Eating out is so subjective - it depends on what you like (and what you don’t like), how much you want to spend and how dressed up you want to get (though in Florence that is subjective as well!)
The list below is a combination of places that either come highly recommended by the locals - or that I have personally been to and eaten….and liked it (but of course).
Address: Via de' Vellutini, 1r, 50125
With both inside and outside dining, this restaurant will give you a very special feel about Florence. Set in a quaint little courtyard just a hop, skip and a jump away from Palazzo Pitti, it is a happening area. Get there early and splurge on a spritzer at one of the local bars. You will need to reserve (unless you get lucky) but, the fun and quirky menu featuring local specialities makes it one of my personal favorites. I know when on vacation it is hard to say where you will be and at what time...but make a reservation, I bet you will love the results.
An icon in the Florentine restaurant world. Located close to the train station and Mercato Centrale, even the locals don’t mind fighting the tourist for a seat. They offer a combination of pizza and local dishes - all served fast, hot and delicious. Zazà offers both inside (air conditioning) and outside seating in a square that is open to (mostly) the walking kind of traffic, it is picturesque, a bit loud and sometimes even rowdy … but always good.
Piazza del Vino
Definitely a bit outside of the city center - so you will probably want a taxi. But if you are looking for something a little more low keyed, geared for the locals who enjoy wine and regional fare, then this is one of the places that you should put on your "to dine list." Carved out of a warehouse, the decor is open and rustic. The wine collection literally lines the walls and the menu is a fun combination of classical dishes from all around Italy. My choice was the pistachio crusted tuna from Sicily...melt in your mouth delicious. Check out their website for happy hours and wine tastings with a theme and sometimes you can find offers on Groupon.
I missed my chance to go here with the “girls night out” but, no worries they proceeded to fill me in on all the delicious dishes I missed out on.... I would be crying in my wine if it weren’t for the fact they promised me, we will be going back soon. The decor is nothing to write home about but the dishes of seafood are spectacular, fresh and unforgettable. Especially fun, sometimes they just decide to bring you a sampler of their bontà...who can say no to that!
Highly recommended by the locals for the high quality of the meats & vegetables as well as, the authentic local recipes. This restaurant has been apart of the Florentine landscape since 1945 - three generations have been at the helm, preserving a family like atmosphere where the service is friendly, warm and welcoming. It is a trattoria and the decor is reminiscent of times gone by, price is a little upscale but the food receives rave reviews and in my opinion, that is what really counts.
For those who are looking forward to savoring the famous Bistecca Fiorentina, this is definitely a restaurant to keep in consideration. The boast a long and active presence in Florence and for many - especially the locals - it is considered an integral part of the landscape. A classic Tuscan restaurant with a bit of touristic fanfare in the decor, it offers a classical menu that will tempt your taste buds. The newest addition is the wine cellar, a romantic setting in the cantina, with a modern decor and famous...and more important delicious… vineyards from all over.
My latest find. I showed up for happy hour because they were advertising jazz night. (I live a bit of live jazz, a beer in hand...and a relaxing atmosphere.) They offer outdoor and indoor seating for happy hour, however the restaurant is a modern, country feel to it. The happy hour menu had me extremely...happy...classical dishes, cooked with criteria. Located right behind the Sant’Ambrogio market it is an easy walk. It attracts a mixed crowd of locals, tourists and college students. So if you are looking for some local color, authentic menu and honest prices, then definitely stop by. Check out their site for the music calendar.
La Beppa Fioraia
This is one of the first Florence restaurants that I ever ate at - and maybe for that reason it remains close to my heart. You will definitely want a taxi to get you up there...but you can (and maybe want to) walk it back down into the city. Their menu is varied including pizza, bistecca fiorentina and one of their signature dishes … the tagliere - huge platters with a mix of local delicacies….my favorite includes “coccoli”, prosciutto crudo and stracchino. This is a Florentine classic: fried pizza dough with prosciutto and a creamy soft cheese. The eclectic decor and varied clientele makes this a fun place to eat.
Acqua al 2
This restaurant is famous for the assaggi, or small "tastings" of a series of different pasta/risotto dishes so that you don't have to try only one of them! They also offer assaggi of cheeses and salads as well as more traditional fare as steak.
The restaurant is located inside the elegant 15th-century palazzo that serves as the administrative offices for the Antinori wine making family in the city center of Florence. The food is upscale versions of traditional Tuscan favorites that change with the seasons, such as country pâté with truffles served on bread and crayfish and prawn salad with shaved raw artichokes on the menu. And of course, a great selection of wine...but only Antinori wines are available. If you don't make it to the restaurant in the city - check out their cantina near San Casciano
Not really a restaurant, but more a culinary field trip. The setting has been recently restored to preserve its antique beauty. A stroll (at all hours) will have you basking in the perfumes and colors of the Florentine menu. Read our article about the Mercato.
Some may ask why in the world eat a pizza, when there are so many great things to savour in Florence? Because...a pizza is one of those great things to savour. Check out our article about Pizzerias in Florence to see where the locals go
If you are looking to stick to tradition then you will be looking to enjoy one of the more popular dishes for the locals, the Italians and the tourists. This thick juicy steak, is called the "T-bone" in Ensligh and includes the soft succulent meat of the filet mignon and the New York Strip with its classic defining strip of fat down the side. Thicker than thick, it is cooked on a live flame and is huge. Check out this article for our top choices of where to eat this wonder.
We would never want to discourage you from ordering a “dolce” when at a restaurant...however, if nothing really catches your eye you can always rely on a great gelato to fill that hole. Read here to find our favorite gelaterias. Besides...we all know that a gelato is a meal in itself ;-)