Florence has been one of my favorite Italian cities to visit since my first time there in 2015. The vibrant streets, amazing architecture, and the locals are extremely welcoming – but I can’t say enough about the food, which is one of the main reasons I have had to go back for more.
This city is practically a culinary time machine. The Florentine steak, for example, is a nod to the city’s medieval cattle-raising traditions. The Medici family were reportedly big foodies who brought new flavors to the city, which could explain the appreciation for fine dining deeply embedded in Florence’s DNA.
If you’re planning to visit here soon, you can expect everything from traditional recipes passed down through generations going back to the days of Dante, to modern delicacies that will make you rethink Italian cuisine. I suggest trying all of the above.
Read on to learn about our favorite restaurants in Florence – two of them Michelin-starred – and discover where you can find the most mouthwatering meals in the city.
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If you are wondering where to eat in Florence, Enoteca Pinchiorri is the ultimate destination. The only three Michelin stars restaurant in Florence is tucked inside an old palazzo that dates back to the Renaissance era.
Head chefs here are Annie Féolde, Italo Bassi, and Riccardo Monco; Annie is the first woman not from France to get three stars from Michelin men and is well known for training a long line of chefs who have gone on to be big names. Her mouthwatering blending of classic Tuscany taste with a hint of French has kept the restaurant in the spotlight since its opening in 1984.
They have an a la carte menu and three different tasting menus, each with eight dishes the likes of yellowfin tuna, roasted veal loin, beetroot omelet, sauteed snails with avocado and coconut, scorpionfish fillet, and pigeon “almost in tempura”. The poached eggs, mascarpone ravioli, and caramelized peach ice cream have a fan following of their own.
Giorgio Pinchiorri, the owner, has curated a wine collection that is considered the biggest in the world. His wine list is as thick as an encyclopedia volume; some say the restaurant’s wine cellar could easily be well worth over €100 million. And believe it or not, they have a water menu! Bottles from around the world, each with its own price, starting at 20 euros. That’s not a joke!
This lovely restaurant is located in one of the oldest structures in Italy – Torre della Pagliazza – which dates back to the 6th and 7th centuries. At one time the tower also served as a women’s prison in the 12th century! Today, it is home to Santa Elisabetta where Chef Rocco De Santis specializes in Mediterranean cuisine, with a focus on fish and seafood. His home region of Campania is said to influence many of his culinary creations.
The Florence restaurant is part of the Hotel Brunelleschi, which itself is a refurbished medieval church built over Roman baths. The intimate dining area features stone walls and limited seating — just seven tables. The decor is tasteful, with 19th-century elements that add to the atmosphere.
When it comes to the menu, Santa Elisabetta does not disappoint. You have a range of options, from a lighter 3-course lunch to a 9-course “Chef Experience”. The ingredients are carefully selected, and the dishes are crafted to perfection, like the linguine with seaweed butter and yuzu, or crispy chicken with caramelized onion and orange. The restaurant also caters to vegetarians and vegans.
Their wine cellar is nothing to sneeze about either, with over 250 Italian wines curated by restaurant manager Alessandro Fè and Sommelier Lorenzo Paoli.
Over the years, Santa Elisabetta has received a number of accolades, including two Michelin Stars for 2023, “due forks” from the 2023 Italian Restaurant Guide by Gambero Rosso, and “1 Cappello” from the 2020 Gourmet Guide by L’Espresso. It’s also a Maison Recommandée Perrier-Jouët, making it one of the few places where you can enjoy a glass of this exclusive champagne.
You know what they say about some places being more of an experience than a pin on the map? That is the La Ménagère for you. It started as a household goods store back in 1896, but now has been transformed by the Manfredi family into a multi-purpose venue. Architect Claudio Nardi and entrepreneur Massimo Manfredi have redesigned it by blending modern elements with the building’s original structure.
Chef Angelo Cavaliere uses fresh, locally-sourced ingredients to make everything from breakfast pastries to gourmet dinners. For something special, we highly recommend the “Chef’s Table” which is a tailor-made dining experience for the patrons.
The cocktail bar deserves a mention too. It has its own entrance so you can just pop in for a drink. The central gallery is a feast for the eyes, filled with flowers, sweets, and whimsical fixtures. The bistro area has a large oak table, versatile enough for any meal or meeting.
You can also shop at La Ménagère. They have a cute boutique that sells all kinds of traditional Florentine crafts with a touch of contemporary design. You will find fresh flowers, fragrances, home décor accessories, books, and much more here.
That’s not all: hidden in the building’s foundations is one of the best Gentlemen’s Clubs in Tuscany. The cozy space has a billiard room, a cigar room, a private cellar, and a selection of fine spirits, all wrapped up in 1940s-inspired decor.
For those looking to grab some Instagram-worthy pictures, there is an outdoor space, an external loggia via Ginori, with a wall adorned with nothing but blooming red roses.
Osteria Santo Spirito
If you find yourself in Piazza Santo Spirito, one of Florence’s lesser-known but deeply charming squares located in the Oltrarno district, make your way to this little osteria. The inviting space and friendly staff would have you feeling like you are dining in an Italian grandma’s kitchen!
The moment you sit down, they bring out unsalted bread and richly-flavored tapenade. The tomato and mozzarella salad is a must-try, as is the Polpete Al Sugo, i.e., meatballs in a tomato sauce that has been slow-cooked with onions and carrots. If soup is more your style, go for the Minestra di Farro, a spelt bean soup that is both hearty and comforting. Their gnocchi made with truffles is another house-favorite.
And if you still have room for dessert, do not miss the Budino di Panna; it is a creamy delight that comes with a side of peach sauce. The place also has an outdoor dining area, perfect for people-watching. The prices are extremely fair, especially for the generous portions you get.
Street food is only one of the reasons why we recommend this restaurant. Osteria Santo Spirito is a stone’s throw away from some of Florence’s most iconic spots. The piazza it’s situated in, is very different from the more tourist-heavy spots in the city, and has a more authentic, local feel. It’s named after the Santo Spirito Basilica, a beautiful church designed by Brunelleschi, which overlooks the square.
The whole area is known for its artisan shops, local markets, and quite active nightlife. During the day, you might find a market selling fresh produce, antiques, or crafts, while the evenings bring live music and a lively atmosphere as locals and tourists alike fill the bars and cafes that line the square.
So for those looking to escape the throngs of tourists and get a sense of how Florentines live day-to-day, there is no better place than Osteria Santo Spirito.
No visit to Florence is complete without seeing the stunning Arno River and the iconic Ponte Vecchio bridge right in the heart of the city. And just by their side, you will find this gem. Golden View is owned and managed by a local, close-knit family and it shows in everything from the décor to the food.
Wine lovers will love the massive cellar which boasts over 600 labels and is considered one of the most extensive collections in Florence. If you can, we recommend booking the Private Cellar. Designed by architect Marta Sansoni, this 15th-century space is a quiet escape from the city buzz. Also check out their Privée Dreams apartment, complete with a balcony overlooking Ponte Vecchio, for a luxury stay.
The restaurant Florence is spread over 650 square meters and is designed to offer different spaces for different moods. You can head to the café section for a quick coffee, or the panoramic hall overlooking the Lungarno if looking for a romantic dinner.
Their seasonal afternoon snacks, full-course dinners, and breads and desserts freshly made everyday – everything is worth a try. We love the “crudo Italiano,” which is a mix of raw tuna, amberjack, swordfish, and shrimp, all topped with the finest olive oil you will ever find. Meat lovers should try the t-bone steak or duck leg with caramelized apples. They also have quite a few vegetarian options and a dessert section that will make your mouth water.
Trattoria Cibrèo (Il Cibrèino)
When you are craving a taste of authentic Tuscan food, what better place to go than the local favorite since 1999? What makes Trattoria Cibrèo, also known as “Il Cibreino”, special is Chef Fabio Picchi who is a well-recognized name in the country. He owns four places in the city, but this trattoria is very close to his heart. It is named after a famous Florentine stew, Cibreo, that Italy is famous for and even caught the attention of Catherine of Medici back in the day.
There is no pasta on the menu here, but dishes like velvety yellow bell-pepper soup and stuffed roast rabbit that will make you forget all about spaghetti. The food here is very traditional in the sense that it uses simple ingredients like celery, carrots, and onions, cooked slowly to bring out deep flavors. It’s the kind of cooking that has been passed down through generations in Fabio’s family.
The atmosphere at the trattoria is quite laid-back but classy. There is no menu in this Florence restaurant Italy; the server will tell you what is cooking for the day. And if you cannot decide between two dishes, they might just let you try both. The same goes for dessert. If you are torn between options, you might get a little of each. It’s this personal touch that keeps people coming back.
The trattoria does not take reservations, so be prepared to wait. But it will be well worth it. If you are in a rush, though, this might not be the place for you. They do tend to speed up your meal to free up tables.
Another wonderful place to get a break from the regular tourist traps is Zeb Gastronomica. This quaint spot in San Niccolò district is run by a mother-son duo, Giuseppina and Alberto. Zeb stands for “zuppa e bollito,” which means soup and boiled dishes. But do not let the name fool you; the food here will leave you licking your fingers.
Every morning, Alberto buys fresh ingredients from local suppliers, so the menu changes daily. You will find whatever is available written on a blackboard. It’s Tuscan home cooking with a twist at its best. For example, their lampredotto, a traditional Florentine dish made from cow’s stomach, is slow-cooked in a tomato-onion broth and served with a lighter version of salsa verde.
The restaurant can only house 15 guests at a time so it is very intimate. Given the limited space, you should book ahead. You sit at a central counter, like at a sushi bar, and watch the chefs work their magic. The decor is modest but charming, with a zebra-patterned countertop that inspired the restaurant’s name. Most of the dishes here make use of black or white truffles.
You may want to try the capellacci di patata e salsiccia, a pasta stuffed with mashed potatoes and sausage, served with black cabbage pesto and chopped almonds. For dessert, we recommend torta al Zeb; it’s a ricotta cake with pine nuts and sultanas.
Zeb is also an enoteca, meaning you can buy wine to take away. They offer an outstanding selection of Tuscan wines, as well as others from around Italy.
Despite the popular opinion – painted by the media – Florence has much, much more to offer than pizza and pasta. The culinary experience that awaits you here is as rich and varied as its art and history. Can you imagine dining in a centuries-old building or enjoying a glass of exclusive champagne that you won’t find anywhere else? Every nook and cranny of Florence is a hidden gem for foodies. We hope this guide helped you learn about Florence Italy’s best restaurants you didn’t know before. Feel free to share your own suggestions below!
Finally, don’t forget to check out our Italy packing list so you have all you need to get the most out of your trip.