We visit the tucked away Bristol pizza restaurant that serves authentic food at affordable prices

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Florence in Totterdown also does takeaway meals

In a tucked away row of shops and takeaways opposite the Oxford pub and Banana Boat greengrocers in Totterdown, Florence doesn’t enjoy quite the same stunning views as restaurants in the Italian city after which it’s named.

But then with its Duomo cathedral, Giotto’s bell tower and medieval Ponte Vecchio bridge, Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in the world so any comparisons are pointless.

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Still, step inside the Totterdown restaurant and you could really be anywhere in the world including the great Italian cities.

Clad in wood panels and colourful murals, Florence is a one-room restaurant with a bar at the far end and the kitchen behind that.

From certain tables you can see the flickering flames and glowing embers of the wood-fired oven that’s the real workhorse of a restaurant that keeps things simple by concentrating on authentic pizza and pasta dishes at a fair price.

Portions are generous, too. This is not a restaurant that wants its customers to leave feeling hungry or ripped off.

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Most of the pasta main courses are around the £12-£13 mark. There’s homemade lasagne for £12.50 and carbonara spaghetti for £12.99.

The most expensive pasta dishes are the creamy prawn linguine (with cherry tomatoes, red chilli, king prawns, spinach, white wine, garlic and Parmesan) for £13.50 and the tortellini with tomato sauce, smoky sausage, pepperoni, mixed peppers and Parmesan for £13.60.

Jump across to the pizza section and there are 18 to choose from, all available in three sizes - 10-inch, 12-inch or 14-inch.

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The cheapest option is the 10-inch Margherita at £11 and the most expensive is the 14-inch BBQ chicken with mozzarella, chicken breast, caramelised red onion and sweetcorn at £19.90.

I went for the 12-inch prosciutto e funghi pizza at £13.75 and it was just the right size for a post-pub supper. The base was light, puffy and blistered in the right places. The topping of tomato sauce, mozzarella, mushrooms, caramelised red onion and Parma ham was generous and carefully arranged so each slice had plenty of each component.

The prosciutto e funghi pizza at Florence in TotterdownThe prosciutto e funghi pizza at Florence in Totterdown
The prosciutto e funghi pizza at Florence in Totterdown

Pieces of the salty Parma ham had crisped up nicely in the heat of the wood-fired oven and worked especially well with the soft, sweet red onion and fleshy mushrooms.

On a wet and windy mid-week evening, Florence was relatively quiet, with a few regulars and a couple of takeaway orders being collected by locals.

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In the warmer months, however, there is a terrace outside with tables to enjoy alfresco meals. OK, the views still won’t beat those of fragrant Florence but with food this authentic, sensibly priced and enjoyable, it will still feel like a real slice of Italy in south Bristol.

Florence, 1 Oxford Street , Totterdown, Bristol, BS3 4RJ.

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