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.
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.
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.
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.
Just a 10-minute walk from the Duomo, Caffé Cibrèo is situated outside the small, semi—open air market of Sant' Ambrogio.
Named for a Genovese doge (who was also the subject of a Verdi opera), Simon Boccanegra occupies the ground floor of 16th-century Palazzo Salviati in the Santa Croce quarter, and the location is a large part of its appeal.
With the goal of serving up "the soul of Tuscany" on a plate, former Bulgari executive Silvio Ursini (also the creator of the Obika mozzarella bars in Florence, Rome and five other cities) opened Osteria Tornabuoni in 2010.
The city's best kosher option serves a mean lox, couscous, and falafel.
Located near Palazzo Pitti, Trattoria 4 Leoni (the Four Lions) has two dining rooms, a casual one closer to the street and one a little more elegant with interior arches and brick showing through the stuccoed walls.
Established more than three decades ago by Florentine chef Guiliano Garga and his Canadian-born wife Sharon Oddson, Trattoria Garga is known as a colorful place.
Part bistro and part wine bar, Q.B. Quantobasta is a multipurpose venue owned by sisters Elisa and Alessandra Ruggi.
Opened in December 2006, PORTOfino is rapidly becoming the Florentine’s favorite seafood restaurant. Although it’s ten minutes by cab from the city center, the ride is well worth it.
With white tile walls, cured hams strung from the ceiling, and marble-topped wooden tables shared with other diners, Alla Vecchia Bettola is a classic Florentine osteria. The restaurant opened in 1979 as a way to preserve regional traditions that the owners saw slipping away.
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.
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.