A Toast to Travel Recommendations:
Where to Eat in Florence, Italy
Many different reviews of so many different restaurants have been written about one of the best cities in the world—Florence! With so much to see in and do in this beautiful city during your Italy tours, it’s amazing one finds time to eat but eventually, we all do. Travelling to and living in Florence for many years, we’ve seen restaurants come and go but there are some that we will never forget. We always recommend living like a local and eating where the locals eat. Unfortunately, Florence has many tourist traps where the food is subpar and the prices are high. Here are a few of our restaurant recommendations where you can eat like a local and enjoy la dolce vita!
Centrally located but on a side, quiet street, here you’ll find great food and great service. The restaurant is divided into two different rooms with the open kitchen in the middle. As a matter of fact, when you walk in, you can greet the cooks! The pasta is wonderfully fresh and the bistecca alla Fiorentina one of the best. The wine selection is really good too—try a Brunello di Montalcino with your steak.
2. Le Fonticine
Near the central market, this is by far one of my favorite restaurants in Florence. You’re greeted by one of the great staff (many of whom have worked there for a very long time) as family. Most of the time, you’re also greeted with a complimentary glass of Prosecco to begin your experience. The pasta selection is all fresh and delicious—try the pasta with the wild boar sauce. As for your entrée, Le Fonticine is one of the few remaining restaurants in Florence with the wood burning oven as it was grandfathered in when the law changed. This oven further perfects the taste and texture of the bistecca alla Fiorentina. When dining at Le Fonticine, you must order the bistecca or share with others you are dining with. There are many fresh desserts to choose from or try some grappa.
Near the center, Alessi is a hidden gem. Although Alessi is a wine bar and retail shop, the food is so good and fresh that it definitely is on our list. You can order a variety of fresh cold cuts, meats, and cheeses to go with your chosen wine or wine flight. You can also order off menu. I usually order a delicious fresh made salad with tuna, olives, beans, lettuce, tomatoes and more. Equally delicious is the freshly made varieties of bruschetta to get you started. All fresh and fantastic!
4. 4 Leoni
In old Florence on the other side of the river, 4 Leoni is very well known and I highly recommend reservations. The ambiance is warm and the service is good. The restaurant can become quite loud during peak times but all is worth it once you try the food! They have an array of delicious pastas and starters (try the Bresaola or Artichokes), mains and desserts. Desserts are a must here including chocolate, pear and apple desserts. Or simply enjoy cantuccini di Prato to dip into your vin santo.
In the historic center not far from the San Lorenzo market, you’ll find Cipolla Rossa. The pasta is very good, fresh and made in house. I highly recommend the gnocchi. There’s plenty of space in the restaurant if you need it for your group. I find the staff friendly and the house Chianti delicious. Buon Appetito!