One of the most fun places I dined at in Italy was Il Latini, in Florence. It's in a large, maze-like building with aged prosciutto hanging from the ceilings, and art collaged upon the walls.
Seating is at communal tables, and at times it felt like we were all at a wedding. In our case, my boyfriend and I sat with another couple from Australia, who were beginning their tour of Italy, but it's easy to meet locals at this spot, too.
The waiters and the owner are very persuasive when it comes to traditional Florentine food. I requested half of a Florentine steak, but I am sure I was given a full one—one of the largest I have ever seen served. It was cooked rare, and was extremely tender and flavorful. However, I am not much of a carnivore, and as such, my favorite part of the dinner was the fresh sage ravioli.
After our meal, the waiter kept bringing shots and wine, which appeared to be on the house. There are no exact prices, and the waiter determines your meal's cost.
Bistecca alla Fiorentina is one of the city’s signature dishes, but it has to be eaten in the right place. Somewhere like family-run Latini, where hams hang from the ceiling and the communal tables are packed with a good mix of tourists and locals. Meat is the thing here, great hunks of it: The steak is served very rare with herby roast potatoes and white beans drizzled with the pungent house olive oil. It’s packed, noisy, and far from romantic, but it’s fun!