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Eat, Drink, & Be Merry: Tips From a Local

Of course if you haven’t already guessed, I am a glutton for great food and good drinks. Enjoy!

Posts about restaurants/aperitivo/coffee/pizza/budget spots in FlorenceTuscany and or/Italy. Also if you are looking for great places near the Santa Maria Novella train station, read this first.

Remember that often places are closed on Monday’s so I recommend you check out this list of where you can eat & drink that are always open on this day.

This is a list that I am constantly working on, as you know a place could be good one minute, change management, and than everything goes a bit sour so this is something I take into consideration when I visit a restaurant. And if I am missing something, let me know! I’ll try it and if it’s good – it will make this list and I’ll credit you :).

My Favorite Lunch Spots in Florence

  • Cheap & traditional lunch in my favorite trattoria, Osteria il Buongustai in Florence (close to piazza della signoria). Highly recommend
  • For one of the best panini in the city, stop by Ino, Via Georgofili 3. This place is one of the best for stuffed foccaccie and wine, also try their cantucci and vin santo.
  • Casa del Vino, light lunch in the san lorenzo neighborhood. highly recommend. Via dell’Ariento, 16/R, 50123 Firenze.
  • Libreria Brac is a local favorite and my go-to for avocado salads and nice wine. Via dei Vagellai, 18, 50122 Firenze make a reservation, they are always full. +39 055 094 4877
  • Quelo Bar, Via Borgo Santa Croce, 15r, 50122 Firenze, +39 055 1999 1474. Very chill place with great salads, fresh juices and coffee. Love it here!
  • Hosteria Il Desco, Via delle Terme, 23/ r. Cheap & Traditional, try their daily lunch menu (great for sit down, peaceful lunch). Tuscan Food.
  • Trattoria ‘Da Mario‘,  Via Rosina, 2, 50123 (san lorenzo neighborhood) famous and very crowded. Budget!
  • The New ‘Fancy Food Court’ with Tuscan specialties like lampredotto and fresh pasta, Mercato Centrale
  • Ete bistro & Ditta Artigianale are great light lunches with a cool, contemporary vibe.
  • Vegetarian restaurants in Florence – updated!
  • Cheap eats in Florence, guest post at Budget Traveller.
  • Hosteria il Desco is a wonderful place for lunch in the center. Cheap, local & delicious!
  • Trattoria Il Giova (for lunch or dinner) is awesome, fresh food and fun ambiance near one of my favorite piazzas in town.
  • Trattoria Anita – set menu, very good local dishes (great if you are on a budget).
  • Without a doubt one of my favorite places for lunch – locals agree! Oltrarno area of town. Chicco di Caffe! 
  • For great local food – I really like this restaurant in Piazza Tasso – Al Tranvai (cute & tiny interior but very yummy traditional dishes). http://www.altranvai.it/home_inglese.html

Florence Street Food ‘Eat Like a Local’ 

Eating street food is a local pastime with dishes like ‘lampredotto’ and trippa’ being the stars of the show, don’t be squeamish, it’s good! I recommend trying these tasty panini at least once, don’t forget the ‘green sauce!’ you will thank me later. The best ones are Nerbone located in the ground floor of the central market in San Lorenzo. Next up is the famous ‘trippaio del porcellino’ by owner Orazio, who owns a stand in Piazza del Mercato Nuovo. Check out this video by the Tuscany region on street food.

Ps. In 2014, they just opened a Food Truck serving gourmet burgers along the river, La Toraia, Lungarno Cristoforo Colombo, 11 (Via del Campofiore), 50126 Florence Tuscany. Link here. 

Photo via FourSquare

Where To Go For Dinner in Florence

  • One of my personal favorite places for dinner {in my opinion} is Enoteca Le Barrique on via del leone (oltrarno). Great food, great wine, great service and a good price!
  • Il Magazzino (for traditional Tuscan fare) in my beloved local piazza della passera and everything around this square is great!
  • One of the best places for authentic Tuscan food without a doubt is I’Brindellone (not fancy), Piazza Piattellina (piazza carmine) – I adore this place (truffle pasta and wonderful bistecca!) and it’s always full of locals. Call for reservations =39 055 217879.
  • Il Santo Bevitore, Via di Santo Spirito, 64/66, Firenze. They make a wonderful pork filet with apple. I adore this place and the next door Il Santino for aperitivo.
  • The La Bottega Del Buon Caffe’ is ‘five stars all of the way’ in my opinion and just received a Michelin star, worth every penny. address:  Via Antonio Pacinotti, 44, Firenze FI
  • La Bocca di Leone on via pisana 39 is trendy, hip and serves a damn good truffle dish that will have you coming back for more. A real find!
  • Fancy but incredible gastronomy is the famous, La Pentola dell’Oro, Via di Mezzo 24r | angolo via dei Pepi. You will be impressed. Eat like this did in the Renaissance (only ones in the city) but way better!
  • A nice place for dinner (with cool art)  in the city is La Cucina del Garga, Via San Zanobi, 33, 50129.
  • Tamero Pasta bar in Piazza Santo Spirito – Fresh pasta and great cheese plates.
  • good lunch/dinner place in the oltrarno combining 1960’s contemporary German furniture with fresh pasta
  • Wonderful small restaurant for lunch or dinner near the Accademia della Galleria (which houses Michelangelo’s David) Osteria de l’Ortolano.
  • French restaurant La Brasserie in Florence.
  • My favorite seafood restaurant in Florence, Italy.
  • Great seafood with a view – It may be expensive but my guilty secret is Golden View Open bar, right by the Ponte Vecchio. Super awesome spaghetti alle vongole veraci and great wine list.
  • Santo Graal (The Holy Grail) on via romana is simply divine. They offer a menu with traditional & innovative dishes. On the pricier side.
  • Acqua al Due in the Santa Croce area. make reservations, great pasta and steak sampler dishes (try the bistecca with blueberry sauce!)
  • Fruit-based fusion meals in Piazza Santo Croce – Tato restaurant
  • Touch Florence – awesome local food with a technological twist!
  • One of my top spots for Bistecca alla Fiorentina – Florentine steak. Trattoria Osvaldo. 
  • Fun place in the center for local dishes, while it IS touristy – the food is very good! Il Latini. 
  • One of my new favorite restaurants in Florence – awesome outdoor garde, – awesome cheese & cured meat boards, you should try this restaurant. Beppe Fioraia Firenze.
  • Want to try local dishes like trippa & lampredotto? I tried a few dishes at Osteria di Giovanni and loved it (plus they also serve lots of other really delicious food like Bistecca Fiorentina).
  • Trattoria Sostanza is a historical restaurant in the city serving up simple, delicious food like chicken infused with butter – yum!
  • Cibreo trattoria and Teatro del Sale, very very good!
Pasta art from Villa Campestri

Pasta art from Villa Campestri

 

Traditional Tuscan

  • Hands down favorite is Trattoria L’Brindellone, Piazza Piattellina 10-11/r, 50124 Florence, Italy. +39 055 21 78 79. Make reservations, great Tuscan food and steak, no need to dress up here, it’s a locals joint.
  • One of the best places for a Tuscan lunch or dinner in Florence is Vini e Vecchi Sapore, Via dei Magazzini, 3, Firenze. Make reservations beforehand: +39 055 293045.
  • Lunch, Osteria Il Buongustai (near piazza signoria)  Via dei Cerchi, 50122 Firenze. Lunch spot I adore.
  • Trattoria Da Mario, Via Rosina, 2, 50123 Firenze. (San Lorenzo neighborhood). Casual.
  • Ristorante Il Tranvai,  Piazza Torquato Tasso, 14r, 50124 Firenze. A little further out there but I adore it! Casual.
  • La Pentola del Oro, Via di Mezzo, 24 – 50121 Firenze.  You can even try Medieval or Renaissance dishes here and the chef is pretty damn talented. A real find.
  • Accademia Restaurant,  Piazza San Marco 7R – 50129 Firenze. Hearty Tuscan fare.
  • Alla Vecchia Bettola, Via Vasco Pratolini, 3, 50124 Firenze
  • Il Sabatino, via Pisana 2, +39 55 225955.. Awesome & cheap!
  • Looking for a wonderful steak? Try Trattoria 13 Gobbi, it’s near the train station and they have some of the best steak in the city. Address: Via del Porcellana, 9R, Firenze.

Best Places To Get a Pizza in Florence

  • Yummy Napolotano pizza’s on via dei macci, make sure to make reservations! One of my faves!
  • One of the best pizzas can be found in the new ‘primo piano’ above the central market in san lorenzo, mercato centrale. The pizza is out of this world.
  • New place, Berbere in piazza nerli (oltrarno ), brand new quality pizza & craft beer, I LOVED the pumpkin, ricotta and spicy mostarda version. Facebook page
  • For a NYC Bistro type place that makes fabulous pizza, head to La Bussola, Via Porta Rossa, 58r, 50123 Firenze.
  • A real ‘find’ in Florence, wonderful pizza & pasta,  Cucineria La Mattonaia, Via della Mattonaia, 19R, 50121 Firenze FI.
  • Caffe Italiano (the pizzeria not the Osteria). They only have three choices – Margarita, Napoli or Marinara. Show up around 7pm to get a spot in this tiny location near S.Croce.
  • Vico del carmine, Via Pisana, 40/r, 50100 Firenze is one of my favorite spots for pizza, it’s lively and fun and can fit bigger groups, reservations recommended. 055 233 6862.
  • You may be surprised but one of the best pizzas in Florence is definitely at the Mozzarella bar on via tornabuoni! 
  • A local favorite is Pizzeria Spera,Via della Cernaia, 9, Firenze near the Cure district of Florence, it gets packed quickly so making reservations would be wise!
  • Pizzeria Orto del Cigno (along the river). This is a place where many locals go for pizza. It’s a little bit our of the center but you can get there in 15 minutes by bus (14) and you can eat outside.
  • Gusta Pizza in Piazza Santo Spirito.via maggio is a local favorite. Tiny interior or  you can bring your pizza outside on the church steps to eat – cheap & yummy.
  • The best pizza I have ever had was actually outside of Florence in San Donato in Poggio at a place called Palazzo Pretorio (about a 35 minute drive from Florence). You have to get the stuffed with ricotta-crust ‘sorriso’ pizza which will blow your pizza expectations out of the water!

pizza in florence

Coffee, Tea and chillaxing in Florence

  • The hippest new coffee joint in town is owned by a world famous barista, Ditta Artigianale on via dei neri!
  • What about just coffee and tea but you don’t feel getting overcharged? Here are my local spots of trendy & comfy coffee & tea bars. I always add to my list when I discover new ones.
  • Where can you go for cappuccino art in Florence, the photo below was taken at News Cafe in the San Lorenzo neighborhood, Via del Giglio, 59, Firenze.
  • Best places for ice coffee and WIFI browsing 
  • Dolce Lab on via dei macci, really really great muffins!
  • Hemingway’s, piazza piattellina (near piazza della carmine)
  • Via del te, tea room  (two locations Piazza Lorenzo Ghiberti, 22/23r and via di santo spirito)
  • Red, library & bookshop,  Piazza della Repubblica, 26
  • Todo Modo, Bookshop, library and free WIFI, Via dei Fossi 15 rosso 50123.
  • Mug, Via Borgo Santa Croce, 21, 50122 Firenze. Free Wifi (and it works).
  • La Cite,  Borgo San Frediano, 20, 50124 Firenze. Awesome place in the oltrarno, Free WiFi.
  • Quelo bar (santa croce), Via Borgo Santa Croce, 15r.
Where can you get a Duomo on your cappuccino: News Caffe!

Where can you get a Duomo on your cappuccino: News Caffe!

Where to get the best gelato in Florence

  • Geleteria Carapina, Via Lambertesca 18 (close to the ponte vecchio), probably one of the best in Italy (my opinion).
  • Carabe (Sicilian), Via Ricasoli 60/r close to the Duomo. Really awesome fruit gelato. This place just ROCKS
  • Geleteria dei Neri, Via dei Neri 20/22R. Better than Vivoli, just sayin. 
  • Geleteria della Passera, Piazza della Passera 15 (close to Palazzo Pitti). Don’t think about the awkward name of the Piazza.
  • Geleteria dei Medici, via dello statuto. Well worth the trek!
  • Gelateria Edoardo, piazza del duomo, makes their own cones and has cinnamon gelato, I love this place!
  • La Sorbettiera, Piazza Torquato Tasso, 11. Well worth the walk, plus this piazza is full of hidden foodie gems!

gelato

Great Restaurants out of town

  • Mac Dario in Panzano-Chianti (Tuscany)
  • La Tana di Charly (best restaurant in Emilia-Romagna), no really!
  • Fattoria LaVacchio near Pontassieve. Amazing food, amazing views & locally produced wine – all at a fabulous price! This is a place you want to go.
  • Restaurant L’Olivaia at Villa Campestri – open during the summer months and one of the best meals you will ever have. address: Via di Campestri, 19/22, 50039 Vicchio di Mugello FI. +39 055 849 0107
  • Palazzo Pretorio, Via del Giglio, 26, Tavarnelle Val di Pesa FI. Best pizza EVER!

Ethnic Fare in Florence, Italy

  • Brunch | The best brunch in Florence is definitely at the Le Vespe Cafe, Via Ghibellina 76R (near piazza santa croce).
  • Gnam Firenze is a hip new burger & natural soup joint in the oltrarno, it has rave reviews by my friends who have tried it. website. 0 Km and organic products.
  • American | Hard Rock Cafe in Florence, Italy.
  • Thai | Thai food in Florence + amazing cocktails
  • German/Bavarian | Bavarian in Florence, fried bread & garlicky cheese galore!
  • French| Awesome French restaurant on via dei macci.
  • Taste Festival in Florence, once a year foodies invade the city.
  • Sushi | New Sushi place Iyo Iyo, is in the historical center and has an actual Japanese Chef.  Borgo Pinti, 25, 50100 Firenze.
  • Sushi | Yaguri sushi in Florence, Italy. Very good!
  • Ramen| Real Ramen in Florence, fantastic little place near Piazza Santa Maria Novella
  • Chinese | Love Dim Sum? This is THE place to go in Florence.
  • American | American bakery serving up delicious bagels, sandwhiches & desserts.
  • Jewish | Looking for kosher? rest assured there is a great vegetarian kosher restaurant in Florence. Falafal!
  • Cuban | La Bodeguita Del Medio, Via Ponte Rosso 57r, 50129 Florence.
  • Indian/Chinese/ & More. Takeout – Food delivery, around the city. List here.

Brunch in Florence

  • Le Vespe Cafe’, Via Ghibellina 76R. hands down best brunch spot in Florence.
  • Brunch at The Diner in Florence , guest post at Curry Strumpet.
  • 1950’s American Diner, via del moro 85r, this is brand new and not far from the train station.

Aperitivo in Florence

  • Il Santino, via di santo spirito, part of my ‘must-try’ five minutes from the Ponte Vecchio. Small space so come early.
  • Hemingway, a local secret, they make fantastic aperitivo and wonderful cocktails. Plus the ambiance looks like Ernest would like to call home: Address: (on the other side of the river’) Piazza Piattellina, 9, +39 055 284781
  • Uscio e Bottega, Via Sant’Elisabetta, 9-red, Florence (Duomo area) 055 267 0452. Badass wine bar with free WIFI and great cheese and cured meat plates. They might have mo
  • Un Caffe, Via Cesare Battisti | 2/R, Florence, Italy. I love this place, rustic, cool, cheap and wonderful fun ambiance.
  • Imagine happy hour with one of the best views in town – on top of the terrace on Hotel Minerva! 
  • Another aperitivo favorite (a real find) is Libreria Brac on a hidden street near via dei benci! **** make a reservation or they may kill you.
  • Volume, Piazza Santo Spirito 5R, 50125 Florence, Italy. Where the hipsters go.
  • Se;Sto on Arno, Piazza Ognissanti, 3, 50123 Firenze. Rooftop bar on the Westin Excelsiore has a great aperitivo and an ever better view.
  • Le Volpi e l’Uva, piazza dei rossi 1r, cute little wine bar, Call to ensure that you get a spot on the outside terrace.
  • Pitti Gola & Cantina, Piazza de Pitti, 16, 50125 Firenze FI, 055 212704. Fancy place for a (traditional aka you mainly drink) aperitivo. Truly great wines.
  • Another gorgeous terrace that you can have aperitivo – Hotel Baglioni, terrazza brunelleschi has a gorgeous veggie buffet and some of the best Duomo views in town.
  • Rifrullo, Via di San Niccolò, 55r, 50125 Firenze. Where the Italians go for aperitivo. Room for large groups, call ahead.
  • Rivalta, Lungarno Corsini, 12/14 R. Expensive but quality drinks, ski[ teh spritz and go for the cocktail ‘grandma’s roastbeef’ or my favorite ‘moscow mule’.
  • Rari bar, I love this place and there aperitivo is pretty good! Lungarno Francesco Ferrucci, 24.
  • Forte Belvedere, beautiful place for aperitivo overlooking Florence (summer months)

Best Pasticceria in Florence

 

Food Tours worth trying

  • Had a wonderful experience with experienced gourmet tour leader Curious Appetite Travel, check out their tours here.
  • Food tour with a Florentine – a great way to discover local culinary traditions

My top restaurant lists that you can check out on YELP. 

** Or if you are craving a lazy-night at home but don’t feel like cooking, I have compiled a great list of places that deliver food. Enjoy! 

Cooking Classes in Florence I Recommend

  • Food For Friends is the brainchild of two friends, Italian and English who operate cooking classes out of a beautiful home in the center of town.What I like about them is the fact that this is not a cooking school but more like meeting someone who truly is passionate about food, teaches you in a gorgeous but casual environment and they have vegetarian options, Plus I adore Francesca and Jaqueline Facebook, website.
  • Another great choice in Florence is the MaMa Florence Cooking School by lebaccanti.com, Viale Francesco Petrarca, 12, 50124 Firenze + 39 055 220101. I have sent a lot of friends there and everyone always has a great time. Website.
  • DESINARE Cooking school & shop @ Riccardo Barthel is a good choice as well (in the oltrarno too!). They are not the cheapest option but I’ve heard good things. Via dei Serragli, 234, Firenze, Phone:055 221118. The location I should mention is absolutely beautiful. website.

Nightlife in Florence:


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  1. Lucia

    I have just started to learn italian at my home country and want to go to Florence next year for some course. I just found your blog and it is just perfect! I cannot find better word, but can also say much more than perfect!Thank you

  2. Lucia

    I am from Slovakia, I have just started to learn italian and want to go next year in may to Florence and hope one day I will live there:) this blog helps me a lot before my journey


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