Being on holidays never justifies poor dining choices. If you think your budget does however, stand corrected. From dandy street eats to tasty and atmospheric local favourites and all the way up to Michelin-star standards, Florence is a place where you can eat and eat well, however much you wish to spend. Here’s our pick of 7 great restaurants and brilliant eats in Florence, to give you a taste.
Via dell’Isola delle Stinche, 7/r, Firenze
In line with true Four Seasons standards, Il Palagio impresses. Acting as the hotel’s opulent main restaurant, it comes complete with distinctive period vaulted ceilings and columns, elegant decor and a summer terrace looking over the inner gardens. Awarded one Michelin star, Executive Chef Vito Mollica offers unique but consistently mouth-watering Tuscan-inspired tasting menus comprised of only the freshest seasonal ingredients. At the heart of the restaurant, an incredible 400-strong Winery Room offers the perfect complement: exquisite vintage wines available by the bottle and the glass.
Via del Proconsolo, 16r, 50122 Firenze
A local favourite that’s been tried and tasted and celebrated for over a century, Trattoria Sostanza has been going since 1869 and still today, is considered one of the best spots to eat in Florence amongst locals. Lauded for its simple, no-frills Tuscan flavours, expect an unpretentious atmosphere and eats packed with flavour and tradition. A single room with long, wooden communal tables, it’s always packed with diners and more often than not, they’re tucking into one of the signature favourites: artichoke tart or chicken with butter.
Via Maffia, 31, 50125 Firenze
If Italy means pizza to you, you can’t miss O’Munaciello. A bit of a hidden gem set in an ancient 17th century convent in the not-so-touristy neighbourhood of Santo Spirito, the mysterious and unique atmosphere makes the typical Neopolitan pizza taste even better. Locals consider it a romantic stop for a bite that won’t cost the Earth, and on some nights, live music sets an all-the-more-perfect scene. The walk over also brings the chance to glimpse real life playing out in the streets and artisans at work in their workshops.
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Borgo Pinti, 99, 50121 Firenze
Both a restaurant and a museum, Alle Murate offers tantalising ‘new wave Tuscan’ cuisine in a remarkable setting. The modern and slick table ambiance is perfectly laid out beneath an undulating labyrinth of arched ceilings adorned in historic frescoes – including the earliest known portraits of Dante and Boccaccio – in this unique location in the Palazzo della Arte dei Giudici e Notai (the palace of judges and notaries). Savour traditional Tuscan dishes prepared with finesse while sipping outstanding Italian and French wines from the cellar, an insatiable passion of the owner. Post-dessert, don’t miss the chance to see the palace’s Roman foundations downstairs, where the artefacts that are scattered throughout the restaurant’s three levels were first discovered.
Via dell’Isola delle Stinche, 7/r, Firenze
The legendary Bar Vivoli deserves its reputation as one of the best ice cream shops in Florence. The Vivoli brothers began making gelato in 1932 and have it down to a fine art. Hidden down a small street in Santa Croce, the focus is on unique flavours made with fresh ingredients and zero preservatives. Who could resist the sweet serenade of gelatine? It’s the perfect stop at any time of day.
Piazza della Repubblica, 7, 50123 Firenze
It’s one of the most fashionable places to be seen in Florence – and it comes with location in spades. Just two minutes from the Duomo, al fresco seating spills out onto an umbrella-lined terrace overlooking the magnificent and lively Piazza della Repubblica, filled with prime people-watching potential. Dishing up traditional Florentine fare, it is truly exceptional, all crafted at the hands of two-Michelin-star-chef Fulvio Pierangelini. Expect fresh locally-sourced ingredients, grand old-fashioned service and a head-turning list of aperitifs that have garnered world-wide acclaim. Come winter, a cosy interior beckons, decked out in burgundy leather and romantic murals.
America has its hotdogs, Paris has its crepes and in Florence, the street food movement is all about the tripe cart. The traditional Florentine mid-day snack or quick bite on the run, tripe rolls have been a go-to eat for centuries. Cheap and nutritious, it’s an iconic must-eat every traveller should try – and you won’t have trouble finding one; tripe carts are dotted all over the city.
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