Florence foodie guide: where locals eat and drink
The best places to eat and drink in Florence, Italy. Gin sommeliers, sandwiches laced with truffle cream and black sesame seed gelato are shaking up the restaurant menus in Tuscany’s food hub
Looking for restaurants in Florence? Want to know where to eat in the Italian cultural capital? Local food writers Emiko Davies and Nardia Plumridge share their insider tips for the best restaurants in Florence, along with where to find natural wines, slices of pizza and the best gelato.
I’ Brindellone – for local bistro vibes
I’ Brindellone sits on the corner of Via del Leone, near Piazza del Carmine, a resolutely un-touristy spot in the San Frediano district. It’s where the locals come for an honest bistecca and down-to-earth service.
Piazza Piattelina, 10; 00 39 055 217879
Osteria Tripperia Il Magazzino – for offal
In Florence’s cutest piazza, Osteria Tripperia Il Magazzino specialises in making offal undeniably delicious. The house antipasto plate is a must; their lampredotto meatballs will turn even the pickiest eater into an offal fan. The pear and taleggio cheese risotto is definitely worth a trip.
Piazza della Passera 2; 00 39 055 215969
Trattoria Mario – for a busy trattoria
You can’t come to Florence and not have lunch at Trattoria Mario. It’s very busy, with a no-bookings policy, so you may well find yourself eating elbow-to-elbow with other diners, but it’s a Florentine institution – and worth the crush.
Le Volpi e L’Uva – for natural wines
For a glass of wine, look no further than lovely wine bar, Le Volpi e L’Uva. The carefully chosen (and often changing) list of boutique or natural wines here means you’ll always find something wonderful to drink. The crostini with lardo, honey and black pepper or a platter of Italian cheeses go down well, too.
Piazza dei Rossi 1R, 50125; 00 39 055 2398132
Cafe Verrazzano – for coffee and pastries
My favourite spot for a snack is Cafe Verrazzano. It serves some of the best coffee in town as well as delicious pastries, focaccia and cecina (thin, crêpe-like pancakes). There’s not much space to sit, so sip your coffee standing up, as locals do.
Zeb Gastronomia – for a family-run atmsophere
Mother and son Giuseppina and Alberto Navari serve fresh spring flavours at the 21-seat Zeb Gastronomia. Sit at the gallery table and enjoy dishes such as pecorino and pear ravioli, which are made to old family recipes.
Ditta Artigianale – for coffee
Redolent of cafés in New York and Melbourne, Ditta Artigianale serves rare coffee blends by barista Francesco Sanapo. At night, gin sommelier Cecilia creates sublime cocktails – try the Gin Mule.
via dei Neri, 32; 00 39 055 274 1541
Il Mercato Centrale – for street food
The recently opened food hall at Il Mercato Centrale is a worthy addition to Florence’s legendary culinary scene. Head to SUD for southern-style pizza or go for the local delicacy, a tripe sandwich, at Il Lampredotto.
Taste Florence – for foodie tours
Visit some of the best food spots in town by joining one of Taste Florence’s morning walks (9.30am–2pm, €79). You’ll discover San Lorenzo’s renowned food market and family-run shops, with tastings of cheeses, salumi, sweets and wines.
La Prosciutteria – for a quick bite
When exploring Florence, a panino is the ideal quick bite between galleries. At La Prosciutteria choose from an array of freshly sliced meats in ciabatta; other fillings include truffle cream and marinated aubergine.
Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina – for Tuscan wines
Oenophiles should head to Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina, where brothers Eduardo and Zeno Fioravanti’s extensive list of Tuscan wines range from bold Brunello to softer Chianti Classico. Resident chef Donatella’s delicious Tuscan cuisine complements the booze.
La Bottega del Buon Caffè – for Michelin star dining
Riverside restaurant La Bottega del Buon Caffè received its first Michelin star in 2015. Chef Antonello Sardi creates delicate dishes from the finest Tuscan produce, much of which is grown at the restaurant’s country farm.
Gelateria Santa Trinita – for gelato
No Italian trip is complete without sampling the local gelato. Gelateria Santa Trinita next to the Santa Trinita bridge hand-makes its selection every morning. Try sesamo nero (black sesame seed) or cioccolata fondente (dark chocolate).
Words by Emiko Davies and Nardia Plumridge
Photographs Getty, Phototravel/Corbis, Rob Streeter