The Best Restaurants in Florence
From the morning’s first jolt of espresso through the evening’s final sip of Tuscan wine, your tastebuds will be happy and engaged the whole time you’re in Florence. You’ve come to a city where cooking pasta is a fine art and where lunch at a tripe stand can be followed by the creamiest gelato you’ve ever tasted. Let others stand in line to see Michelangelo’s David—you’ve got another meal to eat.
Via dei Georgofili, 11R, 50100 Firenze FI, Italy
If you weren’t sure what you were looking for, you might miss Marco Stabile’s Ora d’Aria restaurant on Via dei Georgofili. The hint of a large birdcage peeking through a tall window in an expansive and otherwise-unadorned wall is all that alerts you to the presence of greatness. White Saarinen tulip chairs are the next thing you see once you’ve decided to explore past the birdcage, and while the dining rooms, both upstairs and down, are not elaborate, they are perfectly suited to let Chef Stabile’s food be the true showpiece. Though his cuisine is not traditionally Tuscan, and nor are all of his ingredients, Stabile’s culinary creations are a delight, finally winning over the hearts of food-savvy Florence residents and every visitor who learns that a meal at Ora d’Aria is a must when in the Tuscan capital. If you’re looking to save a little while still experiencing excellence, Ora d’Aria is also open for lunch.
4 Via di Santo Spirito, Florence, Italy
Adjacent to the restaurant is a cheery boutique filled with gourmet products from all over Tuscany. Thanks to the restaurant’s long-standing relationships with many of the region’s top purveyors, you’ll find high-quality olive oil (tastings can also be arranged), cheeses, cured meat, preserves, breads, and more. Not all of it will make it through customs, but you can savor any perishables on a picnic to the Tuscan countryside.
Piazza Ognissanti, 3, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
The rooftop restaurant of the Westin Excelsior hotel wins top prize for being the most panoramic spot for a meal in Florence; floor-to-ceiling, wraparound windows permit 360-degree views over the entire city and the hills beyond. Chef Matteo Lorenzini’s superb food lives up to the magnificent setting—so against the romantic backdrop of Brunelleschi’s Duomo and the thousand twinkling lights of the city, you can feast on seared scallops with chestnuts and lime, spaghetti with clams and crab cream, and Barbary duck.
Borgo S. Jacopo, 62/R, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
This Ferragamo-owned restaurant is located on the river with in-your-face views of the Ponte Vecchio for the lucky few who manage to book one of the tables on the terrace. Chef Peter Brunel has been making waves with his creative menus: Borgo San Jacopo has been awarded a Michelin star for the past several years in a row. Yes, it’s expensive, but it’s a meal you won’t soon forget.
28 Via dei Girolami
Located a few steps away from the Ponte Vecchio in what was at one time a medieval palace, this restaurant serves a traditional menu of dishes made with regional ingredients. Their beef is sourced from a farm in the Maremma countryside and the wine list highlights Tuscan producers. Even the restaurant’s name is a nod to the local culture—orafo means “goldsmith,” and this neighborhood was where gold workshops were once located. Start with Tuscan white beans drizzled with olive oil, with a serving of fennel salami, then move on to the pasta course. (The taglierini ai piselli freschi, pasta with fresh peas, is particularly good in season.) For dessert, try the pear slow-cooked in wine or cantucci cookies dipped into vin santo, a strong sweet wine.
Via Roma, 1r, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
One of Florence’s grand cafés since its founding in 1733, Caffè Gilli is easily recognized by the Swiss clock hanging outside above its entrance and by the glass display case of multicolored confections inside. Enjoy your morning cappuccino or evening prosecco while standing at the marble-topped bar, or experience the café's formal service by sitting at a polished wooden table under elegant chandeliers in the tearoom. For more-casual warm-weather meals, there is a large shaded patio with comfortable seating and a fantastic view of the carousel in Piazza della Repubblica.
3 Piazza degli Antinori
Via Tornabuoni, one of the most elegant streets in Florence, is lined with many imposing Renaissance palazzi, including a 15th-century beauty owned by the Antinori family, the famed wine producers. The ground floor of Palazzo Antinori is given over to a refined restaurant with a formal dining room—think starched linen tablecloths and waiters in white jackets—suitable for the aristocratic atmosphere. The kitchen relies on ingredients from the family’s estate, so the menu is limited, seasonal, and fresh. Not surprisingly, the wine list is deep, with a selection of super Tuscan blends and wines from the Antinori cellars.
Via dei Serragli, 47, 50124 Firenze FI, Italy
This small, family-run wine shop in the Oltrarno district has been a gathering place for Florentines since 1947. Now run by the founder’s grandson and his family, it remains a place where neighborhood denizens come to buy wine to take home or to have a chat over a glass. Inside the shop, floor-to-ceiling shelves display bottles from a variety of Italian regions and vintages, with options in every price range. Glasses of red or white wine, dispensed from taps, can be enjoyed at the narrow bar. Or linger a little longer: Ask for a seat at one of the sidewalk tables, then order a glass of Chianti and a snack of chicken liver pâté (made from Nonna’s recipe) served on grilled Tuscan bread.
Piazza della Repubblica, 7, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
Irene, a bright and colorful restaurant at the Hotel Savoy, is great for lunch on the sunny bistro terrace outside or for a nightcap sipped on a velvet banquette at the bar inside. The kitchen turns out traditional Tuscan cuisine with surprising modern touches: The classic tomato-and-bread pappa al pomodoro comes stuffed inside ravioli, and the vitello tonnato (veal with tuna-caper sauce) is topped with ribbons of shaved fennel and served with the sauce on the side. On Sundays, the popular “Lunch at Nonna’s” menu is a loving nod to the restaurant’s namesake. Pre- or post-dinner, grab a seat on the terrace, overlooking Piazza della Repubblica, to enjoy wines served in retro-style carafes and bubbly poured into 1950s coupe glasses.
R, Via de' Ginori, 8, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
La Ménagère is simultaneously a breakfast spot, a tapas and cocktail bar, a flower shop, a café, a housewares store, and a restaurant. The large space, once home to a famous Florentine home-goods emporium, is now a ramble of beautiful rooms that serve many needs. The bright and airy bar area is the site for breakfast, lunch, aperitifs, and cocktails, while dinner can be eaten in several of the other charming rooms, including a narrow passage set with a long communal table. There’s even a downstairs space where live music is played a few nights a week.
Piazza del Mercato Centrale, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
Foodies (and those simply interested in local color and a good meal) should head to San Lorenzo and its covered Mercato Centrale. Florence’s main market for edibles is housed in a 19th-century glass-and-iron building. On the ground floor, delis, stands, and butcher counters sell a fantastic array of local fruit and vegetables, cheeses, dried porcini mushrooms, baked goods, balsamic vinegars, and olive oils plus fresh fish, poultry, and meat. Upstairs, a modern food hall has opened: Stalls sell prepared foods and meals for happy and immediate consumption at a central seating area.
R, Via delle Belle Donne, 16, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
For a small, cozy space, Osteria delle Belle Donne serves a very large bistecca fiorentina. This tiny restaurant, with stone walls and warm wood accents, is tucked on a narrow street between the Duomo and the train station. Beyond giant cuts of steak, other tasty highlights of Florentine cuisine are served here: fettuccine with wild-boar ragù, white beans, and seafood dishes. In the cooler months, traditional ribollita (a tomato-based vegetable stew thickened with bread) and budino marrone (chestnut pudding) appear on the menu. The wine list is Tuscan, too, so it’s easy to find pairings for the rustic meals.
Piazza della Stazione, 1, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
Situated on the ground floor of the Palazzina Reale, adjacent to the Florence train station, this café makes it easy to grab a coffee before you hop on your train. The bar—in a long, elegant room with sky-high ceilings and modern fixtures—is flooded with light and retains many of the original architectural details of the palace that once served as the Florentine home of the Italian royal family. The train station itself, with its modernist lines (and great typography on signage), warrants a little tour before departure time.
5/R Piazza della Signoria
The terrace outside this historic café boasts one of the best views in town, encompassing an almost unimaginable collection of architectural highlights and public art from the Renaissance. Linger over your coffee or a cup of hot chocolate as you gaze upon the Palazzo Vecchio, as well as a copy of Michelangelo’s David, the Fountain of Neptune, and the remarkable assembly of classical sculptures inside the Loggia dei Lanzi. It does cost more to sit outside than to stand at polished wooden bar inside, but this splurge is highly recommended. (The original owners were the official chocolatiers to the royal family of Savoy; you can take home a piece of that history in a beautifully wrapped box of chocolates or a jar of chocolate-hazelnut spread.)
Via del Porcellana, 25/R, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
A reservation is an absolute necessity at this very traditional and very popular Florentine trattoria. The white-tiled walls are hung with photographs and prints; hard wooden benches and tables run along the perimeter, and more tables are squeezed into the center. The menu is decidedly Tuscan with highlights like finocchiona (a fennel-flecked salami), slow-cooked beans, tortino di carciofi (artichoke in swirl of whipped eggs), and butter chicken, which is served sizzling in the pan. Save room for the house dessert: heaped layers of cream and meringue surrounded by tiny wild strawberries.
Piazza dei Rossi, 1R, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
Reserve an outside table at this popular enoteca, located on a quiet piazza around the corner from the crowded Ponte Vecchio. You can order a predinner snack or, better still, cobble together a full meal from the selection of crostini with delicious toppings like truffle sausage and melted cheese or spicy ‘nduja sausage. Other menu highlights include the antipasti platters of cheese and mixed cured meats. The staff can help you choose from the wine list, which focuses on small producers. (If you want to expand your wine expertise, guided tastings are also available here.)
5/red Piazza Santo Spirito
When the sun sets, Piazza Santo Spirito wakes up and the large square fills with college students and young professionals. Volume is where they gather for strong cocktails and live music. Located in the former workshop of Alfonso Bini, a woodworker who specialized in carved hat forms and later more-creative pieces, the space retains the warm vibe of the local craft studios. Small tables and chairs are set up alongside shelves crowded with books, tools, and art. Seating outside affords a view of the after-dark action on the piazza as well as the striking Santo Spirito church.
Piazza della Passera, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
A local favorite on postcard-pretty Piazza della Passera in the Oltrarno neighborhood, Il Magazzino serves up delicious Florentine food with a special emphasis on offal. If you are up for it, there’s no better place to sample stalwarts of the indigenous cuisine in dishes such as grilled udder or classic trippa alla fiorentina, or tripe stewed in a tomato sauce topped with grated Parmesan. If offal’s not your thing, opt instead for the mouthwatering linguine with kale pesto. The great wine list offers some affordable choices.
Via de' Tornabuoni, 64R, 50123 Firenze FI, Italy
The recipe for the delicious, tiny truffle-cream sandwiches at atmospheric old Procacci is a guarded secret but, oh boy, are they good, especially when accompanied by a glass of prosecco. Smart Florentine ladies-who-shop flock here for a pit stop between purchases, but it’s also popular for an early-evening aperitivo. Procacci is additionally one of the few places to buy just-harvested truffles in Florence: look out for them in November and December. Heap truffle shavings over fresh, buttered taglierini pasta or a simple scrambled egg—after only one bite, you’ll understand the attraction to these precious, musty-smelling delicacies.
47 Via D'Ardiglione
Trattoria i’Raddi, a classic Tuscan trattoria in the Santo Spirito neighborhood, is run by the Outran family. (A few family members are locally famous for playing calcio storico, a historic and brutal sport that seems like a mix of soccer and MMA fighting.) Come here to eat pappa al pomodoro (Tuscan bread-and-tomato stew), pici all’aglione (pasta with garlicky red sauce), and peposa. Peposa is a slow-cooked, peppery beef stew, almost a Tuscan version of chili; according to legend, it was invented by Brunelleschi. The food here is affordable and the prix fixe lunch specials are an even better value.
Via dell'Orto, 12, 50124 Firenze FI, Italy
This family-run bakery has been making cantucci (what you might know as biscotti) for decades. The clan’s patriarch, Roberto, mixes and rolls everything by hand in the back, using a recipe that he knows by heart—ask, and he will happily show you the original recipe, now splattered with egg whites and cocoa. Roberto’s delicate cantucci are far from the tooth-cracking kind sold at many places. If you are really lucky, a fresh batch of the dark-chocolate-and-pistachio variety may have just been pulled out of the oven when you arrive.
Via Toscanella, 15/red, 50125 Firenze FI, Italy
Creamy gelato goodness is scooped from covered silver containers in this shop on the Piazza Passera. Scan the hand-lettered labels to see what is on offer—the kitchen behind the shop makes everything with the freshest seasonal ingredients. Try Fior di Latte alla Menta, the Italian version of mint chip ice cream, or any of the sorbets, which have a bright, pure fruit flavor. Carry your cone to a bench on the piazza and savor it as you people-watch.