Florence is not only Santa Maria Novella, Palazzo della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio, Palazzo Pitti and the other wonderful monuments that this city offers to visitors. Among its beauties we can also include its cuisine, made of flavors, simple ingredients and a long tradition, such as the renowned Florentine steak, or the ribollita and pappa al pomodoro, just to name a few.
In Florence we find luxury restaurants housed in ancient buildings, where, among excellent wines, it is possible to savor the rich Tuscan gastronomy. Below is a selection dedicated to the best restaurants in Florence, symbols of the city’s culinary excellence and beyond.
Lungarno Acciaiuoli, 2P – Florence. https://www.lungarnocollection.com/caffe-dell-oro/
Caffè dell’Oro is a bistro restaurant of the “Lungarno Collection” hotel chain and boasts a superb view of the Ponte Vecchio. One of the strong points is in fact certainly its privileged position. The environment is elegant and welcoming at the same time, but also a little vintage as it is furnished in a 1950s style and with soft lighting. The indoor dining room has 35 seats, while the outdoor dehor has 21 seats. The kitchen offers a menu rich in traditional flavors and tasty combinations, with quality ingredients, choosing fresh products linked to the territory every day to prepare the dishes of the day. Alongside typical dishes such as pappa al pomodoro and pasta and beans, there are more daring recipes, such as ravioli stuffed with parmesan and with chicken ramen broth and Kombu seaweed. Among the desserts, the strong point is the tiramisu revisited in the Tuscan style, that is with cantucci and Vinsanto. A selection of typically Italian dishes are then flanked by international proposals. Here you can also come for a breakfast, brunch or an aperitif.
Winter Garden (The St. Regis Florence)
Piazza Ognissanti, 1 – Florence. www.wintergardenflorence.com/it/
Gourmet dinners are served in the elegant atmosphere of the Winter Garden of the famous St. Regis Florence hotel, in Art Deco style. In the kitchen we have the Chef Gentian Shehi who combines the Tuscan culinary tradition with personalized service in the heart of Florence. At the Winter Garden restaurant, traditional land and sea dishes are revisited in a modern and creative way and are accompanied by a long list of fine wines (with more than 300 labels). The culinary offer is based on seasonality and local products. The menu offers sophisticated dishes with attention to detail, able to satisfy the curiosity and taste of even the most demanding palates. The Wine List marries and enhances the dishes presented with the most prestigious labels of Tuscany and the great national and international wines. It also offers around 40 types of champagne. The Winter Garden Restaurant was also awarded among the best Italian restaurants.
Atelier de’ Nerli
Piazza de’ Nerli, 9R – Florence. www.atelierdenerli.it
Here, chef Daniele Cavalli has created a bistro with the soul of a gallery in San Frediano district, a curious and welcoming mix of a restaurant, an art gallery and an artisan shop. Alongside a quality cuisine of clear Tuscan tradition, the Atelier de ‘Nerli is in fact also a place of art thanks to the works of painters, photographers and sculptors that are housed and for sale in the restaurant. As for the menu, among the first courses we point out the spaghetti with raw artichoke and the risotto with courgette flowers, saffron and prawns. Among the main courses: the scallops browned in butter with artichokes sauteed with chilli and parsley, or the fillet with three peppers with Worcester cream and Dijon mustard, or the omelettes with avocado, prawns and parsley. And again the baked potato with sweet and sour onion, hard-boiled egg and sour cream, combined with caviar. Last but not least the panna cotta with rosemary and the creme brulèe with saffron pistils.
Piazza degli Antinori, 3 – Florence. www.cantinetta-antinori.com
Since 1957 Cantinetta Antinori has been one of the most renowned restaurants in Florence. It is located on the ground floor of Palazzo Antinori, one of the finest examples of Florentine architecture of the mid-fifteenth century, in the historic centre of the city. In an elegant and discreet environment it is possible to savor specialties of Tuscan cuisine and to taste a wide selection of wines of own production. Cantinetta Antinori’s cuisine researches and selects raw materials, favoring seasonal and local products, mostly coming from the Tuscan territory. The menu consists of classic Tuscan dishes, which vary according to the seasonality of the food. To taste the “cecina” with squid and prawns, the veal ossobuco in Florentine style and the pappardelle with Tuscan ragù. And again: the onion soup au gratin, the seared prawns with raw artichoke salad, the roast loin of veal with potatoes. It ends with an enveloping pear cake with mascarpone cream.
Via Pisana, 37/R – Florence. www.fuordacqua.it
The restaurant, located a few steps from the San Frediano gate, was born in an old carriage depot, renovated respecting the original features of Tuscan architecture. Its specialty is fish while the restaurant is refined, with softly colored furnishings and a winter garden. Characteristic of the restaurant, the choice to serve only the catch of the day from Viareggio market: freshness guaranteed in this undisputed reference point for seafood. Recipes simple or elaborated according to tradition, such as lobster in Catalana style, paccheri alla Trabaccolara and appetizers, raw or hot, which are one of the specialties together with the great raw fish dishes. And again: mixed grilled shellfish and local fish made in salt or steamed. Spaghetti with lobster are also excellent. The desserts are strictly homemade. All accompanied by a wine list where you can choose from around 250 labels.
Via del Verrocchio, 8R – Florence. www.cibreo.com
The Cibreo was born in 1979 in Santa Croce district from an idea of the chef Fabio Picchi. Today it is one of the best known and most successful Florentine restaurants. The room is elegant, almost a private sitting room. Here the fish comes from the Tuscan sea, vegetables from the farmers’ gardens in the province of Florence, cheeses from local shepherds, oregano from Pantelleria, lemons from Sicily, pasta from Puglia and so on. The cuisine of the Cibreo is therefore a refined melting pot of flavors and aromas from all over Italy and offers a revisited traditional, typical Tuscan cuisine. The varied and inviting menu then follows the rhythm of the seasons and is linked to tradition. To taste the yellow pepper sauce, the cod, the potato pie with meat sauce and the famous “ribollita”. To finish the delicious cheesecake with bitter orange marmalade. The cuisine and atmosphere of the Cibreo can also be found in the adjacent “Teatro del Sale”, a grocery store, where high quality culinary products are sold.
Se-Sto on Arno
Piazza Ognissanti, 3 – Florence. www.sestoonarno.com
Located on the sixth floor of The Westin Excelsior hotel, it offers one of the most beautiful panoramic views of the city, overlooking the Arno River, right in front of the cathedral. Enclosed by a glass structure with a contemporary style, Se-Sto on Arno, in addition to boasting a spectacular panorama, offers exceptional Mediterranean cuisine. The menu is curated by Chef Marco Migliorati and offers dishes of the Mediterranean gastronomic tradition using only fresh and seasonal products, accompanied by a wine list that offers the best selection of the great Italian and international labels. Among the exclusive dishes on the menu stand out: tagliatella with rabbit and rosemary, cream of leeks and black truffle, braised pork cheek and soft polenta. The crab, served in the centre of its shell with green apple, white turnips, fresh coriander and yogurt foam is creamy and good. The bar is also a meeting point for Florentines and visitors.
Marina di Santo Spirito
Via Maffia, 1C – Florence. www.marinadisantospirito.it
This is a family-run seafood restaurant, in the heart of Oltrarno area, with an eclectic setting and with live music. Born in an old carpentry shop in the historic centre of Florence, in the Santo Spirito district, it is an original restaurant with a 14th-century stone floor, leather sofas and chairs and with a small stage for live music, especially in weekends. The atmosphere is welcoming and inviting. On the menu you will find excellent fish proposals (with only the catch of the day) and traditional Tuscan dishes (with attention also to the needs of modern customers, that is vegetarians, vegans and celiacs). The kitchen offers a tasting of many courses, including raw seafood, with a taste of squid and zucchini, followed by carpaccio of fish with artichokes and pomegranate, cuttlefish on white corn flour and raw dish with oysters, truffles of sea, sea cicadas and red shrimps. Do not miss the spaghetti with garlic, oil and raw red prawns and the spaghetti with cheese, pepper and sea urchins.
Four Seasons Hotel Firenze – Borgo Pinti, 99 Florence.www.ilpalagioristorante.it
The restaurant has one Michelin star and is housed in the Four Seasons Hotel Firenze, in the splendid setting of the Gherardesca Palace, overlooking the homonymous garden. The cuisine is Italian and regional, enriched with a touch of modernity by Chef Vito Mollica. His menu is balanced between land and sea proposals; it is also possible to opt for the tasting menu, which skilfully manages to mix meat and fish for a sophisticated and equally greedy result. Among the dishes not to be missed, Cavatelli with cheese and pepper with red prawns and squid, the pigeon with Vin Santo cooked in a bladder and caramelized fruit. The wines offered are about five hundred, selected by the best Italian and international producers. An ideal place for a dinner or a special occasion, or even just during the weekend for a Sunday brunch, where you can taste the delicacy of the proposals at the buffet.
La Leggenda dei Frati
Costa San Giorgio, 6/A – Florence. www.laleggendadeifrati.it
Inside the former stables of Villa Bardini, in a refined setting from which you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views of the city thanks to the outdoor spaces of the terrace, there is a cuisine that is both innovative and linked to the gastronomic culture of the area. A cuisine that combines food with art. The chef is Filippo Saporito, together with his wife, chef Ombretta Giovannini. The menu is Tuscan but revisited in an artistic way. The villa is also a space dedicated to modern and contemporary art. In addition to temporary exhibitions, Villa Bardini hosts a Museum dedicated to the great Milanese painter Pietro Annigoni. The environment is welcoming and comfortable and the restaurant with its terraces and its splendid outdoor garden is ideal for any type of event. Among the dishes: biscuit with black pepper and pumpkin; fried tomato porridge; beetroot carpaccio with puffed capers, vegan mayonnaise, pear, mustard and citronette; Mazara red shrimp with potato mousse, hazelnuts, candied lemon and salmon roe.
Via Dei Georgofili, 11/R – Florence. www.oradariaristorante.com
The restaurant is located in Via dei Georgofili, between Ponte Vecchio and the Uffizi, a stone’s throw from Piazza della Signoria. At lunch there is a more informal mise en place than in the evening. Here Chef Marco Stabile surprises, dish after dish. Symbol of Florentine haute cuisine, it has two tasting menus and an à la carte choice, where we find risotto with guinea fowl, roasted pigeon with apple and chicory and venison steak; tortelli with tomato porridge, pepper and eggplant sauce. And again: Certaldo onion cream with caramelized onion,Vinsanto and buratta; spaghetti with Valdarno chicken ragù and spices; roasted rabbit, bread and carrots; green tagliolini with squid; spicy octopus, potato cream, pesto sorbet; selection of Italian cheeses. And for dessert, ricotta pudding with prickly pear sauce, pistachio biscuit and oregano.
Piazza della Signoria, 10 – Florence. www.gucci.com/int/en/store/osteria-bottura
In the spaces of Gucci Garden, an eclectic palace in Piazza della Signoria, kingdom of the famous brand of Florentine origins and a stone’s throw from Michelangelo’s David, we find the cuisine of Mexican chef Karime Lopez, one Michelin star, pupil of the well-known chef Massimo Bottura. This restaurant is among the best in Italy. You can eat in the dining room or in the large outdoor area from which you can enjoy the view of Palazzo Vecchio. It is possible to choose between two tasting menus or you can opt for the à la carte menu. On the menu we find the Mexican purple corn Tostada, the Japanese Taka Bun, rhubarb granita, linguine with capers and clams. And again, the Emilia Burger, scallop with carrot and potato juice, tomato soup, roast chicken with basil and pistachio pesto. And for dessert: peach and rosemary. Note on the bread, especially the very crunchy breadsticks (“grissini”).
La Bottega del Buon Caffè
Lungarno Benvenuto Cellini, 69R – Florence. www.borgointhecity.com
The restaurant, which has one Michelin star, serves tasty and well presented dishes in a relaxing atmosphere, produced with the best 0 km ingredients. The interior of the restaurant harmoniously combines the finest elements of classic and contemporary design. Exposed bricks and natural stone are complemented by comfortable furnishings, original works of art and huge chandeliers. The restaurant offers an innovative gastronomic experience called ‘Garden to taste’ with which customers can savor the freshest ingredients grown in the restaurant’s gardens. So the menu follows the rhythms of the seasons. Each dish is a celebration of simplicity with fresh and delicious food. The restaurant also offers a private dining room, located within the large cellar, which allows the customer to enjoy excellent wines in a comfortable and intimate setting.
Santa Elisabetta – Hotel Brunelleschi
Piazza Santa Elisabetta, 3 – Florence. www.hotelbrunelleschi.it/ristorante-santa-elisabetta/
The Santa Elisabetta, the elegant gourmet restaurant inside the Brunelleschi Hotel, offers revisited Tuscan recipes. The restaurant, which has one Michelin star, is led by chef Rocco de Santis and in his menu we find dishes such as: natural oyster and beurre blanc sauce; marinated anchovy, olive oil, horseradish sauce; goat cream puffs with beef and black truffle; raw red shrimp, sweet and sour panzanella, caviar and Nocellara olive soup; calamari, prawns and cuttlefish boiled together with steamed and shelled mussels and clams. And zucchini, red peppers, cherry tomatoes and julienne celery. And again: linguine with seaweed butter, bergamot, sea urchins and bottarga; pigeon breast and leg, green pepper, black cherries and artichokes. And as a dessert? Babà, mango passion fruit, lemongrass sorbet.
Via Ghibellina, 87 – Florence. www.enotecapinchiorri.com
This restaurant, inside Jacometti-Ciofi Palace, in the historic centre of Florence, is the temple of taste and it has three Michelin stars. It is a member of the prestigious Relais & Châteaux chain too. The chef is Giorgio Pinchiorri. The restaurant is elegant, where contemporary design furnishings and 19th century paintings coexist in harmony. The dining rooms are small with polished parquet floors and a profusion of flowers. The small dining room on the main floor has a wrought iron railing. There is also an internal garden, which is beautifully laid out during the summer. The menu is creative and with revisited Tuscan dishes: roasted cabbage ravioli, with caviar and smoked herring milk; the anchovy sandwich, rocket extract, pickled vegetables with alpine butter; caramelized onion ice cream and toasted corn ice cream. The cellar, among the first in the world, is characterized by two wine lists, Italian and international, for a total of over 4000 labels.