A GUIDE TO WINING & DINING IN FLORENCE
OK, folks, I’m making no apologies for this post because this is the wining and dining guide to the Renaissance city of Florence you’ve all been waiting for, right?
Whether its fine dining, coffee culture, bars, the popular constitution of Florentine aperitivo, casual grab and go or a romantic al fresco set-up, I’ve got you covered. Your Florence foodie experience awaits for your perusal and it’s sure to tantalise even the most cautious of taste buds. By one caveat, there’ll be no gelato on the cards! Come on guys, you know I’m not a fan!!! Sorry Florence, you know I love you but not enough to eat gelato!!
1. CAFÉ DEGLI ARTIGIANI
This little café is tucked away behind the Piazza della Passera in Santo Spirito and serves some great coffee, cakes, aperitivos and other sweet treats. As the name suggests it was a place for craftsman to stop by and grab a quick coffee and chat not much has changed since 1945 as it still very much has that vibe. They also serve sandwiches and salads and let me just add, the toilet is a stand up one, hole in the ground-just so there’s no nasty surprises!
Via dello Sprone, 16r, 50125 Florence
2. LA DROGHERIA
Typically a bar and grill possessing much vintage soul, was born from the recovery of an old business. Beautiful furnishings with a great team of dynamic staff deliver a full evening experience from start to finish with recipes created from experimental cooking much like the blending of spices, as the name may elude to.
Personally I grabbed a quick Espresso here but will be back for dinner as I’ve seen they have some interesting vegetarian options too.
Largo Pietro Annigoni, 22, 50122 Florence. Tel. +39 055 247 8869 Website
3. CAFFÈ GILLI
Gilli is the oldest café in the city of Florence. Established over 270 years ago by a Swiss family in Medici-era Florence, steps away from the Duomo. Caffè Gilli started out as a pastry shop and became known around the world for its artisanal sweets. The prestigious Caffè Gilli restaurant offers seasonal menus highlighting the best of Tuscan and Italian culinary traditions, enriched with a careful selection of wine.
Via Roma, 1r, 50123 Florence. Tel. +39 055 213896 Website
4. CAFFÈ DEL VERONE
Caffè del Verone is the cafeteria on the top of the Istituto degli Innocenti museum in piazza Santissima Annunziata. Verone means balcony. This was the place where they would hang the clothes back when the Istituto was still a orphanage.
I went during the day for coffee but I hear it has a beautifully special atmosphere in the evening too. The café itself is housed in a glass window structure at the top of the museum and the terrace reveals stunning views of the terracotta rooftops and the Duomo stands majestic from this position.
Museo degli Innocenti, Piazza della Santissima. Annunziata, 13, 50121 Florence.Tel. +39 350 097 0302
5. CAFFÈ LA TERRAZZA DE RINASCENTE
If you take the lift as far as it will go up in the department store Rinascente then take the stairs up to the sixth floor, you will arrive at the Terraza de Rinascente. Ok so it’s a litte over-priced but the views of the Duomo are phenomenal from this spot as well as a birdseye vista of Piazza delle Repubblica at the opposite end. Grab a hot chocolate, indulge in the extra cream and take in the rooftop experience.
Piazza della Repubblica, 4, 50123 Florence
6. LIBRERIA CAFÉ LA CITÉ
Located in San Frediano, this was one of my favourite bookshops with great Espresso to match. Quirky and fun with deliberately mismatched furniture and a piano, this place is great to relax with a good book and even an alcoholic beverage should you desire. All books are in Italian-just to note!
Borgo San Frediano, 20/r, 50124 Florence. Tel. +39 055 210387 Website
7. SOTTARNO COMMESTIBILI
A lovely cute café adjoining SoprArno Suites is this little space serving pastries and a great variety of coffee and drinks. Think cute French bistrot styling with the owner’s collection of world menus on the walls. Very Kitsch.
Via Maggio, 35, 50125 Florence. Tel. +39 055 046 8719
8. LA MÉNAGÈRE
A truly beautiful café, restaurant and bar, grab a comfy sofa or a bar seat and enjoy one of their speciality coffees or even an alcoholic beverage. This is quite a unique space as it’s a combination of dining establishment with a floral outlet as well as an interiors store. You have to visit to see for yourself!
Via de’ Ginori, 8/R, 50123 Florence. Tel. +39 055 075 0600 Website
9. DITTA ARTIGIANALE
This place has two locations, one in Oltrano and another in Santa Croce (which is where we headed) Ditta Artigianale was introduced to me by my Florentine friend, Lucrezia and we’ve enjoyed a very good Espresso here. They have their own micro-roastery and also serve a delicious array of snacks. Also a great place to take your laptop, or meet friends in a relaxing industrial environment. They also serve a small selection of aperitivios.
Via dei Neri, 30/32 R, 50122 Florence Website
1. LA BOTTEGA DEL BUON CAFFÉ
A Michelin starred restaurant situated overlooking the San Niccolò Tower at the foot of the Arno. Chef Erez and his team cook up a storm in the open kitchen and the theme is very much farm (they have a hotel and farm in near Siena) to kitchen.
Read more about La Bottega del Buon caffe in my review below:
Lungarno Benvenuto Cellini, 69R, 50125 Florence, Tel. +39 055 553 5677 Website
2. IL LOCALE
This is most definitely a special occasion place. Think contemporary cuisine fused with medici palatial interiors and service to match. The food is inventive and the venue utterly beautiful in every way. Dimly lit and private dining spaces that serve some of the most stunningly presented dishes I’ve seen accompanied by a fabulous wine list and cocktail selection.
Read more about il Locale below:
Via delle Seggiole, 12r/red, 50122 Florece. Tel. +39 055 906 7188 Website
3. Il BARRETTO
Il Barretto, originally the first Harry’s Bar of Florence, has maintained its intriguing and seductive atmosphere of the sixties. Located in the heart of Florence, just a few steps from the Ponte Vecchio, it is a Restaurant cherished for its refined and discrete ambience and for its flavorful and thoughtful cuisine. The food is quite classical and the atmosphere definitely very romantic.
You can read a little about Il Barretto in my fine dining food review below:
Il Barretto Via del Parione, 50, 50123 Florence, Tel. +39 055 294122 Website
4. ORA D’ARIA
The one Michelin Star Ora D’aria is situated between the Loggia dei Lanzi and the Ponte Vecchio and refers to the ‘hour of air’ prisoners in the former prison opposite the restaurant were given.
Head chef Marco Stabile has a reputation for exciting, contemporary food that reimagines many of Tuscany’s classic dishes. The menu is modern, the surroundings are minimalistic and they do a separate Vegetarian Taster menu.
Via dei Georgofili, 11R, 50100 Florence. Website
Think rustic but industrial decor, exposed brick point, a focal point of a bar and romance bought to you by means of fairy lights! Konnubio aims to deliver traditional Tuscan dishes and a fantastic level of service all headed by Chef Beatrice Segoni. The restaurant has also been nominated in fine dining food awards and it’s apparent to see why. A fantastic restaurant and wine bar if you fancy quite a special evening out.
Via dei Conti, 8r, 50123 Florence. Website
FANCY BUT MORE CASUAL DINING
Vegetarians, vegans and book lovers look no further. This is the sister restaurant to Santarosa, which you’ll be reading about shortly and is a book shop come restaurant.
It’s tucked away behind the Hotel Balestri and combines an indoor restaurant with outdoor space with counter style bar dining at the front of the restaurant. Sweet fairy lights add to the atmosphere and for book lovers like myself it’s an utter Aladdin’s cave but the food has got to be the main star of the show. It speaks volumes when I say you HAVE to book as the food is incredible. Baked dishes are a speciality and trust me when I say it’s one of the best veggie places I’ve tried in Italy, period!!
Via dei Vagellai, 18/R, 50122 Florence. Tel. +39 055 094 4877 Website
2. BISTROT CAFÉ 1926
Away from the outskirts of the tourist spots, lies this cute French come Italian Bistrot, serving delicious cuisine, desserts and wait for it….over 500 types of Rum! If you like and know your rum this place will no doubt hit the spot for you! They even have live entertainment in the evenings but we dropped by for lunch and yep as predicted they serve a good pasta, soup and plenty of good quality vino! Oh and I hear their Tiramisu is pretty good to.
Via Giovan Battista Niccolini, 30/R, 50121 Florence. Tel. +39 055 234 6296 Website
3. CIBRÈO CAFÉ
One of the four family founded and owned Cibreo eating establishments, I love the laid back café style of this restaurant. Grab a table outside, of course weather permitting and spend a late afternoon tucking into one of their set lunchtime menus.
Great wine and fresh local traditional Tuscan cuisine with the added location of being right next to Sant’ Ambrogio market, it’s a great place to people watch. Gaze at locals going about their everyday business as you indulge in some of the fresh produce.
Via Andrea del Verrocchio, 5R, 50122. Florence. Tel. +39 055 234 5853 Website
4. SANTAROSA BISTROT
If you’re a lover of urban al fresco dining, you’ve found your place at Santarosa Bistrot. Outdoor and indoor dining with a great selection of drinks and a fab lunch, dinner and evening drinks menu, there’s literally something for everyone here, including great coffee in that mix!
Seating is casual and relaxed and the vibe is very much chilled and the food well, the photos probably just speak for themselves.
I would totally recommend the hazelnut tiramisu.
Lungarno di Santa Rosa, 50142 Florence. Tel. +39 055 230 9057 Website
Via Maggio, 46r, 50125 Florence. Tel, +39 055 285068
5. IL PARIONE
Located a few steps away from the Ponte Vecchio, is this traditional Tuscan Trattoria style restaurant owned by the lovely Giovanni. The open kitchen unfinished terracotta walls and quirky atmosphere inside it is definitely a draw for tourists as well as locals. The food is hearty and comforting with a fine selection of Chianti wines!
Via del Parione, 74/76 r, 50123 Florence. Tel. +39 055 214005 Website
6. LA MÉNAGÈRE
If you’re an instagram fiend then this place seriously will fit the aesthetics for you. A restaurant, bar, private dining space, florist and home interiors all in one makes for quite a bust but quirky Uber stylish environment.
Via de’ Ginori, 8/R, 50123 Florence. Website
1. GUSTA PIZZA
This hole in the wall pizza serves up the most authentic Tuscan pizza I’ve had for a fraction of the price of restaurants. The queues wrap round the street and that was all the convincing I needed to grab one of their small selection of pizzas. We took the pizzas back to our hotel and cracked open a bottle of red. And the rest as they say is history!
2. TRATTORIA LA CASALINGA
Just off Santa Spirito Squares lies what is probably one of my all time favourite dining. It’s most definitely a hangout for locals and tourists alike and is populat for its traditional Italian home cooking style of Tuscany. The portions are large and the prices are reasonable. Plus the staff are super friendly and make you feel totally at home, you’ll feel nonna will be coming out soon!!
The Ravioli and tomato sauce maybe simple but utterly delicious as are the profiteroles.
Via dei Michelozzi, 9/R, 50125 Florence Website
3. OSTERIA NUVOLI
A fab place for lunch, Aperitivo or even small and simple plates. Full of locals and a fantastic vibe during the day and evenings, the food is traditional local and trust me, they can rustle up anything with little waste. That’s just the Tuscan way. The other is super friendly. We can across it through a food tour we did with Florence & Chianti.
Piazza dell’Olio, 15, 50123 Florence Tel +39 055 239 6616
1. IL LOCALE
One of the most memorable cocktail experiences I’ve ever had has got to be at il Locale. Not only is it THE most beautiful bars I’ve ever set my eyes on but the bar tenders are ON POINT! Seriously, you say what the palette desires and they mix the alcohol and flavours! THE best Espresso Martini I’ve had in Florence, period!
Via delle Seggiole, 12/red, 50122 Florence. Tel. +39 055 906 7188 Website
2. LE VOLPI E L’UVA
A definite favourite of the locals in Oltrarno is this small wine bar tucked in a small square off the main road to the Pitti palace. Booking is recommended to avoid disappointment. They even do wine tasting but we were here for aperitivo and opted for a couple of glasses of red with a cheese and ham board. There’s a lovely bustling atmosphere in the square and the wines are equisite.
Piazza dei Rossi, 1. Florence 50125 Tel. +39 055 2398132. Website
3. SERRE TORRIGIANI IN PIAZZETTA
A new garden has blossomed in the historic center of Florence, thanks to the passion and care of Serre Torrigiani. A garden refuge where it’s possible to relax completely in a magical atmosphere. What I can only describe as a small oasis in the hustle and bustle of the historic centre featuring an urban garden, street food, art installations and live music.
Piazza dei Tre Re, 1, 50123 Florence. Tel. +39 328 966 6268 Website
4. SOUL KITCHEN
When it comes to aperitivos and you love your cocktails, I have to say for value for money as well as delicious concoctions, Soul Kitchen have you covered! I mean, don’t these names just sounds like something you want to drink? The Mezcal Gingerita and Chilicano?!! Also they serve small plates if you’re interested in a pre-dinner snack or just a light dinner.
Via de’ Benci, 34R, 50122 Florence Website
Procacci has been serving Tartufo since 1885, and boy is. this truffle cafe, a treat. They also serve drinks and cake but it’s definitely the truffles you need to go for. They are spread onto quaint finger sandwiches and are served with a glass of fizz. It’s probably the most expensive cafe snack I’ve ever had but probably the most decadent!
Via de’ Tornabuoni, 64R, 50123 Florence Website
There you have it, if you’re off to Florence then these are my foodie recommendations. Let me have some of yours in the comments below. Remember to check back as I’ll be adding a few more in a couple of months!