Want to avoid tourist-trap restaurants and find real best places to eat in Florence? You’re in luck! These tried and tested restaurants listed below are guaranteed not to disappoint!
When Elissa and I visited Florence, she immediately asked her cousin, Ali, for advice on where to go. Not only has she always been interested in food, whether it’s cooking and baking or finding delicious spots while traveling, she spent the spring of 2019 studying in this famous Italian city for a solid five months. That’s a long time to not only find but try as many places as your stomach and wallet can manage!
Even now that she’s traveled to ten different countries and countless cities (including currently living in Madrid), Florence remains one of her favorite places. It’s forever the place with the one-of-a-kind restaurants that, quite literally, changed her life and standards for eating.
After Elissa and I tried all her recommendations, I had to ask her to write a little Florence dining guide for you all because we loved every single spot. She kindly agreed, so without further ado, take it away, Ali!
Psst, this is a whopper of a post, so if you’re looking for a section specifically, click below:
- Tips for Eating in Florence
- A Mini Guide to Mercato Centrale
- Best Spots for…
3 Tips for Eating in Florence
1. Plan ahead and make reservations
My biggest suggestion to those planning their trips to Florence and incorporating all the good food places – plan ahead! Italy typically has a lot of restaurants closed on Sundays or Mondays, and sometimes they have unique hours they do not operate.
Also many of the really good spots fill up quickly during busy times (especially the weekends), so you’ll want to make reservations ASAP. For many you can just reserve on their website online, but some may require a phone call.
2. Italy has very different mealtimes
Meals are consumed at different hours from other parts of the world. From my experience most places offer breakfast (colazione) 7:00am-10:00am, lunch (pranzo) 12:00pm-2:30pm, and dinner (cena) 7:30pm-11:00pm. This is good to note so you can mentally prepare for the change. Many places close between lunch and dinner, so even if you want to try to eat early, you won’t be able to!
3. Here’s how to avoid tourist traps
Last tip, Florence can be touristy at certain times of the year and there are a lot of “tourist traps” AKA places that are not as good quality but you will still pay the same amount as if it was.
If you are ever in doubt about where to go or what to order, ask your waiter or front-desk person at your hotel for recommendations. They are always happy to help and appreciate when you ask for their local opinion.
Mercato Centrale: A Little of Everything
Mercato Centrale, as the name suggests, is the main center market for Florence. While the outside is filled with vendors selling everything from leather goods to various souvenirs, inside the two-level market is all for food.
- Opening Times: Daily, 10:00 AM – 12:00 AM
The upstairs area of Mercato Centrale has a bunch of different eateries both traditionally Italian and foreign! It’s fairly budget-friendly and is one of the few places open during those awkward hours between the end of lunch and beginning of dinner. One thing you for sure have to get is the chicken cacciatora from Trapizzino. It’s greasy deliciousness.
- Opening Times: Mon. – Sat., 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Downstairs is what you’d consider a more authentic side to Florence. Most cooking classes will take you here to pick up fresh ingredients and tell you a bit more about the shops and what to buy. If you lived here and liked cooking, you could easily do all your grocery shopping here.
THE 2 Best Places to Eat in Florence for Panini
I think most of us have grown-up somewhat familiar with panini (which is actually the plural form, panino is the singular). It’s a slimmer sandwich with deli meats, cheeses, and maybe some sauce or vegetables and pressed firmly together on a grill. It’s the perfect things to grab and eat for a quick lunch while you’re sightseeing.
- Address: Piazza del Duomo, 34/R
- Opening Times: Mon. – Sun., 10:30 AM – 7:00 PM
Small but mighty!! I love this narrow shop because it offers the full experience: kind owners who walk you through a free meat and cheese tasting before creating your 6-euro customized panino, and to finish enjoy their outdoor seating next to the duomo.
Sam Note: SO good! It definitely gets busy around the lunch rush, so if you can’t find seating outdoors, just walk around the Duomo a bit until you find one of the stone benches free. Talk about a sandwich with a view!
- Address: Via Giuseppe Verdi, 36R
- Open: Monday – Saturday, 9:00am – 9:00pm
EVERYONE loves this place. Pinos is a staple for many study abroad students, expats, and Italian locals. They are famous for their 6 euro paninos served by the one and only, Pino, himself and his family.
The ones I love are “La Bandiera”, “Delicato”, and the “Meatball”. They have also expanded their menu to have some pasta dishes if you’re in the mood for that more.
THE 3 Best Places to Eat in Florence for Pizza
I mean, does pizza really need an introduction? While it’s more of a southern Italy dish (specifically from Naples), you can find delicious pizzerias all over Italy, and Florence is no exception.
- Address: Via Maggio 46R
- Open: Tues – Sun: 11:30am-3:00pm & 7:00pm-11:00pm
Of all the best places to eat in Florence for pizza, this would be my pick if I had to choose just one. Gustapizza overall is the perfect combination of fluffy texture and fresh flavors. Their GustaPizza is my favorite, a twist on the flavors of margherita pizza with arugula and fresh grated parmesan on top.
Pro Tip: If they have a special pizza of the season or the day and it has a ball of burrata on it – GET IT! It truly changes the pizza game.
Also, this place is located on the Oltrarno (beyond the River Arno) – a super underrated for good food and gelato, and not many tourists venture to the other side of the Ponte Vecchio. This place has limited seating inside but feel free to ask for it to go, and head back to the Arno and eat your pizza with a view.
- Address: Via San Miniato 2
- Open: Fri – Mon, 6:00pm-10:30pm
This is the one pizza place I dream about…I have never had anything like the flavor of their Honeymoon pizza. This pizza is award winning (literally)!! It is a gorgeous white pizza with many cheeses, black truffle, and orange blossom honey drizzle.
My favorite thing to do is watch the sunset from Piazzale Michelangelo and head down the hill to have dinner at this locally owned pizzeria. Make sure to make a reservation as this place has very limited seating inside.
Napoli Pizza 1955
- Address: Via Dei Neri 73/R
- Open: Tues – Sun: 12:00 PM – 11:30 PM
Located by the Arno, this pizza place is a close runner-up to Gustapizza. My favorite is their rucola pizza – similar to Gustapizza’s GustaPizza, but instead finished with freshly grated Grana Padano cheese. A classic margherita is also a great pick. Ask for it in a heart shape for a fun change!
Napoli Pizza also has casual seating inside and limited seating outside. If you start walking towards the shop and see massive lines, don’t worry. They’re not for Napoli Pizza but two different shops nearby, so you shouldn’t have to wait too long for seating.
6 More of the Best Places to Eat in Florence for Lunch or Dinner
- Nearby: Right by the Duomo
- Opening Times: Mon. – Sun. 10:30 AM – 7:00 PM
- **Cash Only
Sam Note: Adding this in even though Ali hasn’t been. A couple I met in my cooking class recommended Alimentari Uffizi if you just want a nice big plate of meat and cheese, so I went one day I was on my own. Very cute spot with limited seating and a super friendly owner who only really speaks Italian! Recommend if you want to keep it simple and are in the area. Cash-only!
Antica Trattoria da Tito dal 1913
- Address: Via S. Gallo, 112/R
- Open: Mon – Sun, 12:30 PM – 3:00 PM, 7:00 PM – 11:00 PM
If you want the local experience…This new-found favorite, Antica Trattoria da Tito dal 1913, is a traditional trattoria located just above the city center and with very friendly service. I had the most amazing pork pappardelle pasta, a traditional Florence dish, followed by the most perfect pumpkin risotto and tiramisu. Could not recommend this place more.
Sam Note: This was also my pick for one of the best places to eat in Florence! The vibe is SO friendly and fun, and the food is freakin’ delicious. We split a bistecca alla florentina and their maltagliata dish, which tasted kind of like a deconstructed soup dumpling. Definitely going back on my next trip and trying what Ali got!
- Address: Piazza Piattellina, 10
- Open: Tues – Sun, 12:00PM – 2:00PM, 7:30PM – 10PM
If you want to try a new place I have been trying to go…get a reservation early for I’Brindellone! Every time I go to Florence they are booked up. From what I have heard, it is a very good local place that has delicious pastas and bistecca alla Fiorentina.
- Address: Via Giuseppe Verdi, 36R
- Open: Monday – Saturday, 9:00am – 9:00pm
Regina Bistecca is definitely one of the best places to eat in Florence if you’re looking to try the bistecca alla fiorentina… It’s an elegant indoor restaurant with a really lovely atmosphere. You can only order it by piece of meat, with the smallest being 900g, and I was nervous when my boyfriend and I ordered $80 worth of steak to share, but honestly it was worth every bite. The freshly made bread is also incredible!
Trattoria Zà Zà
- Address: Piazza del Mercato Centrale, 26R
- Open: Mon – Sun, 11:00AM – 11:00PM
If you want a classic but worth the hype, Trattoria Zà Zà is always at the top of my list. They have a wide variety of pizzas, pastas, and meats, all delicious and affordable. Must-try’s are their truffle carbonara and beef tenderloin with a special cream sauce, green peppercorns, cognac, and rosemary potatoes.
5 of THE Best Gelato Spots in Florence
In no particular order, these are all amazing to me. I had at least two gelato a day when I studied here so if you are going to trust me on anything related to the best places to eat in Florence, it’s this.
Pro Tip: Most gelato places have an interesting flavor that combines amaretto with something you would not think works, but somehow always works. Worth a try for sure.
Antica Gelateria Fiorentina
- Address: Via Faenza, 2A
- Open: Mon – Sat, 12:30 PM – 6:00 PM
Antica Gelateria Fiorentina was my local gelato shop when I lived here, I frequented enough to warrant a punch card. Super kind servers and relatively cheap for quality gelato. My favorite flavor EVER here is the tiramisu, but their pistachio and dulce de leche are very good.
Gelateria dei Neri
- Address: Via dei Neri, 9/11R
- Open: Wed – Mon, 10:30 AM – 12:00 AM
Located down the street from what was my school and Napoli Pizza 1955, Gelateria dei Neri was my second most popular choice for gelato. All their flavors have the greatest texture, but my favorite was the “cookies” flavor – a creamy vanilla gelato with chunks of assorted cookies. They also have really great sorbet flavors, my favorites being lemon and raspberry.
- Address: Via de’ Ginori, 49/red
- Open: Wed – Mon, 12:30 PM – 9:00 PM
This small shop located above the city center was something I stumbled upon on my way home from school. It has less flavor choices than the abundant Gelateria dei Neri, but what they have they do very well. My go-to order here was salted caramel and nata (cream).
Sbrino – Gelatificio Contadino
- Address: Via dei Serragli, 32R
- Open: Mon – Sun, 12:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Located on the Oltrarno side of Florence, this place is worth the walk over the Ponte Vecchio. Sbrino is the most homemade-tasting gelato I ate in Florence. My life was changed after tasting their “Speculoos” flavor, a truly delicious cinnamon cookie flavor with chunks of Lotus Biscoff cookies. I also had their dark chocolate and sea salt flavor that was a decadent chocolate with large chunks of salt to bring out the flavors even more.
- Address: Via dell’isola delle Stinche, 7R
- Open: Tues – Sun, 9:30 AM – 6:00 PM
Vivoli is a little more expensive but has an incredible history. It was founded back in 1929 and has mastered the gelato texture you cannot find anywhere else in the world. Their coffee and salted caramel flavors here are extra creamy.
Where to Grab a Drink in Florence
For beer lovers, try King Grizzly, a local pub with lots of cool beers on tap and friendly service. Elissa stopped in and loved it.
If you’re looking for a good spot for a glass of wine, try Fuori Porta. A large assortment of wines and appetizers on the way to or from Piazzale Michelangelo.
Other Great Wine Spots:
For Drinks with a View…
So, you like your drink with a view…try Golden View for an elegant indoor atmosphere and view of the Arno and Ponte Vecchio.
Or try View on Art for an outdoor rooftop experience that overlooks the Duomo. Make sure to make reservations at these places ahead of time.
For Drinks on a Budget…
If you’re here studying abroad or just on a budget in general, get drinks at Reverse, Lion’s Fountain, or Red Garter. Another great spot, Kikuya, has deals on Sunday and Monday nights.
And that’s that for ALL the best places to eat in Florence (and drink!) depending on what you’re craving. Truly this city is absolute perfection for museums, historic sightseeing, and really, really good eating. I’m super excited to go back soon and try even more of these spots Ali listed above!
For more Italy travel, read these next:
- 28 Venice Travel Tips to Read Before You Go
- Why You Should Visit Venice in Winter
- Visiting Cinque Terre: A Complete Travel Guide
- How to Spend 3 Days in Milan
- How to Visit Trento, Gateway to the Dolomites
- Charming Things to Do in Verona in 2 Days
- Pitigliano: A Guide to this Beautiful Tuscan Village
- Where to Eat in Bologna: 10 Mouthwatering Recommendations
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