Florentine dining embraces everything from delectable street food to vibrant food markets to century-old trattorias.
Florence is also the gateway to Tuscany’s celebrated wine country, which means some of the best wine in the world is at your fingertips.
In my opinion, Florence has the best “winter dining” cuisine in Italy. Dark think sauces filled with meat, hearty vegetables, fungi, and deep & delicious red wine.
Avoid the crowds and tourist traps and have a world-class culinary experience with this guide to the best places to eat in Florence. These are Sean’s official picks (Youtube).
Last Updated: Aug 4, 2020
Tips & Structured Options
Hangriness is no friend of a fun trip. Bookmark this post in your browser if you’re traveling to Florence for easy access to high-quality Florentine cuisine on the go.
I believe beach destinations are perfect for hanging around without a plan. Cities are better discovered with structured options. If you like this post, read about the best tours and experiences Florence has to offer. We even one of the top customer-rated food tours in Florence.
Da Nerbone (Mercato Centrale) €
The “best” can be widely misinterpreted or misrepresented. It could mean the nicest, oldest, tastiest, most authentic, or most revolutionary to name a few coinciding adjectives.
Il Nerbone is not the nicest or most revolutionary. It could be the tastiest and possibly the oldest, “dal 1872.”
You’re going to want to come here for lunch as this part of the market is closed for dinner. The food is traditional Florentine cuisine. Bollito is among the most famous but they will host a variety of options.
As always, ask the person serving you what you should get. If you’re nervous by the looks of things, order it anyway and pick a back up plan. Worst case scenario you like everything and will need to walk off your larger meal.
This location is not for the faint of heart. Cafeteria-style seating and possibly the drunkest and most grumpy staff in Italy. I’ve heard them say things I wouldn’t want to repeat but I go continue to go back for the grub.
Address: Inside Mercato Centrale (East Corner)| Hours: Mon-Sat 8am – 3pm | No Website | Tel:Don’t call
Floret (Artisan Kitchen) €
LOVE this place. Not a true restaurant. More of a cafe, but really really cool interior garden/terrace for having a cappuccino, prosecco, juice, or light lunch.
Definitely a great place to stop for a cool mid-afternoon pick-me-up.
Caffe dell’Oro (Michelin Recommended) €€€€
This treasure is the polar opposite of Nerbone in price, food, and ambiance. It shows how amazing of a city Florence is to have them on the same list!
Caffe dell’Oro is traditional Florentine cuisine in an upscale but comfortable setting. Perfect for an evening date or extravagant lunch.
It is recommended by the Michelin guide but does not have an official star. This means the prices are high but not outrageous. The view and feel of this restaurant is one of the best in Florence.
Like all regions of Italy, Tuscany has famous and historical cuisine- food that describes the agriculture and spirit of the area. One such all-star in Florence is a thick, juicy bistecca, steak.
There are three important characteristics of the bistecca Fiorentina– its 20-day drying period, the 2-inch thickness, and its ingredients, including both sirloin and tenderloin.
This is the place to go for one of the best ones served in Florence. Word to the wise- don’t ask for your steak “well done”, just order it and eat it as it comes.
Walking in, you feel as if you’re in somebody’s dining room- the walls are covered with photographs and jerseys of the local football team- Fiorentina. Aside from the steak, I’d recommend the crostini starters, toasted break with various savory spreads. If you’re a vegetarian, or simply not in the mood for steak, try the minestrone Toscana or pasta with truffles. Reservations are recommended.
Il Carduccio €
The two owners of the new farm-to-table hotspot in Florence have their fresh fruit and veggies delivered straight from a farm every morning.
Although the specifics are created every day, you’ll see juices, soups, vegetable patés, oven-baked dishes and cakes.
Carduccio brings in eco-friendly practices to their business so you can eat food that is good for your body and environment.
This is a great choice for vegans or vegetarians looking for a meal in Florence or for any carnivore looking for a farm-to-table healthy meal.
Antica Trattoria da Tito €€
A typical old school trattoria means simple décor, traditional methods of cooking, and classic recipes (often handed down through families). That’s what you get here.
Serving loyal Tuscans since 1913, it has some of the most famous fresh pasta and meat and cheese platters in the city.
The chefs use many recipes that were once used by their grandmothers. As they try to recreate that cozy, comforting environment of eating a family meal together
For starters, try the fried polenta and a selection of the meat and cheese platters. Try a typical Tuscan soup called ribollita, a hearty vegetable delight, or another typical dish of pappardelle with wild boar.
They are also known for the tripe and Fiorentina steak. Be sure to order at least one of these specialties.
Ará é Sud €€
This is the perfect solution if your taste buds are craving Sicily, but your itinerary just can’t find the time.
Chef Carmelo Pannocchietti uses the rainbow of Sicily to create contemporary meals of the region, using fresh locally-sourced vegetables and the highest-quality fish.
If you’re trying to save room for a gelato and don’t have room to order everything, stick with these menu picks.
For starters, the Caponata (a blend of eggplant, carrots, tomatoes, celery, olives, capers, raisins, pine nuts and mint) and the typical Sicilian Sarde Beccafico al Forno (oven-baked sardines with breadcrumbs, wild fennel and spices).
Next, go for the rigatoni all norma (rigatoni with eggplant, tomato, ricotta and basil) and the grilled mixed seafood. Perhaps the most important things on the menu, though, are the desserts.
Sicilian desserts make the world go round. So take a vow right now to order (at least) one Cannolo and Cassatina– a small dome of marzipan over layers of sponge cake and sweet ricotta.
Il Teatro del Sale €
For a livelier dining experience, head to this restaurant that also functions as a theater.
As the food is served only buffet-style with the wait staff and chefs yelling out which dish is ready to be swarmed, it’s worth it just for the people watching alone.
Diners are required to become members- €7 for non-resident foreigners and you pay on arrival.
The lunch/brunch buffet prices are set at €15/person during the week and €20/person at the weekends. The theatrical experience is during the evening, with a price of €35 for food + the show.
The show varies from select musicians to theater performances. The endless rounds of the buffet will last until you are in a deep food coma.
There isn’t a set menu for the buffet, but some of my favorite dishes in the past have been gnocchi, crispy fried anchovies, eggplant, swiss chard and grilled peppers.
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