Blessed with the gastronomic bounty of the Tuscan countryside, food in Florence is hearty and full of flavour. An Ideal destination for meat eaters, the most typical dishes include bistecca alla Fiorentina, a juicy t-bone steak that’s grilled over charcoal, as well as trippa alla Fiorentina, tripe served with tomato sauce and arista, roast loin of pork. However, there’s a decent amount of vegetarian friendly dishes like ribollita, an unexpectedly delicious soup made from cabbage, beans and bread, and pappa al pomodoro, a luscious soup of fresh tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil and bread.In addition to that, the city is also responsible for creating some of Italy’s most sensational gelato, which many locals will argue was first invented in Florence during the Renaissance. Sample the best of everything with our guide to the best restaurants in Florence.
La Bottega Del Buon Caffè
For a true taste of the Tuscan countryside in Florence, there is no better place to dine than La Bottega Del Buon Caffè. One of Florence’s select few Michelin starred restaurants, the ethos here is wholly farm-to-table, with much of the seasonal ingredients sourced from the restaurant’s very own farm outside the city. Expect an elegant but understated interior with large windows looking out across the Arno and a menu that celebrates the culinary heritage of Florence. Standout dishes include a crème brûlée of foie gras with red onion sorbet, cocoa beans, pear and brioche bread, alongside agnolotti pasta filled with cacciatore style rabbit and a main course of smoked pigeon breast with asparagus, morels and cherries. There’s also a seriously impressive wine list, consisting of over 1100 bottles, to accompany your meal.
It may be a relatively new entry to Florence’s dining scene, having opened in 2018, but Regina Bistecca specialises in the city’s most traditional signature dish, bistecca alla Fiorentina, charcoal grilled beef steak. The American bar, with its wood clad walls, is a lovely place for an aperitivo before dinner. Formerly the premises of an antiquarian bookseller, the restaurant encourages diners to choose the breed of their steak from a selection that includes the famous Tuscan Chianina and, prior to cooking, the meat is brought to the table for the guest to approve.Try to leave some room for the incredible desserts, which includes a delectable torta di nonna and some irresistible profiteroles.
Housed in a 19th century warehouse in Oltrarno, Essenziale’s approach to its Tuscan culinary heritage is inspiring and innovative. Run by the supremely talented chef Simone Cipriani, the minimal interior means that all of your attention is given to what’s on your plate and rightly so. Book in advance to sample one of the tasting menus such as the Mercato menu, which is decided by what’s fresh at the market that day, or opt for a la carte option. Whatever you choose, you can be sure taste of Tuscany with a twist, such as the Fior d’Evo dessert which uses kale to spectacular effect.
Il Santo Bevitore
Located in Florence’s Santo Spirito neighbourhood, this lively restaurant is considered one of the best restaurants in Florence for very good reason. Book ahead to discover excellent seasonal, Tuscan cuisine at fair prices. Don’t skip the pasta course, which includes dishes like oxtail ravioli and mezze maniche topped with a luxurious goose ragout and black truffle. Well thought out mains such as grilled codfish with pistachio, green peas, shallots and datterini potatoes and suckling pig with endive, potatoes, cumin and pears are created with a Slow Food philosophy in mind. It’s worth exploring the wine list which has a great array of Italian wines and a generous assortment of wines by the glass too.
Trattoria Sergio Gozzi
This authentic Florentine trattoria is much lived for serving wonderfully traditional Tuscan food just moments from the Medici Chapel. Open for lunch only, the menu here changes daily but visitors and locals return time and time again for the hearty home-cooking. Start with a plate of pasta or bowl of comforting soup such as ribollita, which is made with cabbage, bean and bread and so much more delicious than it sounds. Main courses could be beef stew or fried polpett, meatballs, and the more adventurous diners might well have a chance to try a real Florentine classic, tripe in tomato sauce.
It’s rare to find a high quality eatery positioned so close to the Ponte Vecchio and Uffizi Gallery but Ino is certainly worth a visit. Part deli, part sandwich shop, Ino is renowned for its made to order paninis which are filled with top quality meats and cheeses. Choose to top your locally made ciabatta with tasty combinations like prosciutto and grilled artichokes, gorgonzola and spicy ‘nduja or mortadella and pecorino. It can get busy at lunchtimes but the end product is well worth the wait.
A family run restaurant in the Oltrarno neighbourhood, Trattoria Sabatino has been a local favourite since the 1950s. The decor is strictly no frills but the main attraction here is the daily menu which, fortunately, hasn’t changed much since the trattoria first opened. Tuck into a simple but sublime spaghetti al pomodoro or a bowl of pasta and bean soup, followed main of roast pork accompanied by a green salad. Finish your meal with a helping of homemade tiramisu