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The 36 Essential Florence Restaurants

Where to find Florentine classics like ribollita, bistecca alla fiorentina, and penne strascicate, plus gelato, kebabs, cocktails, and more in the Tuscan capital

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Every year, Florence attracts millions of visitors who take in the splendor of the Duomo, browse the Uffizi Gallery, and walk the Ponte Vecchio. They have also propelled a multi-decade dining expansion in one of the world’s best-preserved UNESCO cities. Twenty years ago Florence had only one Michelin-starred restaurant (today’s three-star Enoteca Pinchiori) among its traditional mom-and-pop eateries. Today the dynamic food scene runs from dumplings to kebabs, and there are no fewer than eight Michelin-starred restaurants, including the not-to-be-missed Gucci Osteria by Massimo Bottura or Borgo San Jacopo. (You won’t find those Michelin stars here, though, to save room for unstarred gems equally deserving of recognition.)

At its heart, Florence is a hub of Tuscan cuisine, and the city is famous for its signature dishes like ribollita and bistecca alla fiorentina (T-bone steak). Street food culture is alive and well too, including the signature lampredotto, a cow’s fourth stomach traditionally slathered with green sauce and sandwiched in a bread roll. Due to taxes and salt wars with rival towns, for centuries Tuscans have made their bread saltless, so you’re often better off opting for schiacciata (Florence’s pizza bianca, not to be confused with softer Ligurian focaccia), which you can find plain or filled as panini.

The crowds do have their drawbacks, especially disappointing tourist traps. Locals deride how mass tourism has directed visitors away from sit-down lunches in favor of panini shacks, which cause hour-long lines, street congestion, and littering. Skip the grammable panino and carve out time to support a local restaurant instead.

And be sure to reserve ahead for the city’s best tables. Italian restaurants tend to do two turns at dinner, around 7:30 and 9 p.m. Go for the earlier seating to avoid waiting for locals, who tend to linger over their meals. Be sure to notify restaurants if your plans change, and leave a few euros for tips (a gracious gesture and a step toward squashing the stereotype that Italian hospitality workers earn enough to forgo tipping).

Update October, 2021:

Except for small traditional trattorias that don’t have sidewalk real estate or a piazza out front, most restaurants have set up outdoor seating during the COVID-19 pandemic. For indoor dining, be prepared to show a Green Pass or equivalent documents, like a negative COVID test taken within 48 hours (many pharmacies in Florence do rapid 15-minute saliva tests) or proof of vaccination from your home country.

Prices per person
$ = Less than €20 (less than USD $21)
$$ = €20 - €40 (USD $21 to USD $42)
$$$ = €40 - €60 (USD $42 to USD $63)
$$$$ = More than €60 (more than USD $63)

Note: The inclusion of restaurants offering dine-in service should not be taken as an endorsement for dining inside. Studies indicate a lower exposure risk to COVID-19 outdoors, but the level of risk is contingent on social distancing and other safety guidelines. Check with each restaurant for up-to-date information on dining offerings. For updated information on coronavirus cases in Italy, please visit the Ministry of Health.

Coral Sisk is an Italian-Iranian American-born sommelier, culinary tour guide, and writer who keeps up an Italian food and travel blog. Her company Curious Appetite Travel runs gourmet tours in Florence, Bologna, and around Tuscany.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Trattoria Da Burde Firenze

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Outside the historical center, Da Burde is one of the city’s finest family-run institutions for traditional Florentine food. Currently led by the youngest generation of the Burde ownership, the trattoria has an atmosphere that’s both old-world wine bar and homey banquet, where sincere family recipes are earnestly prepared from scratch. The trek to Da Burde is worth it for diners in search for true Florentine relics, passed-down specialties like minestrone, meatballs, chickpea farinata, and grilled meats, all with incredible wines to match. [$$]

Several baked, topped items on a restaurant counter
Trattoria Da Burde
Trattoria Da Burde/Facebook

Pizzeria Giovanni Santarpia

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The Florentine culinary repertoire historically excludes pizza (the Renaissance town is better known for ribollita and bistecca alla fiorentina), but the city is still a magnet for exceptional pizza-makers. If you’re craving a well-crafted pie, look no further than Santarpia, which combines new-wave creativity with traditional heart. Pizza chef Giovanni Santarpia hails from Campania and has spent years earning feathers as one of the best pizzaioli in the country. He’s obsessed with dough and ingredient quality, fermentation, and warm hospitality. The craft beer selection is top-notch as well. Santarpia is outside the historic center of town, but worth the detour. [$ - $$]

A whole pizza on a plate topped with green sauce, cheese, blistered tomatoes, and meat
Pizza from Santarpia
Coral Sisk

Trattoria Sabatino

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Timeless restaurants like this make Florence special: Sabatino’s is a family-run, blue-collar joint that hasn’t changed much since it opened in 1956. Pasta dishes at this walk-in-only trattoria hover at a humble €4.50, while meaty mains like roast chicken clock in at a mere €5.50. Its simple homestyle cooking and bargain prices are a testament to Italy’s all-inclusive food culture: You don’t need to be well-off to eat well here. [$]

A restaurant dining room with whitewashed walls, archways, kitchen equipment hanging from the wood rafters and walls, and tables set with simple tablecloths
Inside Trattoria Sabatino
Trattoria Sabatino / Facebook

La Vecchia Bettola

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This unfussy Florentine trattoria lives up to its name (which translates as “old tavern”) with a kitschy, classico Italian dining atmosphere: hanging prosciutto, wood and marble decor, hollering waitstaff, and straw-wrapped chianti bottles. The honestly priced homestyle food and down-to-earth service match the surroundings perfectly. Dishes are true to the Tuscan repertoire, including local cured meats, fried rabbit, roast pork arista, and Tuscan bread-based pappa al pomodoro soup. Locals come for the bistecca alla fiorentina, vodka sauce penne, chicken liver crostini, and fried artichokes. [$$]

Ristorante Il Guscio

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You could throw a rock in any direction and hit a good restaurant in Florence, but it’s a little harder to hit a place with remarkable wine offerings too. Il Guscio has been around since 1986 and has a menu that takes homestyle Tuscan and Italian classics to gourmet status: gnudi dumplings made with scamorza and spinach pesto, Maldon-salted sliced sirloin with julienned vegetables, paccheri pasta with spicy Calabrian ’nduja and burrata, beet risotto. The wine list is rife with boutique, biodynamic, and terroir-centered producers, heavy on Tuscan wines balanced with an ample selection of crucial bottles from around the country, selections from France, and plenty of sparkling. Portions are hearty, so make sure you order to share, and save room for dessert, which is very much on point. [$$ - $$$]

A slice of fish under chopped and shave vegetables on a bed of creamy sauce on a slate plate
Bonito with robiola and dill
Ristorante Il Guscio / Facebook

Trattoria Ruggero

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Ruggero is described by locals as a tuffo nel passato (blast from the past). The time capsule trattoria hasn’t updated its decor since the ’70s, but the affordable local fare has held up. Come for quality options such as pici pasta, roast pork, tender filetto (tenderloin), and seasonal sides (porcini, zucchini flowers, artichokes). Their calling card primo dish is spaghetti alla carrettiera, a dense red sauce preparation with a kick of chile, anchovies, breadcrumbs, and herbs. Ruggero isn’t quite in the historic center, but it’s worth the walk past the Porta Romana. [$$]

A table with a plate of pasta, a bread basket, grated cheese, and bottle of red wine
Pasta at Trattoria Ruggero
Coral Sisk

Culinaria Bistro

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Head to Piazza Tasso for a break from Tuscan fare: Culinaria Bitro features French and Moroccan flavors in dishes made with meticulously sourced ingredients. The restaurant is owned by De Gustibus, a slow-food organization hell-bent on promoting local producers that respect organic and traditional artisan practices. It’s easy to find something to like on the menu, which has everything from lemon and sesame chicken and couscous tagines, to vegetable tartares, to Tuscan cured meat and cheese boards, alongside rich desserts like wine-soaked biscotti tiramisu. [$$]

Essenziale

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Located in Piazza del Cestello, Essenziale is challenging Florence’s otherwise sluggish experimental dining scene. As the name suggests, the restaurant focuses on the essential aspects of dining, with a minimalist atmosphere that keeps attention on the plate. Chef Simone Cipriani is known for revisiting Florentine classics, like turning pappa al pomodoro into a savory doughnut. Dishes deftly diverge from the heavily regimented repertoire of Florentine cuisine by fusing Italian foundations with tacos, kimchi, and tempura, and the kitchen makes statements with its use of offal on classic pastas. The rotating themed tasting menu is exciting and priced at 55 euros ($65). [$$$$]

A small clump of pasta with shaved truffles in a large white plate
Fresh pasta at Essenziale
Essenziale/Facebook

Enoteca Bellini

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This enoteca (Italian for wine bar) is hidden in one of the most charming but often overlooked corners of Florence, but once you find it you’ll have a hard time leaving. The humble snack and wine bar is run by the owners’ daughter Camilla, who has an uncanny ability to match wines to your personal tastes. Don’t skip one of the tasty meat and cheese plates, a warm cheese crostini, and something bubbly from the Champagne fridge. The anchovy toasts are some of the best you’ll find — Camilla makes hers with hand-filleted anchovies from the Mediterranean cured in high-quality olive oil, topped with a curl of lemon zest. Like most boutique wine bars in Florence, this venue is best for small groups looking for light bites and drinks, not full dinner. [$$]

Two plates of salad on a wooden table beside glasses of wine and a vase of flowers
Herb salad with tomatoes, avocado, raw ham, and mustard vinaigrette
Enoteca Bellini / Facebook

Trattoria Cammillo

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Located in the bohemian Oltrarno (“other side of the Arno river”), Cammillo is an old-school trattoria serving straightforward Tuscan fare with white-tablecloth service. The prices are above average for homestyle dining, but it’s worth the extra money for expertly prepared rustic classics like winter ribollita soup finished with proprietary olive oil, warm root vegetable salads, bistecca fiorentina, and game meats. Trust the pasta offerings: The family that owns the place has roots in Italy’s pasta capital, Bologna. [$$$]

Osteria Tripperia Il Magazzino

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Adventurous eaters, Il Magazzino is your jam. Sample gourmet versions of Florence’s street food lampredotto in a sit-down osteria setting: fried meatballs of the gutsy stuff, lampredotto-filled ravioli topped with Tropea onion sauce, and even tempura-fried lampredotto sushi, which nods to chef Luca Cai’s stint in Japan. Everything on the menu is pretty stellar, except the steak. Stick to the pastas and organ meats, and you’ll land a one-of-a-kind meal. (Dining with a squirmy eater or vegetarian? Have no fear — non-offal options are also available.) [$$]

From above, two dishes of pasta in oblong plates beside a glass of wine
Stick to the pastas and offal
Coral Sisk

Procacci 1885

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Procacci is a cornerstone of Florence’s aperitivo scene. In operation since 1885, the cafe catered to King Vittorio Emanuele III, and it has displayed a royal coat of arms from the House of Savoy since 1925. The truffle den is now owned by Antinori, Tuscany’s most historic wine-producing clan (30-plus generations strong), who supply all wine. These days, it’s a good spot for people-watching during fashion trade shows; global fashionistas flock to dine on dainty mini paninos slathered with truffles, along with glasses of tomato juice or sparkling Franciacorta wine (Lombardy’s equivalent of Champagne). You should go further into the decadent menu options like foie gras, mortadella soaked in alchermes (an Italian liqueur), or egg with sliced truffle. Pick up a few gourmet souvenirs too, including truffle salts, truffle-infused anchovies, white truffle honey, aged balsamic vinegars, and fine chocolates.  [$ - $$$]

A staff member arranges food items on a glass display case
Souvenirs ready for devouring
Procacci 1885

Le Volpi e L’Uva

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Tucked away off the Ponte Vecchio is one of the most revered wine bars in the country. Part shop, part bar and local hangout, Le Volpi pours and sells bottles that uniquely represent the Italian wine landscape, highlighting passionate producers. A crack team of winemakers, sommeliers, and wine educators staff the bar, and if they hook you up with a wine you love, you can join the wine club or ship bottles abroad. The bar serves choice meat and cheese plates and warm crostini toasts to accompany tastings. If you see wild boar fennel salami, snag a plate. And you can’t leave without having the crostino with melted lardo and asiago, or the finger panini with cured duck breast and butter. [$]

Three people sit at a table nosing wine, with shelves of unopened wine covering a wall nearby
Enjoying a few glasses with friends
Le Volpi e L’Uva

Buca dell’Orafo

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Another time-cherished eatery, this basement wine cellar-turned-restaurant is small on space but big on soul. Dive deep into true Florentine cuisine with mainstays like ribollita soup, gnudi, artichoke omelet, panzanella, maltagliati pasta, steak, and fried cow brain — plus a great wine list. Overlook the rough-around-the-edges service, and you’ll find one of the best meals Florence has to offer. [$$$]

A filled pastry on a plate
Dive deep at Buca dell’Orafo
Buca dell’Orafo

Fiaschetteria Osteria Nuvoli

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A stone’s throw from the Duomo, Nuvoli is one of Florence’s remaining vinaino, wine sellers who also serve simple snacks. Housed inside a 200-year-old palazzo (including a basement level that dates back to the 1100s), the business has been run by the Nuvoli family since 1986 and has become a popular hangout for locals. Lunch service includes boar pappardelle, ribollita, slow-cooked stews, and charcuterie boards, but the real culinary gems are in their crostini, housed in a case on ground level. Smeared with chicken liver, truffle, artichokes, raw sausage, and other options, the toasts make optimal aperitivo snacks. [$]

A restaurant exterior with large awning beneath a colorful art deco sign, with windows full of signs and a few wooden stools out front
Outside Fiaschetteria Osteria Nuvoli
Fiaschetteria Osteria Nuvoli / Facebook

Trattoria Sergio Gozzi

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If the chaotic, crowded local trattorias aren’t your thing, head to 150-plus-year-old Sergio Gozzi for a similar slice of ambiance and culinary history — but with more space and less waiting. A true Florentine trattoria, Sergio Gozzi changes up its renowned fried offerings based on the seasons: fried zucchini flowers in the summer and artichokes in the winter. Also keep an eye out for porchetta, peposo (beef stew slow-cooked in wine and whole peppercorns), and one of the best pappa al pomodoro soups in town. Only open for lunch, Gozzi offers traditional homestyle food at reasonable prices. [$]

Street seating in front of a restaurant exterior, where two men lean in the doorway to the restaurant
Outside Trattoria Sergio Gozzi
Trattoria Sergio Gozzi / Facebook

Enoteca Alessi

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A refuge from the crowds thronging the nearby Duomo, Enoteca Alessi is an independent wine shop with a library-sized collection of wines, spirits, vermouths, amari, digestifs, chocolates, and other culinary treasures, perfect for souvenirs. Head to the wine bar for a glass of vino and an elaborate charcuterie board with fennel salami and various pecorino cheeses, or get crostini or a panini. Finish off the meal with the dessert wine flight and chocolate fondue. [$ - $$]

A bar interior with two-top tables set with glasses, and a standing bar supported by wine barrels, in a candle-lit space
Inside Enoteca Alessi
Enoteca Alessi

My Sugar

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Veteran gelato makers, who have been crafting exceptional scoops for decades, have sustained Florence’s gelato cred in the face of an onslaught of tourist traps serving mountains of artificially produced gelato. But, one of the newer gelato shops is a noteworthy example of the younger generation bravely carrying the torch in the city considered to be the birthplace of gelato. Run by a husband-wife duo, My Sugar meticulously churns out classic flavors like bittersweet chocolate and Bronte pistachio, seasonal fruit like kid-approved strawberry and watermelon, and more worldly flavors including black sesame, green tea, pure peanut, and dark chocolate spiked with local chianti. Tip: Gelato should never be scooped from a mound, but instead from pans where it lays flat or ribboned. Ideally, it’s served from carapine, covered metal cylinders that sit under the counter. [$]

A tilting stack of gelato on a cone topped with an edible heart, in front of a street filled with people
A stacked gelato cone at My Sugar
My Sugar/Facebook

Ristorante Persiano Tehran

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International food offerings are growing at a modest pace in Florence, and the city’s Iranian population is well represented by Ristorante Persiano Tehran. Situated in Piazza dei Cimatori, aka “Dante’s Neighborhood,” this restaurant proudly serves Iranian specialties, like ground beef koobideh, marinated spiced joojeh chicken kebabs, hearty herb and lamb stew ghormeh sabzi, Persian bastani, and rose, saffron, or pistachio-flavored ice cream. The decor pays homage to the owners’ home country and offers a Persian escape in the midst of Florence’s Renaissance-heavy center. [$$]

Sauced pieces of chicken on top of a mound of rice layered with barberries and a rose petal on a bright ceramic plate
Barberry rice with chicken
Ristorante Persiano Tehran / Facebook

Coquinarius

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Eating and drinking well near the Duomo isn’t impossible, thanks to places like Coquinarius. This bistro with a vintage feel is perfect for diners who treat wine as the main course and food as the garnish. The bottle selection is extensive and constantly changing, and the sommelier Nicola Schirru is one of the most enthusiastic wine advocates in the city. Pair your vino with scrumptious pastas like burrata-filled ravioli in a pistachio pesto, baccala and saffron spaghetti, cacio e pepe ravioli with truffle, or charcuterie platters and crostini. A second location in Fiesole also provides a good stop if you are thinking of checking out the Roman and Etruscan ruins in this scenic town perched above Florence. [$$]

A restaurant interior with textured white walls, shelves of wine on one wall, a mirror on another wall, and simple wood tables
Inside Coquinarius
Coquinarius / Facebook

Osteria Vini e Vecchi Sapori

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A short walk from the Uffizi Gallery, this tiny eatery makes its intentions clear on the handwritten menu outside: no pizza, no ice, no cappuccino, and no steak. This osteria serves traditional Tuscan food, and is known for its pappardelle in duck ragu, ribollita soup, fragrant saffron pasta tossed with zucchini flowers and a touch of cream, and meat-based mains like tomato-stewed cod and rolled, stuffed pork. This soulful Florentine institution is heavily frequented by locals — reservations are necessary. [$$]

A plate of thick-cut pasta with ragu and shaved cheese
Pasta at Osteria Vini e Vecchi Sapori
Coral Sisk

Libreria Brac

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Tucked off a hidden street in the Santa Croce zone, Libreria Brac is equal parts cafe, restaurant, and modern art gallery with an eclectic library of books, vintage magazines, and choice music. The space is divided into a bar with counter seating, a chill courtyard, and a dining room. The vegetarian menu has gourmet and global touches, with influences from the chef’s travels around the world (he’s especially fond of cities like San Francisco). Expect microgreen salads with avocado and almond lemon dressing, and tangy tomato and buffalo mozzarella-layered casseroles topped with crispy pane carasau, a traditional wafer-thin flatbread from Sardinia. Locals go for the mixed platters, which include a pasta — such as the ginger and potato-filled tortelli with arugula pesto or radicchio risotto — a salad, and a slice of savory pane carasau, all for less than 15 euros. Brac is also a coveted spot for an Anglo-style weekend brunch of pancakes and scrambles. The drinks list is dominated by organic teas and coffees, though you’ll also find smoothies and juices (rare in Florence) and a list of natural wines from all over Italy. [$]

A plate split between red sauce zucchini noodles and a shaved salad, on a table in front of decorative wallpaper
Plates at Libreria Brac
Libreria Brac/Facebook

Ristorante Del Fagioli

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Run by the same family since 1966, Fagioli serves extremely Tuscan cuisine and blue-collar Florentine classics like penne strascicate cooked by “dragging” pasta still very dente in a pan of meaty sugo. Pop by in the morning and you’ll find the crew preparing seasonal produce and simmering stews and soups in time for the lunch and dinner crowds. Few do showstopping bistecca alla fiorentina both well and from the local breed of cow called Chianina. Note: The space is small and bustling, and the service is hit and miss, but the food and value will make up for any gruffness. [$$]

A large steak cut into portions, with side dishes and glasses of wine around on a white tablecloth
Bistecca alla fiorentina
Coral Sisk

Located in a Renaissance-era palace once owned by the Medici family, Locale is fine dining for craft-cocktail enthusiasts, with stellar service to match the extraordinary scenery. The avant-garde cocktail lounge boasts towering shelves of alcohol and an undercurrent of experimental flair. Below the main space, there’s an underground science lab/apothecary, where bartenders concoct butter-infused vodkas, redistilled gins, house-made kombucha with obscure local dried flowers, CBD-vaporized cocktails, and more. [$$$$]

A round vessel with clear sides reveals flowers and fruit floating inside, on a black background
Punch in the making at Locale
Locale

Club Culinario Toscano da Osvaldo

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Tuscan cuisine is the foundation at this “culinary club,” but diners revel in finding specialties from across the boot on the menu. The owner and head chef inspires memories from nonna's kitchen, using obscure regional ingredients and materie prime (raw materials) from the most idyllic producers in the country, like one that supplies cheese aged in Etruscan-era caves. The fried polpette di bollito (beef croquettes) are must-haves, as are charcuterie boards, rabbit and olives, and the potato-filled tortelli with various options of ragu (the goat is a win). [$$]

A restaurant interior with checkerboard floors, wooden tables set for lunch, a horizontal mirror spanning the back wall, and shelves of wine to one side
Inside the bright dining room
Club Culinario Toscano da Osvaldo / Facebook

Arà è Sicilia

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Savvy Sicilian chef Carmelo Pannocchietti is a fixture in Florence. His Sicilian street food outposts can satisfy a cannoli craving, but Arà also makes notably generous ragu-filled arancini, slabs of Sicilian pizza, granitas, and arguably the best Bronte pistachio gelato in town. Pannocchietti has expanded his venture into a bit of an empire, with pop-up stands along the river in the summer, an outpost on the top floor of the Mercato Centrale food hall, and a sit-down fast-casual deli (similar to a tavola calda). Don’t sleep on the natural wine lists, which have some mind-boggling delicious options sourced from the namesake island. [$ - $$]

From above, a decorative china plate with a well-stuffed cannoli dusted with crumbled pistachios
Cannoli at Arà è Sicilia
Coral Sisk

Dim Sum

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Milan tends to garner most of the glory for its plethora of Chinese food, but few travelers realize Prato, a historic textile hub near Florence, is home to the largest Chinese community in Italy (the third-largest in Europe after Paris and London). While Prato’s Chinatown is a true dumpling destination, Florence benefits from ample spillover. For evidence, look no further than Dim Sum, where dumplings, noodles, and stir-fries fly out of the open kitchen, and all the dough, buns, and noodles are made in-house. Don’t miss the spicy pork dumpling soup, naturally risen steamed buns, tea-smoked duck, vegetable sides like bitter melon and eggplant. [$$]

A hand removes the top to a bamboo steamer releasing steam over a handful of dumplings
Dumplings fresh from the steamer
Dim Sum / Facebook

In the heart of San Niccolo, just below the steps leading up to the panoramic Piazza Michelangelo square, is one of tastiest carb bars on the planet. Fresh cappellaci is the specialty at this mother-and-son operation, where it’s offered with a myriad of stuffings, like winter squash and ricotta, and toppings, like green kale pesto sauce or freshly shaved truffles, when in season. You’ll also find tavola calda-type offerings, like sliced roasted meats and caramelized vegetables, all with a unique Champagne and natural wine selection. [$$ - $$$]

A chef’s hands are seen dispensing a pile of meat-filled pasta on a plate
Spaghetti at Zeb
Zeb Gastronomia

Florence isn’t the kindest destination for seafood lovers, but there are a few gems in the meat-heavy Tuscan capital. The chef at Aroma Firenze takes real pride in his exceptional seafood dishes — pastas with plump prawns, a grilled seasonal catch, and ethereal crudo raw plates — as well as the thoughtful wine list and decadent desserts to finish. Service is warm and the atmosphere ideal for date nights. [$$$]

Raw fish and flowers on a bed of ice
Crudite di crostacei e pescato at Aroma
Aroma Ristorante Firenze/Facebook

La Divina Pizza

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For Roman-style pizza by the slice, La Divina Pizza is worth a visit — especially if Neapolitan pizza isn't your thing. Made with high-quality local ingredients, pizza here comes topped with thoughtful combinations of artisan cheeses, meats, and seasonal produce. Try the fresh fig and burrata or the spicy sliced salami with plump purple olives. A few slices is ideal for a quick lunch with a glass of beer or prosecco. [$]

Thick-crusted pizza topped with various toppings cut into small bites on wax paper
Roman-style pizza
Coral Sisk

Cibrèo Trattoria

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Chef Fabio Picchi is a culinary icon in town. He’s responsible for a cluster of restaurants congregated at the gate of the city’s most genuine Florentine food quarter, Sant’Ambrogio. Across six outposts, Picchi’s food creatively celebrates the region’s bounty and flavors while adhering to certain cornerstones of the Florentine and Tuscan repertoire. The offerings at his trattoria are dedicated to homestyle old-world cooking, like rib-sticking soups, roasted game, and obscure offal preparations like stuffed chicken neck. Creativity shows through in the cult-status ricotta and potato sformatino souffle, and some out-of-the-box riffs on Florentine staples, as in a budino made with turmeric and lemon Greek yogurt. Don’t come expecting pasta and pizza. [$$]

A meaty offal dish on a plate with sliced tomatoes
A dish from Cibrèo Trattoria
Coral Sisk

Trattoria da Rocco

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Young Florentines are molding the dining scene into something more refined and international, and there are few places left in the city where you can experience an old-fashioned, family-run greasy spoon, complete with the staff hollering at each other as if they were in their own living room. For that, head to this trattoria inside the Sant'Ambrogio market. Beat the crowds by going before 1 p.m., or join them in the small booths for dirt-cheap plates of panzanella in the summer, pappa al pomodoro (tomato and bread soup) in the spring, and everything else in between, like simple pastas, meat and potatoes, and hearty desserts of caramelized pears. [$]

A restaurant interior filled with people, with a salad bar in the center, strip lighting beneath a domed ceiling, and pictures and decorations on the walls
Inside the dining room
Trattoria da Rocco / Facebook

Panini at Semel

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For the best sandwich in the world, according to obviously biased owner Marco Paparozzi, head to his tiny panino stall perched on the curb of Sant'Ambrogio market. Fillings here break the usual meat-and-cheese mold, drawing from Tuscan-inspired flavors and dishes: Think stewed donkey, pear, pecorino, and truffle; wild boar sausage and broccoli rabe; and, at times, carb-on-carb taglierini pasta panino. Select your filling from the rotating chalkboard menu and Paparozzi or his nephew will promptly whip up a flavorful panino and insist it be washed down with a small glass of wine. [$]

A person holds out a panini over a wooden countertop, beside a glass case with a chalkboard menu inside
Marco Paparozzi
Coral Sisk

Dolci e Dolcezze

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On the lip of Sant’Ambrogio in Piazza Beccaria, you’ll find the fanciest pastry spot in the historical center. The decor is like being in a ballroom, colored old-school with teal and featuring classic ceramics and glassware. The attention to detail is immense, down to the hand-written cursive signage. This spot is beloved for its dedication to artisanal raw ingredients, such as Valrhona cacao for its flourless chocolate cake and cherry-picked figs and forest fragoline (wild strawberries) from the local markets for its mini seasonal fruit tartlets. In addition to sweet creativity, the cafe procures Florentine classics like puff pastry sfoglia and budino di riso (rice pudding in shortbread crust). It’s tiny inside, with a few tables at the curb of the piazza’s parking lot and bus stand, but it’s worth it to squeeze in. It also has an espresso machine in what appears to be a closet, but within is specialty coffee from Cafe Piansa, an institutional craft roaster. This is the ideal place for Italian breakfast, and if you insist on having a cornetto and cappuccino, this spot does them properly. [$]

From above, a bright blue table topped with plates of pastries and coffee drinks
Coffee and pastries at Dolci e Dolcezze
Coral Sisk

L'Trippaio di Firenze

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While Florentines debate about which is the best lampredotto stand, Marco Bolognese's l'Trippaio di Firenze in Piazza Beccaria stands out. Lampredotto is classically cooked in a savory broth and served chopped, stuffed in bread, and topped with a green herb and chili sauce, but this stand has more options for curious eaters. Here, the dish is cooked in a notable range of sauces: tomato with artichoke or olives; beans and sausage; chard; and even an “erotic” stew of random organs (ovaries, uterus, tongue). [$]

A cook drops a hulking bunch of cow stomach into a pot
One of the best spots for lampredotto
Coral Sisk

Antico Forno Giglio

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Now in their fourth generation, the family of fornai (bakers) that owns this bakery seems totally uninterested in winning over new customers with gimmicks or gourmet improvements on classics. Instead, they’re fixated on sourcing locally grown flour and ancient grains for breads, and peak-season fruit for cakes. They aren’t shy with oil for their salty schiacciata, patience for their naturally fermented and risen loaves, butter for their pastries, Nutella for their biscotti, and love for everything else they make. While the bakery is definitely off the beaten path, it’s worth stopping by at lunch for a schiacciata panino with porchetta, mortadella, or fennel finocchiona, or for a sweet treat in the afternoon like chestnut flour flat cakes, rice custard fritters (a carnival specialty), or buttery puff pastries braided with chocolate. [$]

A hand holding a porchetta sandwich in front of a cement wall
Porchetta schiacciata
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Trattoria Da Burde Firenze

Several baked, topped items on a restaurant counter
Trattoria Da Burde
Trattoria Da Burde/Facebook

Outside the historical center, Da Burde is one of the city’s finest family-run institutions for traditional Florentine food. Currently led by the youngest generation of the Burde ownership, the trattoria has an atmosphere that’s both old-world wine bar and homey banquet, where sincere family recipes are earnestly prepared from scratch. The trek to Da Burde is worth it for diners in search for true Florentine relics, passed-down specialties like minestrone, meatballs, chickpea farinata, and grilled meats, all with incredible wines to match. [$$]

Several baked, topped items on a restaurant counter
Trattoria Da Burde
Trattoria Da Burde/Facebook

Pizzeria Giovanni Santarpia

A whole pizza on a plate topped with green sauce, cheese, blistered tomatoes, and meat
Pizza from Santarpia
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The Florentine culinary repertoire historically excludes pizza (the Renaissance town is better known for ribollita and bistecca alla fiorentina), but the city is still a magnet for exceptional pizza-makers. If you’re craving a well-crafted pie, look no further than Santarpia, which combines new-wave creativity with traditional heart. Pizza chef Giovanni Santarpia hails from Campania and has spent years earning feathers as one of the best pizzaioli in the country. He’s obsessed with dough and ingredient quality, fermentation, and warm hospitality. The craft beer selection is top-notch as well. Santarpia is outside the historic center of town, but worth the detour. [$ - $$]

A whole pizza on a plate topped with green sauce, cheese, blistered tomatoes, and meat
Pizza from Santarpia
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Trattoria Sabatino

A restaurant dining room with whitewashed walls, archways, kitchen equipment hanging from the wood rafters and walls, and tables set with simple tablecloths
Inside Trattoria Sabatino
Trattoria Sabatino / Facebook

Timeless restaurants like this make Florence special: Sabatino’s is a family-run, blue-collar joint that hasn’t changed much since it opened in 1956. Pasta dishes at this walk-in-only trattoria hover at a humble €4.50, while meaty mains like roast chicken clock in at a mere €5.50. Its simple homestyle cooking and bargain prices are a testament to Italy’s all-inclusive food culture: You don’t need to be well-off to eat well here. [$]

A restaurant dining room with whitewashed walls, archways, kitchen equipment hanging from the wood rafters and walls, and tables set with simple tablecloths
Inside Trattoria Sabatino
Trattoria Sabatino / Facebook

La Vecchia Bettola

This unfussy Florentine trattoria lives up to its name (which translates as “old tavern”) with a kitschy, classico Italian dining atmosphere: hanging prosciutto, wood and marble decor, hollering waitstaff, and straw-wrapped chianti bottles. The honestly priced homestyle food and down-to-earth service match the surroundings perfectly. Dishes are true to the Tuscan repertoire, including local cured meats, fried rabbit, roast pork arista, and Tuscan bread-based pappa al pomodoro soup. Locals come for the bistecca alla fiorentina, vodka sauce penne, chicken liver crostini, and fried artichokes. [$$]