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La Giostra
Photograph: Lorenzo Bartoli

The 21 best Florence restaurants

The best restaurants in Florence exude elegance and rustic charm (or sell really good sandwiches)

Silvia Marchetti
Written by
Lisa Harvey
&
Silvia Marchetti
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There is nothing more romantic than a trip to Florence. It starts with its architecture (particularly the churches), which glimmer in the baking sun. Then there’s the enchanting old artwork in searingly beautiful galleries and museums. And then there’s the sky-high views over the whole of the city, where you can spot the Bell Tower and the Basilica. 

But then, there’s the food. This is food unlike anywhere else in Italy, in some seriously beautiful settings. We’re talking fine dining beneath flower-covered walls, dimly-lit restaurants covered in fairy lights, and seafood on a sun-drenched terrace. Oh, and the sandwiches. Don’t forget the sandwiches. Here are the best restaurants in Florence right now. 

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This guide was recently updated by Italy-based writer Silvia MarchettiAt Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines. 

Best Florence restaurants

Trattoria Marione
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Kelly G.

1. Trattoria Marione

Two words: boar sauce. Old-school style in ambience and cooking techniques, this classic trattoria is perennially filled with Italians on their lunch break or out to dinner with friends. Make sure to order the seasonal specials and ask for the waiter’s recommendations. Call in advance to secure a table, especially during the Italian holidays. And make sure you order the Florentine ribollita. 

Osteria dell’Agnolo
Photograph: Osteria dell'Agnolo Firenze

2. Osteria dell’Agnolo

If you're after traditional, authentic Florentine dishes, this tavern is a must. Osteria dell’Agnolo is the spot to satisfy your palate and fill your stomach after sightseeing, and prepare for a culinary throwback: it’s been open since 1580. Iconic local dishes are reminiscent of those cooked by rural housewives back in the day, from savory lampredotto (boiled cow stomach  don't knock it) to handmade pici short pasta, and ribollita (tuscan bread soup) made from veggies and black beans.

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Trattoria Mario
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Jayson Z.

3. Trattoria Mario

This little trattoria offers family-style seating (you can learn some Italian while here!) at low tables. Join usual diners in ordering carafes of red wine to go along with the rich Tuscan dishes. This place oozes pure Florentine cooking, serving traditional favourites that have been around for centuries. The menu changes daily, but make sure you get whatever’s got the ragù in or with it.

Il Giova
Photograph: Courtesy TripAdvisor/marco_urbs

4. Il Giova

This place is not for tourists: the eclectic decor and tightly packed tables don’t call to mind the sort of ambience that many look for when visiting. Il Giova is a family-run local lunch spot perennially crowded with folks craving the daily changing menu, concocted by the owners each morning depending on what’s found fresh at the San Ambrosio market across the street. If you notice the fried porcini mushrooms on the menu, you have struck gold.

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When you dine at Ristorante Buca San Giovanni, you're dining underground. Like stepping into a cave, the restaurant is found inside a beautiful 1300s church crypt decorated with ragged stone archways and religious imagery. ‘Buca’ in Italian today means ‘hole’, but originally it was a place where pilgrims and knights stopped to eat. It was also a hiding spot for members of secret societies, and we'd say there’s still a certain mysterious vibe to the place. The food served has evolved into fancy twists: expect risotto with celery mousse and marrons glacés (candied chestnuts).

Caffé Italiano
Photograph: Courtesy TripAdvisor/Caffé Italiano

6. Caffé Italiano

Leaning towards the traditional side of things, Caffé Italiano is where locals go for pizza. This old-but-new joint still serves the pure Tuscan flavours that many people crave. There are only a few basic pizzas on the menu, but, trust us, they’re all you need to eat. On the move? The eatery offers takeout as well.

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Osteria Santo Spirito
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Anna E.

7. Osteria Santo Spirito

This osteria sits right at the corner of one of the friendliest piazzas in all of Florence and one that many tourists miss because they don’t venture far enough into the other side of the river. It’s worth the walk, trust us: the portions are larger than most (half-portions are also available...why would you want that?), the ambience is purely magical, and, most importantly, the sizzling truffle and cheese gnocchi is to die for.

8. Antico Ristoro di Cambi

Florentines are meat lovers. How could they not be? In the fertile green plains of Tuscany graze premium Chianina cows that make unique, huge thick steaks, which Florentines love (usually opting for rare). The temple of Chianina is Antico Ristoro di Cambi, and a proper Florence experience, with fascinating vaulted ceilings, dangling pork legs and huge wine flasks. The T-bone steak is the centrepiece here: it overflows the plate, and definitely requires two people to finish it off. 

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Il Latini
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Benjamin X.

9. Il Latini

Family run and a local favourite, walking into Il Latini feels like walking into the family kitchen and, well, you sort of are. The traditional Tuscan restaurant tucked into the narrow streets by Piazza Repubblica boasts a full menu of Florentine favourites, from crostini appetizers to a mixed roast platter or Florentine steak. Locals tend to quickly fill up the tables, so it’s best to make a reservation in advance. Bonus points: dogs are treated even more generously than their human counterparts here.

As the name suggests, Golden View is the place to go for a beautiful view. Perched precariously over the side of the Arno river, guests gaze at the famous Ponte Vecchio from the dining room through the large glass windows. Eat everything from oysters to liver crostini in a modernly decorated space that feels like a Renaissance painting. 

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La Beppa Fioraia
Photograph: Courtesy TripAdvisor/La Beppa Fioraia

11. La Beppa Fioraia

Named after the women that used to sell flowers in the city, this indoor-outdoor restaurant is the perfect stop tucked behind the old walls visitors gaze at while heading to the famous Piazzale Michelangelo. If the weather is right, dine in the private olive grove on-site while feasting on huge plates of meats and cheeses that are hard to come by in the rest of the city.

One of the more modern eateries in Florence, Obicá has only been around for a few years, but it has already made a name for itself. The sprawling restaurant full of modern flair has a beautiful indoor courtyard and a menu that allows you to pick your favourite mozzarella, ricotta and burrata cheese from around the country. Also, admire the fabulous selection of pizza and tagliere, plates piled high with sliced meats and cheeses.

 

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La Giostra is known for its quirky backstory and for hosting the likes of Elton John. Owned by an Austrian royal family, the space boasts the perfect ambience for a romantic night out with candle-lit tables and deep red wines in beautiful glass decanters. The plates are carefully crafted and extremely Italian, albeit offering a more gourmet take on traditional trattoria eats. Given the restaurant’s popularity, make a reservation in advance.

Perseus
Photograph: Courtesy TripAdvisor/ItaliaFiore

14. Perseus

If you’re looking for steak, it’s worth the effort to visit Perseus. Located just past the old walls of the city centre, this is the go-to destination for Florentines craving steak – and for a good reason. Everything from the decor (frescoed walls! Hanging vines!) to the menu reflects a devotion to tradition. Warning: Florentines like their steak “al sangue,” which literally means “at blood” but translates into “rare,” so if you ask for it to be cooked a little longer, you might actually be refused service.

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I Fratellini
Photograph: Courtesy TripAdvisor/andrea r.

15. I Fratellini

This hole-in-the-wall eatery is the epitome of Italian food culture. Open since 1875, the tiny sandwich shop specializes in bread filled with a combination of local ingredients. Try the prosciutto and truffle, the bresaola, the mozzarella and some of the best tomatoes you will ever taste. You’re handed your order in a paper wrapper, so devour it while hanging out on the sidewalk with a glass of wine in hand – there are even wooden shelves on the street to hold your glass as you eat.

Just around the corner from La Giostra, find the lesser-known and just-as-delicious Cantina Barbagianni. It might be a tad difficult to find the place, seeing that most of it is below street level, but follow the smell of Tuscan cuisine and walk behind the many locals that love dining here. These incredible dishes haven’t yet hit the tourist scene, so delight in the exclusivity of it all.

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Tucked behind the high windows of one of the city centre’s large palaces, you’d be quick to walk by Parione if not looking for it – a secrecy that makes it that much more of a local spot. In the beautiful cantina, revel in the seasonally fresh Tuscan menu, magnificent service and an overall delightful experience.

The beautiful rustic charm and unique style that define La Ménagère will immediately catch your attention. Complete with a flower shop inside and a long table that’ll make you feel like you’re eating in a palace, the eatery’s food offerings are thrilling. The fusion menu is all sorts of delicious, the downstairs bar hosts regular live music nights, and a slew of different events takes over the space weekly. Delicious and fun.

 

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Acqua Al 2 fills their walls with customized plates decorated by customers and is renowned for its chef samplers. Can’t settle on an order? Here, you don’t have to choose. The waiters will bring around small “tastes” of different kinds of pasta and salads, hopefully including the famous blueberry steak sauce and balsamic reduction. Yes, a full à la carte menu is also available.

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