Restaurants in Florence
Once known solely for its white-linen restaurants and trattorias, Florence has increasingly more to offer. A crop of enoteche (wine bars), along with new cafes and small specialty shops, are infusing life into the somewhat staid culinary scene. And many bars are stepping up their game serving full meals. Some of the best restaurants in Florence are located around Santa Croce and the Oltrarno.
But while restaurants in Florence deliver more variety than ever, keep in mind that the best Tuscan fare is made with fresh and local ingredients sourced from the surrounding region. One of our favorites is well-suited to the more adventurous palate: the Proacci Sandwich Shop, which puts its own spin on authentic Italian fare; be sure try one of their truffled sandwiches.
Another standout is Enoteca Pinchiorri. You'll pay well for the pleasure of feasting on foie gras or absolutely delicious guinea fowl ravioli in a palazzo north of Santa Croce. Of course, you're in Italy, so you must indulge. Satisfy your sweet tooth at Gelateria La Carraia, which scoops excellent homemade gelato in a wide range of flavors.
Fashion designer Roberto Cavalli, one of Florence's most famous sons (in modern times, at least) took it upon himself to revive one of the city's institutions to its former glory.
Ask for a table on the candlelit terrace overlooking the Arno at the chic, Ferragamo-owned spot. Chef Beatrice Segoni serves fresh fish and prawn soup and millefoglie with layers of light pastry and coffee cream.
In a humble kitchen outfitted with a century-old wood burning stove, Gianlfranco Paoli served traditional Tuscan dishes such a ribollita and rabbit in balsamic vinegar to the likes of England’s Prince Charles, Oscar-winners Roberto Begnini, Anthony Hopkins, and John Malkovich.
A café with delicious small plates, located on the ground floor of a palazzo in Santa Croce.
Imagine yourself sitting on the terrace of the 14th-century Palazzo Capponi delle Rovinate, watching the sleepy crawl of the Arno as you savor a plate of hand-cut french fries and a big, juicy gourmet burger cooked to a pitch-perfect medium rare.
Owned by eccentric restaurateur Fabio Picchi of Cibreino, Teatro del Sale is a members-only restaurant/theater/social club.
Just a little off the beaten path on Borgo Ognissanti near the Communal Theater, the family-run Trattoria Armando offers cucina casaligna (homemade food) in a narrow dining room decorated with autographed photos of the opera stars who've eaten there.
At this Florentine institution near Santa Croce, sit in the rose-colored, gilt-laden dining room and sample Tuscan staples like chickpea soup with pasta, or wilder options, like salt-encased smoked goose liver and prune bread. The wine cellar contains more than 100,000 bottles.
Lauded for its simple, no-frills Tuscan fare, Sostanza is also known as Il Troia (the trough) because its long, wooden communal tables are always packed with diners enjoying the same signature dishes.
With his mass of snowy white hair and beard, it’s hard to miss restaurateur Fabio Picchi as he flits between the four establishments that make up his gourmet empire in Florence’s up-and-coming Sant’Ambrogio area.
This intimate restaurant is helmed by Giordano Monni, who selects ingredients at the nearby San Lorenzo market. Try the chittarini, angel-hair pasta with porcini mushrooms.
With a history dating back to 1733, Caffé Gilli is one of the oldest continuously operating cafés in the city. Located in Piazza della Repubblica, Gilli retains an early 20th-century style with frescoed ceilings, rich wood paneling, Murano lamps, and a green marble—topped bar.
A literal hole-in-the-wall in the centro storico (historic district), I Fratellini is a tiny fiaschetteria (wine tavern) that sells affordable wines by the glass as well as panini made with fresh local ingredients.
Just a 10-minute walk from the Duomo, Caffé Cibrèo is situated outside the small, semi—open air market of Sant' Ambrogio.
The restaurant, so named because the long, vaulted space once housed a carousel, is a perfectly straightforward restaurant owned and run by Prince Dimitri and Soldano d'Asburgo Lorena.