If there’s one thing Italy is famous for, it’s food. Pizza from Napoli. Arancini from Sicily. And Ragu Di Carne from Bologna (or Bolognese as we like to call it). Tuscany is integral to Italian cuisine with fresh local ingredients from the green rolling valleys and vineyards surrounding Florence.
But where are the best places to eat in Florence? With international food outlets, gourmet sandwich shops, and street food it’s not easy to choose. This city has it all. But if you want to know the best food to try in Florence, look no further. Here is the insider guide to the best city for foodies in Italy.
Why is Tuscan food special?
The Tuscan region is famous for three things; olive oil, wine and truffles. It’s a vast fertile region full of vineyards, cypress trees and perfect Mediterranean weather. Tuscan food is also well known for it’s game such as wild boar, hares and pheasants. The verdant region is home to one of Italy’s most famous exports, Chianti. Made from Sangiovese grapes, Brunello di Montalcino, Barolo and Barbaresco make up the “Three Big B’s” of Italian wine.
What’s the best food to eat in Florence?
Tripe or “Trippai” is a staple of local Tuscan cuisine, often sold from street stalls across the city. But not all dishes require such a strong stomach. Thick vegetable soup called Ribollita is a classic dish that many locals eat in Florence. But the most famous dish is Bistecca Alla Fiorentina. A huge T-bone from the local Chianina cattle, often served rare and cut into strips.
Another must eat food in Florence is Pappardelle Al Cinghiale, broad ribbons of pasta with a wild boar or hare sauce. For something lighter try Crostini, crusty toasts topped with olive paste or chicken liver pâté. Want something more hearty? Try Pappa Al Pomodoro, a thick, soup-like mix of bread, basil and tomatoes.
Where to eat in Florence on a budget
Osteria All’antico Vinaio
Is this the best sandwich in the world? As one of the most reviewed restaurants in Italy, it sure seems that way. All’Antico Vinaio is widely considered one of the best street-food places in the country. In fact Saveur magazine called it “home of the world’s best sandwiches”. Accolades aside, the Mazzanti family have been keeping customers happy with their delicious sandwiches since 1991.
You may have to queue a while but the wait is worth it. The options seem limitless: local truffle, grilled zucchini, sun-dried tomato, Gorgonzola, Mozarella, Pecorino Cheese, Porchetta, Salame. If in doubt opt for any variation of the beautiful Tuscan pork and as much cheese as you can handle. All for just 5 Euro!
Via de neri 65/R – 74/R – 76/R – 78/R, Florence, Italy 50100
Foody Farm Florence
Foodie farm is a farm-to-table restaurant. Bringing back the essential ingredients of Tuscan culture in to the modern food scene of Florence. Does that sound super trendy? It’s because it is. But it’s also good food, done well, at affordable prices. It’s hard to find bad food in Florence but it can be easy to get ripped off. Foodie Farm serves up good honest food for all tastes and pocket sizes. The casual Florentine restaurant sums it up beautifully with it’s signature phrase “the right food from the right places”.
Lungarno Corsini, 2A, Florence, Italy 50122
Places to eat in Florence without the crowds
Il Gatto e la Volpe
For a real local meal on a budget in Florence, Il Gato e la Volpe (translating as The Cat and the Fox) wins every time. You won’t find it on lists of the top 10 places to eat in Florence, but you will find it full of locals every night. It has consistently delicious local Tuscan food at affordable prices. Start with a Zuppa Di Verdure (vegetable soup) with fresh bread and try some of the homemade pasta if you have the room. For the main, or secondi, Bistecca Alla Fiorentina. The famous Tuscan steak, which comes from a special cow breed the Chianina, is served rare alongside roasted potatoes. For something different try the Taglioni Al Cinghiale, wild boar with pasta that is mouth-watering with every bite.
Il Gatto E La Volpe
Via Ghibellina, 151/r, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Guardino Serre Torrigiani
Guardino Serre Torrigiani is a small courtyard among the hot busy alleyways of old town. Grab a drink and a small bite to eat while escaping the heat and the crowds of Florence in summertime. Try the Crostini, big slices of toasted bread with Mozzarella and Prosciutto. Enjoy a moment of serenity in this secret spot in Florence, and then logon to your travel app and rate it!
Guardino Serre Torrigiani
Piazza dei Tre Re, Florence, Italy 50123
Where to eat pizza in Florence
For the best pizza in Florence you can’t miss Cucina Torcicoda, just a stones throw from Piazza di Santa Croce. The house special “Torcicoda” comes with Burrata cheese from Puglia, ‘Nduja sausage from Calabria, cherry tomatoes and spicy salami. The dough is proved for 72 hours and baked in a Neapolitan style wood oven for the ultimate crispy base. Wash it down with one of over 300 wine labels from the cellar. If all that wasn’t enough of a reason to visit, the underground dining area was once a part of the prison of a Roman amphitheatre. So there’s that.
Via Torta 5R, 50122 Firenze, Florence, Italy 50122
Not sure what to try in Florence? Short on time or budget? Or just overwhelmed with choice? Try it all at the Mecato Centrale Firenze. Grab a fresh pizza for lunch, a Crostini to go, and maybe even a Trippai if you’re feeling brave. This local market is crammed full of all the local food you have to try in Florence. So why not try them all? You’re a Foodie in Italy visiting a new city after all.
Central Market Square, Florence, Italy 50123
Starbene Senza Glutine
If you have a gluten intolerance this place is Nirvana. Gluten Free pasta, pizza Focacia and even Panettoni are available at this chain. As a country full of people with gluten intolerance, Italy has some fantastic substitutes for the irksome ingredient. But this chain is the best place to go gluten free in Florence.
Starbene Senza Glutine
R, Via dei Neri, 13, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
Food Off the beaten path in Florence
One of the best secret spots in Florence, for the more adventurous visitor, is inside Oblate Library. Find your way to the rooftop cafe (without looking too much like a tourist) and make the most of the student prices. Grab an espresso and a panino with one of the lunchtime deals. And take in the views over the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore; one of the best sights in Florence. Find more secret rooftop bars in Europe here.
Via dell’ Oriuolo, 26, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
La Cité – Libreria Café
If you really want to escape the crowds in Florence head the other side of the Arno River. There are some truly unique places to discover here, one of which is La Cite. An offbeat cafe with colourful decor and walls stacked high with books. Grab a coffee and sink into one of the comfy armchairs to spend a relaxing afternoon in Florence just like a local. If you want to get even further off the beaten path check out these top ten less crowded places in Europe.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this foodie guide on what and where to eat in Florence. With these insider tips you’ll find the best food and secret spots in Florence not everyone knows about. Make sure to try everything and don’t get stung by the ‘tourist prices’. Buon appetito!
La Cité – Libreria Café
Borgo S. Frediano, 20/r, 50124 Firenze FI, Italy
About Jo, the author of Lost Wanders
A Brit that got fed up of the 9 to 5 corporate life, Jo sold everything to become a full time wanderer. Having travelled to over 70 countries, Jo shares her money saving tips and secrets from inside the travel industry through her blog Lost Wanders. Hoping to inspire you to work less and travel more. Follow Jo on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.