In search of authentic Italian favorites like pizza, pasta, and gelato? Our travel expert looks at five of the best Florence restaurants to sample top-class Italian fare.
Florence is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Cradle of the Renaissance, it is today home to a wealth of culture and art that you can feel and breathe on every corner. Its churches, more similar to museums, its famous art galleries, and the grand architectural display, surrounded by narrow cobbled streets, the beautiful Ponte Vecchio, and all the piazze encircled by restaurants, make it a unique and romantic city. But the capital of Tuscany is more than art and culture; it also offers fantastic Italian food almost everywhere.
There are trattorias, osterias, and restaurants all over the place. Their dishes vary from Italian panini to whole meals consisting of antipasti, primo and secondo piatto, dessert and coffee. Florence is undeniably one of those cities where you can try the best Italian cuisine at places for all tastes and budgets. If you’re looking for reasonably priced options, take a look at these five recommendations below.
1. OSTARIA DEI CENTOPOVERI
- Recommended for: Tuscan Food
- Location: Via Palazzuolo, 31r, 50123 Firenze, Italia
- Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 12.00 – 15.00 and 19.00 – 23.00
- Price: From €29 for a set menu and €9 for a pizza
This restaurant and pizzeria offers delicious traditional food in a familiar atmosphere. At Ostaria Dei Centopoveri, everything you order will be tasty and abundant. Located near the area of Santa Maria Novella, on Via Palazzuolo, it is a great place to eat the Italian way. The food is delicious, and it is not a typical touristic place; you will be surrounded mainly by locals, but sometimes you will need to queue. This restaurant is most certainly a hidden treasure in Florence.
2. I GHIBELLINI
- Recommended for: Tuscan food, pizza and aperitivo buffet
- Location: Piazza di San Pier Maggiore, 8, 50122 Firenze, Italia
- Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 12.00 – 16.00 and 19.00 – 24.00
- Price: From €8 for the aperitivo buffet
Located at one of the corners of Piazza di San Pier Maggiore, near Santa Croce, this ristorante pizzeria called I Ghibellini serves typical Florentine food. As one of the most traditional restaurants, it is usually visited by a lot of people. Try the classic steak dish Bistecca alla Fiorentina or one of the famous and varied wood fire-cooked pizzas. Sit outside on the charming terrace by the piazza and drink some good Brunello di Montalcino wine, one of the best in Italy. If you go in the evening, you can also have an excellent aperitivo buffet at I Ghibellini Cafe, at a very affordable price of around €8. It includes a drink plus an all you can eat a selection of cheeses, salads, cold meat including hams, Italian vegetables and much more.
3. ALL’ANTICO VINAIO
- Recommended for: Street food, Italian panini
- Location: Via dei Neri, 74/R, 50122 Firenze, Italia
- Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 10.00 – 15.00 and 19.00 – 22.00
- Price: From €5 for a panino
If you’re planning on eating a good local panino, this is the place to go. Right next to Piazza della Signoria, very close to the touristic bustle, All’Antico Vinaio is one of the must-visit restaurants in Florence. For only €5, you can get the best sandwich in the city at this authentic spot. It’s a small eatery which offers cheeses, cold cuts and vegetables, while wine bottles make up part of the decoration. Most popular with locals, a broad range of panini and focaccia can be enjoyed with a glass of wine or prosecco. If you want a taste of Florentine famous porchetta (pork roast), All’Antico Vinaio is also a good option. Whether you’re here for lunch or dinner, whatever you eat is sure to be fresh and tasty.
4. POLLINI LAMPREDOTTO
- Recommended for: Street food, lampredotto
- Location: Via dei Macci, 126, 50122 Firenze, Italia
- Opening Hours: Monday 9.30 – 15.00 / Tuesday to Saturday 9.30 – 20.00 / Sundays Closed
- Price: From €3.50 for a lampredotto panino
If you crave traditional Florentine street food, you need to try lampredotto. It is made from the fourth stomach of the bovine, and it’s usually sliced and eaten in a sandwich with green sauce and hot sauce. Pollini Lampredotto is located on Via dei Macci, next to the Church of Saint Ambrose. The panino is served with a big plastic cup of red wine, and it’s excellent as a snack during the day or at lunch if you are in the area. Sit on the church steps at the piazza like a real local and indulge in this street food Florentine experience.
5. GELATERIA SANTA TRINITA
- Recommended for: Italian gelato (ice cream)
- Location: Piazza Dei Frescobaldi, 8/red, 50125 Firenze, Italia
- Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday 11.00 – 24.00
- Price: Varies, from around €2.50
After boosting the appetite with all of the above, it’s probably time for dessert. You can’t leave Italy without having an authentic gelato, and Florence is one of the best cities to get it. Gelateria Santa Trinita is a famous and well-rated gelateria located right on the corner in front of the bridge with the same name. It has a great variety of super tasty flavors which spoil you for choice. You can sit in the back where you can chill out and crave the wines and biscotti they sell. Or better yet, if you are visiting during the summer when Florence can get desperately warm, you can relax with your gelato in the shade while gazing across the River Arno and towards the lovely Ponte Vecchio.