The Best Restaurants in Florence, Italy
So of course I can’t tell you what the best restaurants in Florence are. That’s part of the fun of traveling to Florence – you get to stumble upon tavernas and find your own favorite places. Then you can return, and return again, and you’ll see how much more fun the experience is when the restaurant staff recognize you. We’ve frequently been given discounts. We’ve gotten lots of limoncello. We’ve been sent off with bottles of wine. We’ve requested recipes from the kitchens. And we’ve felt just a little more like locals and a little less like tourists.
Having dined in over 60 restaurants in Florence, we’ve come to have our favorites. These aren’t necessarily the highest-rated on TripAdvisor, or the biggest names, but they’re the places that we return to over and over, and where we’ve never had a bad meal. Use this list simply as a starting point for your own culinary exploration, or go to them all!
And a note about kid-friendliness. We’ve found these restaurants to be kid-friendly, but it’s Italy. You’re going to smell cigarette smoke if you’re dining outside. You’ll be mysteriously unable to find your server when you want the check. And the bread will be tasteless. But put something on the bread and you’re good. And you’re in Florence, my favorite city in the world. So it’s all ok, even with a little smoke.
MaMMaMia isn’t an obvious choice for this list. It’s near one of the most touristy locations – the boar fountain – and predictably it caters largely to tourists. But the food is consistently excellent and the service is good. We always start with the coccoli – fried bread balls with prosciutto and stracchino cheese. Then we get an assortment of pastas and pizzas, and add sides of spinach and lentils or beans. An added benefit: the kids can roam around the boar market while we’re waiting for our food. And for dessert we order the cheesecake with chocolate sauce. Trust me – it’s amazing. We now make our own version at home and it’s very, very close, but we still crave the original whenever we’re back in Florence.
We dine at 4 Leoni at least once every trip – which is even more convenient now that we’ve started staying in Palazzo Belfiore just around the corner. We always order at least two plates of the fiocchetti di pera (pear-filled pasta), bruchetta and pumpkin ravioli. There’s nothing on the menu that’s not perfect.
Piazza Santo Spirito, 7 | TripAdvisor
We love dining outside in Piazza Santo Spirito when the weather’s nice, and Tamerò is our favorite restaurant on the square. We always get the coccoli (of course, because we’re addicted) and then I typically order the Cacio e Pepe – one of my favorites in the city. All of the pasta is homemade and excellent though. And others swear by their pizza, but we haven’t tried it yet.
La Beppa Fioraia
Via dell’Erta Canina, 6/R | TripAdvisor | Reservations encouraged
We stumbled upon La Beppa Fioraia when we were staying nearby at Palazzo San Niccolo. We arrived right when they opened and were lucky to get in without a reservation, so have your hotel call in advance for a booking. We loved the ambiance in the courtyard, including a play area for very little kids and a cat wandering around, and everything we ordered was excellent. Along with MaMMaMia and Tamerò, our favorite coccoli in the city!
We all love cinghiale (wild boar), and La Buchetta has the best cinghiale that we’ve found. The bruschetta and everything else is amazing as well, and there’s even a television where you can watch your meal being plated. And it’s an easy 10-minute walk after dinner to our favorite gelato place (below). Book in advance and dine here at least once during your trip. You won’t be disappointed.
Via Toscanella, 38 | TripAdvisor | Reservations accepted
Federico at Palazzo Belfiore recommended Osteria Toscanella and we were extraordinarily impressed. Probably the best hand-made pasta in the city (and this is a city of hand-made pasta).
The Mercato Centrale, or Central Market, has two levels – meats, produce and pastas downstairs and restaurants and food stalls upstairs (along with a small Eataly store). At least twice a trip we’ll head upstairs for lunch and get whatever we walk by that looks good, including pizza, pasta, sandwiches and arancini. There’s gelato as well for desert. It’s hard to go wrong with anything at the market.
Piazza della Repubblica, 7 | TripAdvisor | Reservations accepted
Irene is perfectly located, in the Savoy Hotel on Piazza della Repubblica. We’ve had lunch there twice now and each meal was exquisite. It’s a little more formal than anywhere else on this list, and roughly twice as expensive, but if you want an upscale lunch with perfect service, it can’t be beat. It’s also a great spot for afternoon tea.
The Best Gelato in Florence
We’ve eaten A LOT of gelato in Florence, from a LOT of gelaterias. Our favorite is Il Procopio (Via Pietrapiana, 60R). It’s not at all convenient to where we typically stay or dine, but that’s just another excuse to stroll through Florence at night, which is always enjoyable. My wife’s favorite gelato in the world is Il Procopio’s pistachio. If they have fig/almond I’ll usually go for that. Otherwise everything is good. We’ll typically walk to Il Procopio every night we’re in Florence. It’s that good. If we feel a little too lazy to head over, though, La Strega Nocciola near the Ponte Vecchio (Via de’ Bardi, 51/red) is a good backup, as is Dondurmaci (Via Toscanella, 15/red) next to 4 Leoni, and Carabè (Via Ricasoli, 60/R) if we happen to be close to the Accademia. Just remember to choose a gelateria with gelato in flat tubs. If you see gelato that piled high into colorful mounds, stay away – it has fillers and artificial stuff and is likely not even made locally.
These are simply our favorite restaurants in Florence. We’ve also had great meals at Yellow Bar (Via del Proconsolo, 39r), Corte dei Pazzi (Borgo degli Albizi, 54R), Buca Mario (Piazza degli Ottaviani, 16r) and Il Clarinetto (Viale Spartaco Lavagnini, 40), all included on the map above.
How about you? Where have you stumbled upon in Florence that you absolutely loved?
A note about the photos: I rarely take my camera to restaurants in Florence, so virtually all of these photos were taken with my iPhone, and mostly in low light. If I get better photos on future trips I’ll put them in. I’m not going to try too hard though. I’d rather eat my food than photograph it!