When most people think about Italian food, they think about pizza and pasta. But each city has its own specific food traditions and Florence is no different. This used to be a hard-working, big-eating kind of town, so portions are usually hearty and filling. Steak is the order of the day here, with the Florentine version being thought to be one of the best in the world, thanks to a local breed of cow. Nowadays, Florence is also known as an epicenter for wine, thanks to its proximity to Chianti and other famous Tuscan regions. So expect great wine lists, quirky enotecas serving up brilliant food. All it takes is for you to book one of our selected hotels in Florence and head to this mecca of food and wine. Here’s our guide to the best restaurants in Florence.
One of the most exquisite dining institutions in Florence, this 1 Michelin starred restaurant is a proper Florentine experience. The dining hall is jaw-droppingly beautiful, set in one of the most beautiful palazzi in Florence. The food at Il Palagio is inventive but with a serious nod to Italian tradition. You can dine inside or on the expansive terrace overlooking gorgeous gardens. The main menu is a 7 course extravaganza but you can also eat a la carte. And let yourself be guided by their expert sommeliers for a bottle of something delicious to accompany.
Borgo Pinti, 99, 50121, Florence
No guide to the best restaurants in Florence would be complete without mentioning Enoteca Bruni. This quirky wine shop also doubles up as a brilliant restaurant. It’s just out of Florence’s city center; you can walk in about 40 minutes from the Duomo or take a taxi. The Bruni brothers are fanatical about wine so expect hundreds of brilliant bottles to choose from, all under their expert tutelage. They specialize in natural and organic wines, some of which are the best in Italy. The food is purely seasonal and inventive. Think specialty cheeses and hams, beetroot and goat cheese risotto and ravioli stuffed with guinea fowl. You can eat a la carte or they have a number of tasting menus, complete with an optional wine pairing.
Borgo Ognissanti, 25 Rosso, 50123, Florence
Coquinarius is a gorgeous little restaurant with a strong emphasis on wine, right in Florence’s city center. The menu is simple but distinctly Italian, with quality local cheeses and meats. They also do a great line in homemade pasta, such as tagliatelle with wild boar ragu, cheese and pear raviolini and spaghetti carbonara. As you’re dining in what was originally a wine shop, the wine list is also excellent, with a strong emphasis on Tuscan greats, as well as little known gems. Coquinarius is a great place to dine after building up an appetite with a Florence e-bike tour.
Via delle Oche, 11R, 50122, Florence
Pizzeria Giovanni Santarpia
Pizzeria Giovanni Santarpia is located on the outskirts of Florence, in the Due Strade district. But it’s well worth the effort to get there (by taxi is the most convenient) thanks to their exceptional pizzas. Giovanni Santarpia is a culinary icon in the Italian pizza world. His pizzas are Neapolitan in style which means a gooey, oozing center of cheese and tomato, designed to be eaten with a knife and fork rather than picked up. Giovanni only uses the very finest of Italian ingredients to make his pizzas; you’ll find the provenance of each on the menu. The pizzas range from the classic to the more inventive such as sausage, leek, and gorgonzola. All washed down with a small but decent selection of beers and wines.
And if you’re a pizza lover, be sure to book our Tuscany pizza and gelato cooking course where you can learn to make great pizzas under the watchful eye of an experienced chef.
Via Senese, 155r, 50124, Florence
The south side of the river Arno – which runs through the heart of Florence – is an up and coming area, full of artisans and some of the best restaurants in town. This includes Osteria dell’Enoteca. Locals normally leave Florence on the weekend to head to the local villages for their Sunday lunch. The team at Osteria dell’Enoteca wanted to re-create this experience right in the heart of the city.
This is a traditional meets modern Italian trattoria. And it happens to serve up some of the best versions of Florentine food you’ll find in the city. Steak is the order of the day here. Fiorentine T-bone steaks are known the world over, as documented in our Tuscany and Florence food and wine travel guide. But there are also some other clever dishes such as chicken liver terrine with a vin santo reduction and spicy octopus. There is no set wine list, rather a rotating selection of brilliant bottles (you can view them in a side room) and an expert sommelier on hand to help you choose.
Via Romana, 70/r, 50125, Florence
Il Latini is a family-run restaurant that couldn’t be more Italian if it tried. This is a local joint, devoid of many tourists. They flock here for home-cooked style meals such as crostini and steaks. The wine list is extensive and features many French and Tuscan gems. It’s worth making a reservation in advance here thanks to the popularity of the place. And the location can’t get much better, just tucked away down a side street close to the Piazza Repubblica.
Via dei Palchetti, 6R, 50123 Florence
Eating Out in Florence
There’s no doubt that Florence has a fantastic food scene – as our guide to the best restaurants in Florence shows. But it’s also home to gorgeous design. You can spend days absorbing all this great design and perhaps take in one of our fantastic tours of Florence. And then, spend the evenings dining in some of the greatest restaurants in the city. What a vacation indeed. Don’t forget to check out our guide to the best things to do in Florence to fill the time between breakfast, lunch, and dinner.