Being one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and one of Italy’s favorite cities, Florence is never short on delicious and new restaurants. The “best restaurant” lists change frequently and Florentines each have their own favorite spots! To cut through all the lists and endless research on Florence eats, here are my favorites based on a recent visit!
Best Coffee – News Cafe
In a city (and country) filled with outstanding coffee, my favorite Florence coffee shop for tourists is hands down the News Cafe. Located in the Santa Maria de Novella neighborhood, News Cafe not only makes delicious coffee, but does amazing coffee art at no extra charge! I am sure coffee aficionados will disagree with me, but for tourists, the Florence -inspired coffee art really takes the cake!
And as an alternative, try the espresso beverages that are complimentary during breakfast at most hotels. Espresso beverages were free at our hotel, Residenzia Castiglioni, during breakfast hours and the hotel even did its own bit of coffee art!
Best Lunch for a Crowd – Mercado Centrale
Traveling with a large group, or a small group with varying tastes? My favorite option for you is the Mercado Centrale in San Lorenzo. A typical market on the first floor, selling food items that you will not find in the US, the second floor is an upscale food market selling all sorts of delicious Italian foods! From sandwiches, to pizza, to meats and cheese, to wine, to dessert, the Mercado Centrale has it all! This is definitely a winner for big crowds with differing tastes! I had the below eggplant pizza and chocolate and pistachio cannoli and both were amazing!
Trendiest Dinner – La Ménagère.
In a city of ever-opening restaurants, la Ménagère has held a spot as one of Florence’s trendiest restaurants since it opened in 2015. Part flower shop, part coffee shop, part Anthropologie/Restoration Hardware home shop and part fancy dinner restaurant, la Ménagère is a really interest concept. We booked a table for six people months in advance and were rewarded with seats at the chef’s table in the kitchen! The menu is a trendy take on Italian classics, and everything was delicious. If you are looking for a trendy yet nice restaurant, definitely check out la Ménagère.
Best Fat Italian Meal – Trattoria Sostanza.
You really cannot go to Italy without having at least one meal of fat and carb overload, and Trattoria Sostanza is a great place to tick off this meal! Trattoria Sostanza is a long-standing classic on the Florence restaurant scene. Having only a handful of tables and two dinner seatings, Trattoria Sostanza is certainly traditional although it is rather popular on the tourist circuit. The menu at Trattoria Sostanza is small and contains a lot of butter. and pasta. For example:
The most famous dish as Trattoria Sostanza is the below buttered chicken (see the butter theme?). Its REALLY delicious, but so much food! If you decide to eat at Trattoria Sostanza, be sure to call in advance (at least a week) for a reservation! You will not be able to walk in and get a table.
Best Craft Beer Bar – Brew Dogs Firenze.
Italian craft beer snobs would probably disagree with me, but this American beer snob votes Brew Dogs Firenze as Florence’s best beer bar! Brew Dogs is an excellent Scottish brewery with locations all over the world. Like the other Brew Dogs locations that I have visited, Brew Dogs Frienze had a great selection of Brew Dogs beers, Italian beers AND beers by one of my favorite (Swedish) breweries, Omnipolo!
STEAL OUR TRIP
News Cafe: Via del Giglio, 59, 50123 Firenze, Italy. T: 39 055 265 4310. Small cafe selling coffee beverages, snacks, aperitivo, and lunch. Reservations definitely not required. Ask for Florence-inspired cappuccino art (no extra cost).
Residenza Castiglioni: Via del Giglio, 8, Florence, Italy. T. 39 055 2396013. E: firstname.lastname@example.org. Great, safe location in the heart of Florence. Decent breakfast provided every morning. Definitely make reservations ahead of time, as Residenza Castiglioniare only has a few rooms.
Mercado Centrale: Via dell’Ariento, 50123 Firenze, Italy. T. 39 055 239 9798. Open daily 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m. Reservations not necessary.
La Ménagère: Via de’ Ginori, 8, 50123 Firenze, Italy. T: 39 055 075 0600. Open daily 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m. As mentioned above, La Ménagère is part coffee shop, part florist, part store, part bar and part fancy dinner restaurant. If you plan to have dinner, you can and should make reservations via the fork.it.
Trattoria Sostanza: Via del Porcellana, 25/R, 50123 Firenze, Italy. T. 39 055 212691. Open Monday – Friday 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 – 11:00 p.m. No website. Two seatings nightly and one at lunch. You MUST call in advance (weeks in advance in busy season) to reserve a table.
Brew Dogs Firenze: Via Faenza, 21/R, 50123 Firenze, Italy. T. 39 055 217035. Open daily 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. Reservations not necessary. Limited bar food served.
ON A BUDGET
Florence is a fabulous city for budget eating. Home to a university and lots of students, lots of places offer student discounts, so definitely bring your ISIC card to take advantage of the discounts. Since there is a large student population and travelers from every corner of the world, there are restaurants for all budges in Florence. In terms of my recommended places, the Mercado Centrale and the News Cafe are both delicious and budget friendly.