Eat, Drink, & Be Merry: Tips From a Local
“You don’t need a silver fork to eat good food.” – Paul Prudhomme
Of course if you haven’t already guessed, I am a glutton for great food and good drinks. Enjoy!
Here you will find plenty of posts about restaurants, aperitivo, coffee, pizza, budget spots in Florence, Tuscany 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. Looking for a new, exciting place to eat in Florence, try this list!
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 :).
New & Noteworthy
In order to spotlight the newest places open in Florence that I adore, I created this section to celebration innovative new cuisine in the city.
- Gourmet Fusion | Gurdulù on via caldiae 12-14r. CiBi is no longer and something else better is in its place. Yes Santo Spirito has gotten a foodie upgrade with new spot Gurdulù who has a master chef at their helm, the lovely and affable Entiana Osmenzeza who creates the (small) menu from her heart and soul, basically whatever she feels like that week. The vibe is retro, modern which has taken over the city lately. But luckily (to me) the food matches the decor. Try the tasting menu and go for the chesnut and sweetbreads, truffles and trippa and the rana pescatrice which we adored, along with a Sicilian Etna bianco from their 200 bottle wine list. Don’t miss dessert, the ‘mont blanc’ was spot on! Expect to spend around 110 for two people.
- Ramen | Koto Ramen. Yes a new place has opened near the Santa Croce neighborhood that will be serving the ramen needs (and Japanese tapas) of locals and foreigners alike. No longer is ‘Banki Ramen’ the only spot in Florence. It looks cool and I am sure this will be quite a hit and I might wait for the fan-fare to die down before trying it myself to avoid crazy crowds. Address: Via verdi 42r
- Seafood: Tuscan Food | Borderline, near the Santa Maria Novella Train Station, Corso Italia 35, 50123 Florence, Italy. This new bistro continues the excellent move of restaurants worth drooling over near the central train station. The food here is elevated seafood and Tuscan fare, think tuna tartare, taglioni with swordfish and mint. The ownership is the same from ‘da tito’ another great local restaurant. Prices are medium $$$ but I doubt you would be disappointed!
- Pizza/ Sicilian Fare | Santarpia, Santa Croce neighborhood: Largo Annigoni 9C. This new spot serves up Naples-style fare like fried antipasti and pizza made with carefully-chosen local organic ingredients, the ambiance is minimal but the food is fantastic, especially if you’ve visited San Donato outside of Florence (where the former pizza master honed his craft). I’m VERY excited about this place!
- Japanese Buffet | Minokichi, Fortezza di Basso neighborhood. Via dello Statuto 21 AB. All you can eat Sushi and more from 22.90 euros and has already gained popularity with locals. (lunch is 12 euros).
- Italian | Industria Firenze. Elevated Italian food in a carefully curated spot (everything new looks like it came from Berlin in Florence) on borgo ognissanti, one of my favorite areas of town. I went there for lunch recently and liked their pizza ripiena. This place has potential but perhaps too big of a menu.
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
- Best Panino | 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.
- Best Lunch Deal | The menu at Trattoria Giovanni at Via Sant’Agostino, 38 is impressively affordable and changes seasonally, for around 11 euros. Mon-Saturday (really) you can get this menu which includes a first course, second course, side and water. It’s also a nice little sit-down place so you won’t feel rushed to leaeve.
- Best Bakery | Light lunch, S.Forno, Via S. Monaca 3r, 50124 Florence, Italy. Open 7:30-7:30pm. They are by far the best stop for bread, panini, cakes in a very awesome shop, by the visionaries of Il Santo Bevitore.
- Best Panino | Semel in Sant’ Ambrogio is an quintessential Florentine spot. Think cubby holes for your tiny wine glasses and small sandwiches with high-quality ingredients like anchovies, fennel and orange eaten standing up. You have to go here. Piazza Lorenzo Ghiberti 44/r.
- In San Lorenzo, Trattoria Sergio Gozzi (also known as ‘da sergio’) is one of the best local options serving traditional Tuscan fare since 1915 , as reminded to me by my friend Coral of Curious Appetite. address: Piazza di San Lorenzo, 8R, 50123 Firenze
- Teatro del Sale, is where it’s AT! Love this place for a variety of reason including the casual atmosphere, abundance of (fantastic food). Cheap and wonderful, just go! address: Via dè Macci, 118.
- 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
- Irene, retro bistro in piazza della repubblica, may be located in the fancy Savoy hotel but they have a wonderful lunch menu that won’t break the bank. Fresh, Tuscan cuisine in a very cool ambiance.
- 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!
- Gecko Bar & Grill is brand new and a lot of fun, the ambiance is wonderful and so are the fresh juices, they offer a lunch buffet for only 10 euros and it is actually good. Located in the oltrarno area. address: Via dei Renai 11
- Gluten-Free | Quinoa in Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore, 1 is a great spot for those who want to eat in a pretty little courtyard and are looking for a healthier option.
- Gilda’s Bistro in Sant’ambrogio is cozy and cool, with excellent down-home Italian food in an area of town where you can be sure you’ll eat better. address: Piazza Lorenzo Ghiberti, 50122 Florence, Italy.
- Polpa Burger is a new place opened in the san lorenzo neighborhood that serves fantastic burgers made with local ingredients and freshly-made chips. Read more about it here.
- Sexy Bistro | Irene at the Hotel Savoy is not only sexy in its design but also has some interesting and affordable lunch menus. Highly recommend, you can read my write-up 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.
Where To Go For Dinner in Florence
- Slow Food | Culinaria Bistro is run by an association of people that promote slow food in Florence. Piazza Tasso, 13R Florence, Italy (near Santo Spirito) CLOSED TUESDAYS.
- 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.
- Teatro del Sale, Via dè Macci, 118 is always a fun place to bring people and they often host shows here, see the program and more here.
- Cocktails at Locale, the hottest new spot on via delle seggiole, is a cocktail-connoisseurs dream! I had an excellent dark & stormy (made with Ginger beer) there recently. Naturally they don’t have a website or contact number, but I recommend just going. facebook.
- 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.
- For a nice dinner in a romantic ambiance, try Enoteca Le Barrique on via del leone (oltrarno). Great food, great wine, great service and a good price!
- Trattoria Giovanni is my go-to lunch spot near our house in the oltrarno. Their lunch menu is very affordable but so is dinner, they have a wonderful variety of fresh pasta dishes and Tuscan favorites like bistecca. Via Sant’Agostino, 38, Firenze, reservation recommended. +39 328 072 8028.
- Il Magazzino (for traditional Tuscan fare) in my beloved local piazza della passera and everything around this square is great!
- Irene is a sexy bistro that would make for the perfect girl’s night out in piazza della repubblica. The food is Tuscan with a fresher, healthy twist, great drinks.
- Ristorante Pane e Vino, Piazza di Cestello, 3R, Firenze is one of my new favorites. Located in the oltrarno side of the city, the menu is creative and distinctive, oh and they make their pasta fresh in-house. I highly recommend getting a wine pairing, as their impressive wine list is fabulous, you can’t get wrong with this place!
- Il Gecko is the place to go for a nice drink or bbq ribs, aka when you are tired of Italian food or need a huge ice coffee. Great burger in the san niccolo neighborhood. contemporary nice decor and the right price/quality ratio. Via Dei Renai 11/R
- La Menagere, is the hottest new restaurant in Florence, on via de’ginori in the san lorenzo neighborhood. Go there for lunch, dinner, coffee, pick up flowers, it’s all concept and cool. I’ve tried both their aperitivo & tapas plus lunch and loved it all all! Read more here.
- 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
- Il Guscio is away from tourist crowds and serves some really fabulous Tuscan dishes in a cozy ambiance. Open for both lunch and dinner, this is a local favorite! via dell’orto 49, Florence. San Frediano neighborhood.
- 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.
- A 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.
- 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! Fabio is owner of all three of the Cibreo enterprises and runs it all extremely well, I prefer the trattoria (price wise) and Teatro del Sale is a lot of fun! Think awesome buffet with entertainment.
- 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.
- Perseus is one of the top restaurants in town to eat the famous ‘bistecca alla fiorentina’ (Florentine steak). I like it, but it is quite expensive. Viale Don Giovanni Minzoni, 10/R,
- One favorite among us and many locals is Trattoria dell’Orto, Via dell’Orto, 35, 50124 Firenze, 055 224148. On the ‘other side of teh river’ this is where you want to go to eat traditional Tuscan food in a rustic ambiance. Really fantastic steak!
- Gilda Bistro, down-home cooking in the heart of Sant’ambrogio, love the peposo (slow-cooked spicy beef). address: Piazza Lorenzo Ghiberti, 40-red, 50122 Firenze.
- Buca Lapi, is an awesome place for steak and Tuscan food. address: Via del Trebbio, 1r, 50123 Firenze
- Trattoria Sostanza is always a sure bet for great food ‘bistecca alla fiorentina’ (Florentine steal) and my favorite, the butter chicken. One of those places that I adore taking out of towners for the simple, wonderful ambiance. Via della Porcellana 25. Reservations recommended. It’s not cheap (sides are 9 euros) but it is a nice splurge.
- Trattoria Il Guscio in the oltrarno is a nice choice. Via dell’Orto, 49, very simple, down-home cooking at a good price. The seared tuna with pistachio is probably my favorite, plus they provide large portions.
- 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
- Trattoria Osvaldo for steak, Tuscan cuisine and a nice ambiance a little outside of the city center. It looks like your grandmother’s kitchen but here, that’s a great thing. address: Via Gabriele D’Annunzio, 51R
- 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.
Seafood in Florence
Florence is nowhere the sea, but luckily it is possible to find decent places here. If you can’t make it to the Tuscan coast (and Livorno for the famous fish stew ‘cacciucco’ try these spots.
- Pescheria San Pietro, directly in front of the train station, address: Via Luigi Alamanni, 7. They have a fabulous lunch menu which I recommend and make their own fresh pasta. Open daily 8-1pm, mentioned in my article on cool places near the station.
- Fiaschetteria di pesce, where the locals go near the ponte alle vittorio roundabout. Get there early as it gets crowded. The menu of primi (first courses) changes daily and you can pick your fish directly from the glass display in the front. Interesting wine list. Service is questionable at best, you tend to get that ‘Florentine’ stink-eye but go anyway, it’s good. address:Piazza Taddeo Gaddi 5/r, Firenze, Italia, open 7:30am-9pm (you can also buy fish here).
- Il Guscio, neighborhood: san frediano, Via dell’Orto, 49. Good home-cooking and excellent fish dishes. Open Monday-Friday 12-2:30pm, 7:30pm – 11pm, Saturday 7:30am – 11pm, closed Sunday.
- Pasticceria Giorgio, neighborhood: soffiano, address: Via Duccio di Boninsegna, 36. Known for the excellent pastries but the surprise is that they also have great fish dishes. Go for lunch. Tuesday-Saturday 7:00am-8pm, Sunday 7am-1pm, closed Monday.
- Bistro del Mare, neighborhood: Ponte Vecchio, Lungarno Corsini, 4. Nice fish restaurant that serves great crudo (raw). Open Tuesday-Sunday 12:30pm – 2:30pm, 7:30pm -10:30pm, closed Monday.
Best Places To Get a Pizza in Florence
- When Santarpia opened (near sant’ambrogio) you can better believe that there was a line of hungry Florentines out the door, Giovanni Santarpia is a legendary pizzaiuolo who was once in San Donato at Palazzo Pretorio, a place that Nico and I had no problem driving 40 minutes for a truly supreme pizza pie. Now open in Florence in a pretty simple ambiance, the only problem is getting a reservation before 10pm. Call ahead, but seriously ahead! From the classic margherita to pizza topped with lampredotto. Address: Largo Pietro Annigoni, 9, 50122 Firenze, Phone:055 245829
- My favorite to-go pizza in Florence is Pizzeria O Scugnizzo (Napoli style pizza) on Via Dell’orto, 25/R, Firenze. Open nightly 6:30-11:30pm.
- Da Gherardo is in the san frediano neighborhood and roughly the size of a postage stamp, however, I really like the unique, very tight, ambiance and the pizza is really good, Neapolitan style. on Borgo S. Frediano, 57/R, 50124 Firenze. Reservations highly recommended, best for groups of 2-4 people max. +39 055 282 921, open daily 7:30pm-1pm.
- Pizzeria Torcicoda is one of the best places in town for pizza, near santa croce. quality ingredients and excellent craft beer. address: Via Torta, 5, Firenze. Open daily, 12pm-12am. +39 055 265 4329
- Yummy Napolotano pizza’s on via dei macci, make sure to make reservations, very rustic in the sant’ambrogio neighborhood.
- 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.
- Berbere in piazza nerli (oltrarno ), brand new quality pizza & craft beer, I LOVED the pumpkin, ricotta and spicy mostarda version. Facebook page. Go for the daily pizza, always. Open 7 days a week, 12.00 – 15.00 / 19.00 – 23.00.
- New spot Briscola, from Milan, is a tasty pick near the train station on Via del Campidoglio 8R – Firenze.
- 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!
- Gusta Pizza in Piazza Santo Spirito.via maggio is a local favorite but I personally think it is overrated and sometimes my pizza dough was not all of the way cooked, I much prefer Scugnizzo and da gherardo which are nearby. You can eat in the 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!
Coffee, Tea and Relaxing in Florence
- The hippest new coffee joint in town is owned by a world famous barista, Ditta Artigianale on via dei neri! Plenty of cold drink options too.
- Gucci Caffe’ is somewhere I tend to go for meetings or grab a cappuccino or three while working on my computer, Piazza della Signoria, 10.
- La Ménagére, address: Via de’ Ginori, 8, also a restaurant, the coffee bar area is quite nice and they don’t mind if you pull out a laptop. Open daily 7am-2am. The coffee is from Ditta Artigianale.
- San Tea Coffeehouse is a new place that has just opened up on the ‘oltrarno’ side of the Ponte Vecchio. The exact address is: Via Dè Barbadori, 21. Very cute little space on an otherwise pretty quiet street, here you can get your fix of tea (bubble tea included) fresh fruit juices and more. Closed all of August.
- A kid-friendly spot is new spot Anderson, Via Borgo Santa Croce, 21. Open 10am-10pm. The website is well-done.
- My ‘local’ is Cafe degli Artigiani in piazza della passera, no-nonsense and you can sit outside and eat a light lunch.
- 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.
- 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 to get the best gelato in Florence
- Top Choice, Gelateria My Sugar, Via de’ Ginori 49r (San Lorenzo neighborhood). Brand-new artisan joint owned by two passionate people, try their pistachio & yogurt! Highly recommend. Open daily from noon until 11pm. website.
- 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.
- #3 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!
- #2 La Sorbettiera, Piazza Torquato Tasso, 11. Well worth the walk, plus this piazza is full of hidden foodie gems!
Great Restaurants out of town
- CHIANTI | Mac Dario in Panzano-Chianti (Tuscany)
- EMILIA-ROMAGNA | La Tana di Charly (best restaurant in Emilia-Romagna), no really!
- VALDARNO | One of my top restaurant recommendations in Tuscany is Il Canto del Maggio, a 40 minute drive from Florence in the Valdarno area of the region. Read my review and details how to get there here.
- PONTASSIEVE | Fattoria LaVacchio near Pontassieve. Amazing food, amazing views & locally produced wine – all at a fabulous price! This is a place you want to go.
- MUGELLO | 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
- AREZZO | Ristorante Il Goccino, address: Via Giacomo Matteotti, 90, 52046 Lucignano Arezzo. One of the best restaurants in Tuscany, under the watchful eye of Chef Susanna.
- VAL DI PESA | Palazzo Pretorio, Via del Giglio, 26, Tavarnelle Val di Pesa FI. Best pizza EVER!
- BAGNO A RIPOLI | A ‘Casa del Popolo’ in the Florentine fraction of Bagno a Ripoli, Osteria Nuova is a hit with locals looking for al-fresco dining with affordable prices. Highly recommend the daily menu & pizzas. address: via roma 448, facebook.
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).
- For Thai & Sushi fusion that actually ROCKS, try Niwa, address: Via del Ponte alle Mosse
- 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.
- Thai Street Food | Icchethai StreetFood Firenze, I haven’t tried it yet but as soon as I saw ‘thai street food’ I had to add this here so at least you guys could know about it. It just opened, address: Lungarno cellini 25c (not far from the San Niccolo tower).
- American | Hard Rock Cafe in Florence, Italy.
- 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. One to watch.
- Sushi | Yaguri sushi in Florence, Italy. Very good!
- Lebanese | I really like this Lebanese joint in the Santa Croce neighborhood, Valle Dei Cedri, you can also order take-out from them via the website thefood.it. address: Via Borgo Santa Croce, 11, 50122 Firenze.
- Ramen| Real Ramen in Florence, fantastic little place near Piazza Santa Maria Novella. They even do cold, summer versions.
- Chinese | Love Dim Sum? This is THE place to go in Florence.
- American | American bakery serving up delicious bagels, sandwiches & 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.
- IcCheThai Street Food. Yes my prayers have been answered, someone has brilliantly saw a gap in the Asian food market and has created a small spot along the lungarno (san niccolo tower) to provide a simple menu of thai food favorites such as pad thai, noodles, green curry, gyoza, fried egg rolls paired with craft beer, wine and more. The set-up is simple and definitely not fancy, but the food is good. I tried the green curry (6.50 euros) made with eggplant and basil, tasty (and very spicy) while the steamed dumplings were jam-packed with flavor. Well done! Open Tuesday-Sunday 6pm-midnight, closed Monday.
- Il Gesto, oltrarno neighborhood, is a brand new spot in my neighborhood that offers an eco-friendly way to dine. Managed by an under-30 crowd, here you order small portions of interesting dishes like ‘sushi taco’, ‘mini burger’ falafel’, make your own bombolone, all using little chalkboards that are also used to serve the dishes. The inner decor is also quite awesome. address. Borgo San Frediano 27/r. website. open for dinner 6pm-2am.
Brunch in Florence
- For a fancypants brunch without a suffocating price, try Florian’s brunch on via parione. For 35 euros you get access to a fabulous buffet full of delights such as oysters, raw rish, mini pancake stacks, all the sweets you can think of. Hot and cold dishes, and a bloody mary buffet. Drinks and food included, 35 euros. The best option ever.
Sunday brunch is not an often occurrence for me in Florence but I took one for the team 😉 post #WWIM12Firenze and tried out @caffeflorianfirenze 's new bloody mary brunch buffet with a few friends @elenaciprietti @_lostinflorence @scooteromatours @swedishmarcus @arttrav @curiousappetite … This luscious offering of raw fish, oysters, veggies, eggs, mini-pancake stacks, desserts for 35€, including beverages ☕️🍹 is top notch. And in a cozy contemporary location. Sundays 12-3pm. Expert bartender Julian is what I'd like to call a 'cocktail anthropologist' who is incredibly creative, he made #nationalvodkaday this much more special. #TravelerEats
- Le Vespe Cafe’, Via Ghibellina 76R. hands down best brunch spot in Florence.
- For my top ‘Italian’ brunch, go to Teatro del Sale, Via dè Macci, 118. Casual atmosphere, buffet style & truly excellent. More info on the adjoining shows here.
- 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.
- Rari Nantes is a fantastic option for brunch along the arno river near piazza ferrucci. Only on Saturday and Sunday, 12pm-4pm, make reservations as the ‘cool kids’ in Florence fill it up! Lungarno Francesco Ferrucci, 24
Firenze FI call: + 39 055 680979.
- Libreria Brac does a late Sunday brunch: 12-4pm and is perfect for vegetarians and vegans. address:
via dei vagellai 18r – ph. 055.094487
- Fancy! The Four Seasons in Florence offers up a gorgeous brunch (think 75 euros a person and up!) but they are pricey! Four Seasons is 12-3pm (weekends) Borgo Pinti, 99 – ph. + 39 055.2626450.
- Fancy! JK Place in piazza santa maria novella has an awesome Sunday brunch, 12:30 – 3pm. Ask for a seat on the terrace. ph. 055.2645181 www.jkplace.com/indexBrunch.php
- Fancy! Also Villa Cora has a gorgeous Sunday brunch sourcing local ingredients. Villa Cora: Viale Machiavelli 18 – Florence ph.055 228790 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Best Restaurants For Big Groups
Just because you are in a big group, doesn’t mean you should have to eat crap. Here is my top list on where to eat in Florence for 10+ people. Feel free to add any suggestions in the comments below.
- Cucineria La Mattonaia. In the Sant’ Ambrogio neighborhood, this is a top pick and where I took a huge group of friends for Nico’s birthday last year. Beautiful ambiance and really fabulous Italian food, the menu specializes in seafood and pizza, there is something for everyone here. Highly recommend. address: Via della Mattonaia, 19R, 50121 Firenze FI. Phone:+ 39 055 386 0564
- Pescheria San Pietro. Literally in front of the Santa Maria Novella Train Station. Serving up fish (and a cheap lunch menu), this place is a find among locals who are looking for that perfect fish & chips dish with an Italian twist. They have a downstairs level which is fabulous for big groups. Ristorante Pescheria San Pietro Address: Via Luigi Alamanni, 7, Firenze. Phone: +39 055 238 2749
- La Pentola dell’Oro. Near Santa Croce and Sant’Ambrogio. Going back in time to eat Mideval (yes) food in a wonderful restaurant. I have taken a few people here and they have all been very happy with the creative and interesting menu. Great for groups! address: Via di Mezzo 24. Phone: (+39) 055 241808.
- La Beppe Fioraia. In the San Niccolo neighborhood towards Piazzale Michelangelo. I like this place because it is fun, and kind of hidden on a street next to a park in Florence. They have really awesome ‘tagliere’ or cured meat and cheese boards. Great for groups! address: Via dell’Erta Canina, 6r, 50125 Firenze. +39 055 234 7681
- Ristorante ‘Il Latini’. Near Piazza Repubblica. I recently went back to this place after 4+ years and was delighted that the food was (good) and the service was (great). Often hailed as a ‘tourist trap’ by locals, I saw screw it and go there anyway, I had fun and they can host big groups. address: Via dei Palchetti, 6R, 50123 Firenze, +39 055 210916.
- Anderson is a new spot located near piazza santa croce that is run as a family-friendly bistro with plenty of toys and space for your little ones. via borgo la croce 21r, open 10am- 10pm Tues & Wednesday, 10am-midnight Thursday to Saturday, Sunday 10am-10pm. more info here.
- Fosso Bandito, located in Florence’s big green space, Cascine park, this is a great spot to come with your family. address: Via Fosso Macinante, 4, , you can get there with the tram from the station. The restaurant and pizzeria is pretty ok!
Aperitivo in Florence/ Wine Bars
- Uva Nera is a wine bar that looks straight out of a time-warp, in a good way. Think vintage cinema seating and 1940’s music, the wines on selection + cheese and meat platters are top. Highly recommend. address: borgo ognissanti 25.
- Langolino Gastrobar Firenze, just steps from Piazza Santo Spirito and a tiny but very cool place. Great quality organic wines, Tuscan cured meats, cheeses and mostarda, salads and crostini. Highly recommend. address: Via delle Caldaie, 8r, Florence, Italy.
- Il Santino, via di santo spirito, part of my ‘must-try’ five minutes from the Ponte Vecchio. Small space so come early.
- Pitti Gola e Cantina is a classy wine bar specializing in wines from Piemonte and is known to have one of the best wine lists in the city. Located directly in front of Palazzo Pitti, this is the perfect little spot for a glass of wine before dinner (they do have food here) but reserve ahead or come early as spots fill up fast. address: Piazza de Pitti, 16. +39 055 212704.
- 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
- Gecko Bar & Grill, brand new hip little bar on Via dei Renai 11, they have cocktails, wine and a pretty fab ambiance. Highly recommend.
- 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’.
- Sweet wine bar is a little out of the center but quite cool and has a nice wine selection and nightly aperitivo. Open address: Via di Ripoli, 8
- A secret haunt that many don’t know about is the very cool private bar, L’appartamento which in on Via dei Giraldi 11. Here you must sign up to be part of their association (which costs 10 euros for an entire year) and you can come for aperitivo, drinks, coffee, at a really cool location in the center of Florence. It’s like being in someone’s cool apartment, with a small terrace and full of locals in the know.
- 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
- Pasticceria Giorgio (famous in Florence, amazing pastries!) Via Duccio di Boninsegna, 36, 50143 Firenze
- Cafe Neri close to the Ponte Vecchio, Via dei Guicciardini 3/5 rosso. Excellent pastries next to one of the most visited spots in Florence, the ‘old bridge’ or Ponte Vecchio.
- S.Forno, located in the san frediano/santo spirito area. Via S. Monaca 3r, 50124 Florence, Italy.
- Robiglio, Via dei Tosinghi, 11/R. Hot chocolate, good coffee, pastries to die for, and close to the Duomo.
- La Pasticceria (Bread & Pastries) in the new floor on top of the fresh fruit & veg market in San Lorenzo. I love love love the eclairs!
Food Tours in Florence/Tuscany worth trying
KM Zero Tours is company operating out of Montrogoli, Chianti — about 25 minutes from Florence and whose aim it is to take you around small and local producers (cheese, wine and more) and tell you more of the behind-the-scenes story. They also have a beautiful villa to rent (also in sections) where they whip up meals and give you recommendations. They are incredible, and I have found a renewed love of the Chianti area because of them. Website.
Food Tours in Florence –Curious Appetite. Food Blogger in Florence leads various food and wine tours by foot in Florence and wine tours in the Tuscan countryside. Tours are organized by themes (market, food and wine pairing, aperitivo, dinner crawl, artisan workshops, craft beer and more) and location (wine tours in Montalcino and Chianti Classico). I personally had a wonderful experience with Coral aka Curious Appetite Travel on a number of different tours, you can’t go wrong with a person who loves food, is knowledgeable and makes you laugh, check out their tours here.
Cooking Classes in Florence I Recommend
- My favorite place to send people is to the cooking class of Giulia aka ‘Jul’s Kitchen,’ a lovely girl who is based out of her house in the Tuscan countryside (a 40 minute bus ride from Florence – so easy!). She makes traditional Tuscan food in an ambiance that I can only describe as dreamy. You can read more about my experience with her here.
- Pizza-making in Florence with Curious Appetite. She is my foodie go-to gal in the city, and for those who want to learn how to make pizza, I recommend her class in Florence which she does together with a Gambero Rosso awarded chef, you will make your own pizza dough from scratch with artisan gourmet ingredients. Afterwards she will take you wine tasting or on a gelato tour, post-pizza making. Sounds like heaven!
- 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:
- Nightlife in Florence Part one : Clubs/Discos
- Nightlife part 2: Pubs, live music, cocktail and wine bars.
- Art Bar in Florence (best fruit cocktail in town)
- Like underground bars with amazingly weird cocktails? Then try Surf Ventura.
- Florence by night, my ideas.