The Ultimate Guide to Eating Out in Florence

Keen to sample the best restaurants Florence has to offer, while avoiding typical tourist traps which fall far below Florentine standards? Yep, we get it.

Well don’t worry, because despite the fact the city center has a number of ‘touristy’ spots, finding an authentic restaurant near major attractions in Florence isn’t difficult – by any stretch of the imagination!

Florence is awash with fantastic spots for foodies, and as many past visitors will attest, the Italian city satisfies and delights locals and tourists alike, regardless of taste, budget or gastronomy preference.

Breakfast, lunch or dinner: Find the best restaurants in Florence

Whether you’re planning your day meal by meal, keen to find a family-friendly restaurant that caters to the whole gang, or eager to splash out on a memorable evening meal, this guide to restaurants in Florence is your one-stop shop.

We chatted with local Walks guide Elena who shared her insights on the eateries, trattorias and restaurants which are bustling with local patrons, and serving up the taste of Tuscany every visitor to the region is searching for!

And if you really want to make the most of your trip, why not indulge in Tuscan specialities on a local-led food tour through Florence or make pasta and gelato with a local chef!

Begin with a coffee…

Cucciolo

Stock Image: Bomboloni
Cucciolo specialises in chocolate and custard bombolini | Stock image

While Italians aren’t exactly known for rushing their morning coffee, this spot is absolutely perfect for a traveler keen to grab breakfast on the go!

Opened in 1943, Cucciolo is nestled in the medieval heart of the city. Located just a few steps away from the Duomo, Cucciolo is known for its bomboloni – an Italian speciality made of fried dough and filled with custard or jam.

‘Their bomboloni really are unmissable,’ Elena tells us. ‘I suggest trying one with custard and having it with a cappuccino: A wonderful start for a day in Florence.’

Pro tip: Don’t panic if you don’t see bomboloni displayed on the counter because they will make them on the spot for you!

Read more: 7 Things You Didn’t Know About the Incredible Florence Duomo

Gilli

Caffe Gilli Florence
Caffe Gilli via Facebook

If the idea of enjoying a leisurely breakfast in an atmosphere that calls to mind the Italy of days gone by appeals to you, be sure to visit Gilli, the oldest cafè in Florence.

“Through the centuries, this cafè has been the meeting place for artists and intellectuals,” Elena tell us.

Located in the Piazza della Repubblica, Gilli was opened in 1773 and its aesthetic is a perfect example of Liberty style.

Take your time choosing between the cafe’s vast selection of pastries before relaxing in a dining room that just begs you to linger and indulge in yet another cup of coffee!

PSSST! Choosing a restaurant can be tricky at times, but choosing a tour never is! Walks of Italy knows Italy – and its cities – inside out, and we love sharing that knowledge on local-led tours!

walksofitaly.com

Lunch like a local or go full tourist?

Casalinga

Casalinga, Florence
Casalinga via Facebook

The idea of eating like a local appeals to most travelers. After all, locals know where to eat and what to eat – so why wouldn’t we want to follow their lead?

“If you really want to have lunch like a local, go to trattoria Casalinga in Oltrarno, close to Santo Spirito Church,’ Elena tells us.

With an unmistakeable focus on flavour and a welcoming atmosphere winning over visitors time and time again, Casalinga is a must if you really want to experience the best of home-style Florentine cuisine.

Pro tip: Try their ribollita, francesina and crostini toscani, and thank us later!

Boccadama

Boccadama, Florence
Boccadama via Facebook

Fear that meal-time might eat into your tour plans? We totally understand; time is definitely of the essence when you have an entire city to explore!

So, why not combine a tasty lunch with a little sightseeing by eating at Boccadama which is set against the backdrop of the Church of Santa Croce?

Popular with tourists, the service is fast, efficient and, according to Elena, boasts a very appealing selection of wines!

With bruschetta, pizza, home-made lasagna, ravioli and salads on the menu, Boccadama is the perfect spot for visitors to Florence who want to indulge their tastebuds while soaking up the sights of the city!

Save or splurge: Time for dinner in Florence

Cento poveri

Cento Poveri , Florence
Cento Poveri

If you’re adhering to a budget during your trip to Florence, but don’t want to compromise on taste and standard, Cento Poveri is the place for you.

Located close to the Piazza Santa Maria Novella, this restaurant is known for home cooked food and fresh dishes, and like Casalinga, is a firm favourite with locals.

“Locals love this place because they are sure the portions are generous and the ingredients are fresh,’ Elena tells us.

Pro tip: If ordering Fiorentina steak, avoid requesting it ‘well done’!

Osteria del Pavone

Osteria del Pavone, Florence
Osteria del Pavone via Facebook

Osteria del Pavone is a perfect balance between innovation and tradition in an intimate corner of Oltrarno,” Elena tells us.

Just a few steps from Ponte Vecchio, this elegant but understated restaurant is the perfect place for you if you’re keen to sample traditional Tuscan cuisine with an imaginative twist.

Complete with a cocktail bar and extensive wine list, Osteria del Pavone is ideal if you plan to linger over a few drinks while indulging in a memorable evening meal.

For families in Florence

Foody Farm

Foody Farm, Florence
Foody Farm via Facebook

If you’re looking for a family-friendly venue that will cater to the whole gang – both young and old – look no further than Foody Farm.

Working with a variety of Tuscan farms, the restaurant’s mission is to make unique Tuscan flavours available to everyone, regardless of taste or budget!

And with a menu which includes a variety of meat, vegetables, pasta and cheese, Foody Farm smashes its goal by taking customers on a ‘gourmet tour of Tuscany’, without breaking the bank!

Don’t forget to check out the vegetarian/ vegan scene

Brac

Brac, Florence
Brac via Facebook

If you’re looking for a vegetarian-friendly restaurant with vegan options, it’s definitely worth checking out Brac!

Often missed by tourists as its exterior looks like a bookshop, Brac boasts a relaxed but welcoming atmosphere, and comes highly recommended.

Delicious, affordable and just the right side of quirky, it’s very likely you’ll visit more than once during your time in Florence!

Bonus tips for finding restaurants in Florence

OK, now that we’ve discussed breakfast, lunch and dinner options in Florence, let’s talk specifics!

If you’re keen to indulge in as much traditional Florentine cuisine as possible, or simply want to relax over good wine and savoury snacks, we have a bonus list just for you!

It’s time to include the following spots on your Florence food itinerary!

Bistecca fiorentina: Try Il Fiesolano

Il Fiesolano, a great Firenze restaurant
Il Fiesolano has Florence’s best bistecca fiorentina and portabello mushrooms! Photo by Tiana Kai

Florence has its fair share of top-notch steak restaurants. However, at Il Fiesolano, which is located in the hills just outside of Florence, in the town of Fiesole,they don’t just do the juicy, tender bistecca fiorentina – Florence’s classic T-bone steak – to perfection, they also present it with an air of dramatic flair. The waiter quickly slices the steaming bistecca fiorentina on a wooden cutting board in front of you before serving it on colorful Tuscan dishes.

Not a steak fan? No problem. The rest of Il Fiesolano’s menu is an example of excellent Florentine cuisine. But no matter what you go for, don’t forget to order a bottle of the house wine, Il Re delle Carni; a Chianti Classico that captures that Florentine moment you travelled for!

You can enjoy lunch or dinner on either of their two terraces, or inside under oversized hanging garlic cloves and peppers. Oh, and just remember to arrive hungry: The bistecca fiorentina here weighs in at a serious 1.2kg, or 2.6 lbs, for two people!

Read more: How to Order – and Enjoy – Wine in Italy!

Traditional Florentine cuisine: Try Il Magazzino

Great Florence, Italy restaurant
Il Magazzino’s signature dish, ravioli di lampredotto. Photo by Tiana Kai

Il Magazzino might be located in the most charming piazza in Florence – complete with a handful of outdoor tables – but the menu is as rustic as they come! Thanks to the super-fresh ingredients, you’ll feel like you’re eating freshly-picked produce straight from the farm.

This is the place to delve into classic Florentine dishes, like ravioli di lampredotto, tripe, and other pasta dishes. If you have a vegetarian in your group, don’t worry; there are non-meat dishes, too.

Read more:Foods to Eat in Florence and Tuscany

Wine and snacks: Try Il Santino

Good restaurant in Florence, Italy
Il Santino’s unforgettable cod and mashed potatoes. Photo by Tiana Kai

Time to talk wine, guys! Il Santino is one of the coolest little gems in Florence, with a nice mix of local patrons and knowledgable staff. With its great wines, meats, cheeses, and other small plates, it’s the perfect place to settle in for a lovely, long evening in Florence.

If you sit at the bar, prepare to salivate: You’ll be facing an assortment of hanging meats and sausages, including prosciutto. (Keep your eye out for the shiny red meat slicer!). Or grab a small table, set against the red-brick walls, to enjoy your top-notch wine and cheese.

We especially love their bacalao, which is cod whipped with potatoes. No one ever orders just one!

Panini: Try Caffè Dogali

Dogali panino, Florence
Dogali panino, fully loaded. Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor

There are endless panini joints throughout downtown Florence, but one of the most local—and best—spots is Caffè Dogali. A popular sandwich shop in the Campo di Marte neighborhood, it’s right across from the soccer and concert stadium.

The focaccia used as bread for the panini is bigger and better than any we’ve seen before. Choose from a variety of meats and take your pick from accompaniments including cream of mushroom, cream of artichoke, porcini mushrooms, cream of ‘nduja.

Fancy a cocktail with your panini? Done! Dogali has a bar too! And thanks to its popularity, the locale has extended its hours into the evening.

Which one of these restaurants would you eat at first? Tell us in the comments!

15 Comments

  • Jo Sonter says:

    None, I would go to All’Antico Vinaio. Wine bar on one side of the lane way, and devine little restaurant on the other.

    • Tiana Kai says:

      Oh yes, All’Antico Vinaio is a treasure for a 5€ amazing panino! It was not included in this list because we included Dogali which is also an institution and in a different zone where people may not venture to. Also, as a wine bar we included Il Santino for its low key mood where you can stay all night and munch on things and have amazing wine.

  • Donna S says:

    Be there is @ 3 weeks. Maybe we can dine at a couple of these!! Thank you so much!!

  • When I’m wandering around a new city I always look for where the locals are eating to help guide me to a good restaurant! Great post. And oh, that ravioli…! I’m starving now.

  • I love how the Dogali sandwich is pictured with a cappuccino! Must have been a tourist 🙂 I want to go to Il Fiesolano right now! Great suggestions! I love Pentola dell’oro, too and I can vouch for the bacalao at Il Santino, thanks to you!

  • CJ says:

    Price is reasonable $-$$

    Best Calzone & Stromboli in Florence: Il Pizzaiuolo still haven’t found pizza that tastes this good! This was a treat for me when studying abroad in Florence in 2008. Was taken there by my friends for my 24th birthday and was there for a friends engagement party; a definite treat.

    Planning a girls trip to Italy and won’t get to hit Florence on our trip this time.. Sure do miss being there. Being a food and hotel major, having amazing food at my fingertips like that was purely amazing. Wish I could have stayed and became an “expat,” but that was not part of the plan.. lol. But glad to be coming back to the country period!

    You should definitely add this place to your list of amazing finds in Florence and make it a must visit the next time you are there. Also be sure to get a reservation if there are more than 2 in your party as this place fills up fast in the evening and you could be waiting for more than an hour for a table. BUT TOTALLY WORTH THE WAIT!!

    Thanks for a great website full of viable information. It is also one of my resources for planning trips. Love It!

  • Diane says:

    Where is this Il Pizzaiulo located? Headed to Florence, and sounds like we shouldn’t miss it! Thanks!

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