I’m obsessed with food. I’m either eating or thinking about what I’m going to be eating. As soon as breakfast is over, I’m planning where to go for lunch, and once that’s over it’s time to start thinking about dinner.
So I do eat out a lot, working in the centre of Florence generally means I’ll grab a quick panini somewhere, then for dinner it’s somewhere close to my apartment in Sant’Ambrogio, or I’ll cook something with ingredients I buy from the local market. So I’ve put together a list of my favourite bars, cafes, restaurants, places to grab a panini, a good gelato etc. for whenever your stuck for ideas on where to eat. Buon appetite!
Mercato Centrale; San Lorenzo district – This place should be on every visitors list, a great place for a first night in Florence. Grab a bottle of wine from the shop, find a table then start eating! The deep fried veg is always a must for me, but the pizza, pasta, fish, meat and just about everything else is amazing!
Santarpia; Largo Pietro Annigoni – The best pizza in Florence. Nothing else needs to be said.
Casa del Vino; Via dell’ Ariento, 16R – This is in every guidebook, yet not many tourists seem to venture inside. It gets busy with locals who are after a quick panini and a nice glass of wine.
Uva Nera; Borgo Ognissanti, 25R – Cute little wine bar on one of my favourite streets. They do nice salads and take care in sourcing their ingredients. Lovely people too!
Il Pizzaiuolo; Via de’ Macci 113r – This is my local pizza restaurant and it’s considered to be one of the best in Florence. The place is always packed so I normally opt for a takeout. It’s in the Sant’Ambrogio area so plan for a glass of wine one of the many nearby wine bars beforehand.
Enoteca Sant’Ambrogio Caffe; Piazza di Sant’Ambrogio 7 – This is a bit of an institution to the locals who live in Sant’Ambrogio, which means it’s always very busy and people spill out into the piazza late into the night. Huge selection of wines by the glass and a cool atmosphere.
Agricola Toscana; Via del Corso 27r – On one of the busiest streets in Florence, I was actually pretty surprised the food was good here. They take a lot of care in sourcing their ingredients so everything is top quality, a great place for a quick lunch.
Panbriaco; Via del Corso 29r – Just next door to Agricola Toscana is a tiny place with a few tables to grab a selection of local meats and cheeses, or a panini to take away.
Il Giova; Borgo la Croce, 73R – Always busy so try and book beforehand. Nice menu, with a hand written blackboard full of specials. Their HUGE portion of fried veg as a side is addictive.
Enoteca Fiorentina; Via Pietra Piana 11r – On one of my favourite streets in Florence, and one where tourists don’t normally venture out to, this place is great for a fancy meal on a special occasion. The food is always great but it’s the wine list which always has me coming back – it’s absolutely huge, and 95% organic!
Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina; Piazza de’ Pitti, 16 – With a view of Palazzo Pitti, this is decently one of the best wine bars in town. An amazing wine list, with a fantastic wines by the glass selection. The food is fantastic too, with a real focus of quality rather than quantity. I tried an amazing 1970 Chianti Classico last time I was there!
Cova Tapas Bar; Sdrucciolo de’ Pitti, 19r – Down a little side street opposite Palazzo Pitti, this is a great place when you need a break from Italian! Everything I tried was delicious, especially the tortilla!
Konnubio; Via de’ Conti, 8R – Another recommendation for a special occasion, with a great menu and interesting twists on dishes with unusual flavour combinations. They also have a good choice for vegetarians and vegans. Mortadella filled agnolotti were one of the best things I’ve ever tasted and their wine list is pretty interesting too.
Locale; Via delle Seggiole, 12/red – While this place is a restaurant, I’ve only sat at the bar and had a few cocktails. Whilst they are expensive, they’re amazing and with the little nibbles I think they are totally worth it.
SottArno; Via Maggio, 53r – This new place has just opened on the Oltrarno side of the river. Their lunch offerings are delicious and I love the decor. I tried the “ohhhh” which was a rosemary and raisin filled bun, with mortadella and parmesan. It was sensational.
Il Santino; Via di Santo Spirito 60 – The little brother of Santo Bevitore is this cute little wine bar situated next door. It’s more casual, and super small but perfect for a hide away lunch or an aperitif before dinner – if you can bag a table! Their bruschetta with various toppings are delicious.
Ristorante Quinoa; Vicolo di Santa Maria Maggiore, 1 – Tucked away yet right by the Duomo is this interesting gluten free restaurant. Dishes have worldwide inspiration, from Pad Thai to an Indian spiced burger. It’s a great change from Italian dishes.
Vini e Vecchi Sapori; Via dei Magazzini 3R – Another one which is in all the guide books, it’s not somewhere I go time and time again, but I did have a good meal considering it’s right off Piazza della Signoria.
Brewdog; Via Faenza, 21R – I love my beer (despite being a sommelier) so whenever I’m near San Lorenzo I pop in here for a pint and the nachos.
Perchè no!; Via dei Tavolini, 19R – If your after gelato in the centre, please don’t go for any old one! Perchè no! is always my first choice. I actually really like Grom gelato, despite it being in every city now, I still think it’s great and fairly priced.
Birreria Art. 17; Borgo la Croce, 62 – This is a drink recommendation which is just opposite the always rammed Enoteca Alla Sosta Dei Papi (which is great if you can actually get in the door). This place specialises in artisans beers and has some really interesting ones on tap.
Le Murate; Piazza delle Murate – Back in my beloved area of Sant’Ambrogio. I have my Italian lessons here and have absolutely fallen in love with this space. It’s an ex-prison so full of interesting nooks and crannies to discover. Coffee and pastries are great and it’s perfect for lingering/studying without being disturbed for a few hours. They hold regular events and gets pretty popular in the evenings.
Da’Vinattieri; Via Santa Margherita 4r – Probably my favourite place for schiacciata in the centre, just off Via del Corso. The bread is nice and crunchy, with plenty of salt, go for number 5 which is filled with prosciutto, artichokes and chicken liver. Get a few coccoli while you wait too.
Il Cernachino; Via della Condotta 38r – Another one in the centre and great for lunch. It gets absolutely rammed with regulars and tourists alike. Look for the menu on the right of the till, the “scodella” are bread rolls filled with sausage and greens, tripe or meatballs! They have a hot selection too for more a substantial lunch (the polenta is always great).
Ristorante il Pennello; Via Dante Alighieri, 4/r – This is the restaurant I generally take friends or family visiting Florence for the first time. It’s central, fairly easy to book a table (it gets busy!) and despite having a huge menu, everything is always great! There’s service with a smile, and your served quick. Their ribollita is one of my favourites.
Goose Bistro; Via delle Oche, 15R – For the times when I miss home; a pie of the day, to fish and chips. They have also started doing some Italian dishes too. Nice selection of beer, and they are super friendly.
Le Volpe è l’Uva; Piazza Dei Rossi, 1R – For day time drinking check out this place just beyond the Ponte Vecchio. Amazing selection of wines by the glass and nice little snacks too.
Enoteca Alessi; Via dell Oche, 27R – A few doors down from Goose Bistro is this amazing wine shop (downstairs) and a lovely wine bar. I normally go in for a glass of something nice and one of their salads.
Essenziale; Piazza di Cestello – If your after something a little different with a modern take on food, head here. A really talented young chef knocks out a fab tasting menu with flavours for all over the world.
Eataly; Via de’Martelli, 22 – Ok you find them all over the world nowadays but hands down it’s the best place to buy bread, even the Florentines vouch for this! They have 2 restaurants; a fancier one upstairs and an informal one at the back. It’s a great place for lunch for a great pizza, delicious pasta or a salad. Nice wines by the glass too.
Osteria I Buongustai; Via dei Cerchi, 15R – Another place I regularly tell people to go is this great little osteria just up from Piazza della Signoria. It’s fast paced, loud, crowded and intense but the food is proper home cooking. Think huge plate of homemade pasta for around 7€. I swear I’ve had been in and out under 20 minutes.
Gilda Bistrot; Piazza Lorenzo Ghiberti, 40R – In the Sant’Ambrogio piazza is one of my favourite restaurants to go to when I’m craving good home cooked food, with the warmest service you’ll find in Florence. Gilda makes you feel like you’ve stepped into her home, and will happily sit and chat with you!
Irene Firenze; Piazza della Repubblica – A bit on the pricey side so I tend to go for their lunch menu. It changes regularly and I’ve never had a bad meal, it feels like it’s on the Michelin guides radar. Sit outside for a bit of people watching!
Libreria Brac; Via dei Vagellai, 18 – Bookshop/restaurant. This vegetarian restaurant is one of my favourites in Florence, but it does get busy!
Todo Modo; Via dei Fossi 15R – Another bookshop/restaurant which just happens to be opposite my favourite second-hand store. Interesting wines too.
Signorvino; Via de’ Bardi, 46R – Grab a bottle of the shelf and pitch up with the great view of the Ponte Vecchio. Some of the best prices for wines in Florence.
5e Cinque; Piazza della Passera, 1 – A fantastic vegetarian restaurant with really inventive plates! A nice little wine list too.
La Carraia; Piazza Nazario Sauro, 25-red – For one of the best gelato in town, try here. The white chocolate and pistachio is out of this world.
Il Carduccio; Sdrucciolo de’Pitti, 10/red – Across the river is this cute little vegetarian place with some really interesting dishes.
Lo Schiacciavino; Via Giuseppe Verdi, 6/red – Another great place for a panini, right by the church of Santa Croce.
Pane e Toscana; Borgo Degli Albizi 31/red – On my way to and from work, I have to concentrate not to go in every single day.
I due Fratellini; Via de Cimatori, 38/red – Another panini institution is this little hole in the wall, there may be a queue but the guy is super quick!
Il Panino del Chianti; Via de’ Bardi, 63/red – Just across the Ponte Vecchio is this great little place for a quick lunch and a glass of something nice.
King Grizzly; Piazza de Cimatori, 5 – A great pub just up from Piazza della Signoria. This is the pub I visit most regularly due to its’ ever changing selection of beer. Friendly staff who are happy to help too.
All’ Antico Vinaio; Via dei Neri, 74/r – Ok it’s in every guidebook and it does seem that the whole of Florence seems to be queuing up for a panini, but it is pretty good.
Fishing Lab all Murate; Via del Proconsolo – A great fish restaurant right by the Bargello. It’s ALWAYS rammed but food is very good and pretty well priced.
Arà: è SUD; Via della Vigna Vecchia, 4 – If you fancy a little change from Tuscan food, head to this Sicilian restaurant in the Santa Croce area. Plenty of seafood, and beautiful desserts, this place is great when you want a break from the Florentine classics!
Shake Cafe & juice bar; Via del Corso, 26 – Too much pizza and pasta? Head to this juice and salad bar if your after something a little lighter. They have some hot plates too, and the tiny space downstairs is good to enjoy your lunch and hide away with a book.
Beijing8; Via dei Neri, 46 – Fight past the crowds queuing up to get their panini fix at All’Antico Vinaio to get to this little dumpling place. I’ve had lunch here a few times and also had a delivery using Deliveroo and it’s been great each time. Great value for money and something a little different for Florence.
I’ll keep updating this list as time goes on, so make sure you check back!