty bread; roast turkey with stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce; mashed potatoes and vegetables; and pumpkin pie with ice cream.

Hard Rock Cafe (Via dei Brunelleschi, 1, 50123 Florence), tel. 055 277 841

The quintessential American experience come to life in Firenze, Hard Rock Cafe leans hard into its American roots for a simple but effective selection of Thanksgiving menu items including a full Thanksgiving dinner (turkey breast, roasted vegetables, stuffing, mashed sweet potato, cranberry sauce, turkey gravy) for €17.95; a slice of pumpkin pie is an extra €7. Espresso with vodka and Kahlua in a Martini glass, shaken and chilled is the ending to a Hard Rock Thanksgiving for an additional €13.50.  A mini menu for kids (minus the coffee) costs €10.95.  Reservations must be made in advance.

Finisterrae (Piazza Santa Croce 12, 50122 Florence), tel. 055 2638675

The café is offering a tasty Thanksgiving meal: risotto with butternut squash and crispy bacon; roast turkey with stuffing and gravy; mashed potatoes, roasted root vegetables and sprouts; and apple and cinnamon pie with custard at €35, beverages excluded.

L’Osteria di Giovanni (Via del Moro, 22, 50123 Florence), tel. 055 284897

This coming Thanksgiving, L’Osteria di Giovanni is offering a multi-course menu starting with a Prosecco aperitif, followed by a light salad with baby spinach, frisée lettuce, endive, red radish and pistachio; continuing with first course options of onion velouté soup, risotto with chestnuts and leeks; main course of roast turkey with bacon, pear and chestnut multi-grain bread stuffing and lots of gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potato purée and string beans; and choice of dessert between brown butter pecan pie with vanilla gelato, classic New York cheesecake served with berries, lemon cake with gelato, or brownie à la mode. The wine list offers reds like Nipozzano 2018, Chianti Rufina Riserva, Frescobaldi and whites such as Albizia 2020, Chardonnay della Toscana, and Frescobaldi.  The cost is €50 inclusive of wine for adults, €25 for teens and kids, free for children under six.

Palagio (Borgo Pinti, 99, 50121 Florence), tel. 055 26261

Nestled in the Four Season Firenze and headed by Italian maestro Paolo Lavezzini, Palagio is offering a selection of special Thanksgiving dishes including green beans casserole, sweet potatoes and maple syrup for €20; pasta and cheese with lobster for €40; turkey, sweet potatoes and pumpkin, paprika cranberry sauce for €45; and pumpkin and pecan pie for €20.

Harry’s Bar (Lungarno Vespucci 22/r, 50123 Florence), tel. 055 2396700

As one of the first placed to serve Thanksgiving in Florence, Harry’s Bar continues its time honored tradition with a sizable meal in its cozy and elegant establishment. The restaurant has designed a meal appropriate for the holiday costing €55 per person (excluding wine).  The fixed menu offers, creamy pumpkin soup with crispy bacon as a first course, roast turkey stuffed with chestnuts, carrots, onions and cranberry sauce as the main course, sides of buttery corn with sweet potato, citrus cheesecake and miniature pastries for dessert — with water and coffee included in the tab. 

Irene at the Savoy Hotel (piazza Repubblica 7), tel. 055 27351

For touch of the eclectic in an elegant setting, Irene is the place to go: diner will be served a salad of autumn greens with pomegranate sauce; cream of pumpkin soup with a touch of ginger; roast turkey, stuffing, sweet potato purée, green beans and cranberry sauce, followed by a persimmon and chestnut dessert plus chocolates and small meringue pastries, all for €65 minus beverages.  (ashutosh ajay shah/additional reporting by rosanna cirigliano)