I was really wary of Salumeria Verdi, aka Pino’s Sandwiches in Florence, Italy, based on all of the great reviews on TripAdvisor. “Oh, it’s going to be a bunch of American students and full of tourists,” I thought. “There’s going to be a line out the door and we’ll need to wait forever.”
Well, maybe that’s not all WRONG (the place quickly filled up with American students living abroad and their visiting families), but with one of these sandwiches in front of you and a cold glass of beer in your hand, those thoughts float into the salami-scented vapor and you are in food heaven. It’s no wonder this place has been around since 1900. Yes, 115 years. Pino’s been in charge for more than 20 of those.
Side rant: In Italian, the word for a singular sandwich is “panino”. Plural, it is “panini”. Don’t use the term “paninis.” Ever.
Pino himself greeted us as we came in and we hit it at JUST the right time, so there was no line out the door and there were plenty of tables to sit at. It must have been early in the scheme of lunch things because I was practically salivating all day, thinking about going here.
Pro-Tip #1: Go early in the lunch hour to avoid the long line.
Pino really is that friendly and happy and gregarious. He does speak English (very well actually) but I tried to spout some of my pidgin Italian at him anyway, and he took it well. And, he helped me choose between 2 contenders, to find my new best friend. He didn’t even hesitate, so I knew it was going to be good.
I cannot remember the name, but I was choosing between two panini, and the winner was salami, eggplant, smoked provolone, tomatoes and pesto. The smokey provolone and soft bread with a little crunch went perfectly with the soft eggplant, garlicky pesto and savory cured salami. I should confess that I’m an eggplant and garlic addict, and I grew up on salami sandwiches (big ups to my Italian heritage on one side of the family!), so this was basically the best of ALL worlds.
My husband had La Bomba, which I definitely stole a bite (or two) of, and it was amazing as well with its spicy tomato saucy goodness.
Pro-Tip #2: Ask about the pasta specials and get one to accompany your panino.
We also ordered one of Pino’s amazing daily pasta specials – the rigatoni with tomato sauce. It was excellent, too. Greasy (well, maybe olive-oily is a better made-up word), cheesy, tomato-y, it was exactly the right kind of side to accompany one of his divine panini.
Regarding cost, it was like he was giving these panini away. Everything, including the beer, 2 panini, and pasta, came to less than 20 euros. The panini and pastas are only 3.50 euro each. You can’t even get breakfast for that in many places. The same meal in New York or Austin would run you upwards of $35, easily.
The sign outside actually says Pino’s now (in addition to Salumeria Verdi). Seriously, go here. It’s so cheap, delicious, quick and simple… you won’t be disappointed.
How to find Salumeria Verdi aka Pino’s Sandwiches:
Salumeria Verdi aka Pino’s Sandwiches (Facebook page)
Via G. Verdi 36/r
Phone: +39 055 244517
Opening Hours: Monday-Saturday 8am-8pm. Closed on Sundays.
Have you eaten a heavenly panino made by Pino? Tell me all about it and give me the name of your favorite so I can try it next time I’m in Firenze!