In this blog post, I’ll be listing all the best places to dine at, in Florence.
Food can mean many things to a person; to my husband, my travel buddy, my one & only,
I’ve never met a foodie as passionate as him. When we start planning a holiday, food, restaurants, dining experiences are one of the first things he works on. He ensures his Google doc is populated with all the best (hole in the wall + snazzy) dining experiences. He’s a tad bit cuckoo about street food as well and… in his free time, he is often caught watching the ‘Street Food’ series on Netflix if not ‘Chef’s table’.
Be it any cuisine, any dish, there’s an 80% probability that he ALREADY KNOWS about it. Rajeev has a food encyclopeadia inside his head. I had THE BEST FOOD EXPERIENCE IN FLORENCE because of Rajeev !!! 😀 😀 😀
Had it not been for his countless hours of research, I would have had many moderate lunches & dinners.
All the places below are the places where the LOCALS EAT. They are not tourist spots so you will have the most endearing & authentic Italian experience.
La Giostra might seem like a hole in the wall place from the outside, a place you might pass by without realising, unless you set it up on Google Maps. This, I must admit, was one the best dining experiences of my life. Here, food is looked at as a source of bonding between heart & taste buds. The service was heart-warming, welcoming and homely. I still cannot get over how happy the server was to have us in there. From welcoming R & I with a glass of Prosecco & scrumptious antipasti (picture below) to suggesting their bestsellers, the server gave us such a happy vibe.
As proud vegetarians, our options were far from limited. Here’s what we ordered and I’d encourage you to ORDER THE SAME!!!
I must intimate you that this place is not open at all times, so you better call & reserve a table 😉
Osteria Vini E Vecchi Sapori
If you manage to find a table here, congratulations. You’ve achieved something special in life. We loved this place so much, we kept going back again and again but to either find the restaurant closed or fully booked so… reservation is compulsary! The Chef here is a cute granny who is going to make your heart melt with lip-smacking pastas, antipasti and sinful desserts. Here’s what we ordered and urge you to do the same!
P.S… When in Florence, please order pasta (instead of Pizza) because that’s what Florence is KNOWN FOR- the finest pastas in the world. As vegetarians, our options were not just good but also heartwarming & scrumptious.
Quattro Leoni is hands down the coolest spot to dine in for all the local food connoisseurs. No matter what you order here, you’d beg to kiss the chef after. Located, near Ponte Vecchio, this authentic Italian eatery will make you want to visit and revist and maybe visit one more time before leaving Florence.
It’s sinful to go to Firenze and not dine at 4 Leoni.
Rajeev & I discovered this place in one of Rick Steve’s video so we knew we had to go there. This place is as local as eating at an Italian folk’s home. Again, no matter what you order, you will love it. Make a note of this place and do pay a visit. It’s a very humble eatery where the pasta is al dente and the sauces are droolworthy.
Bon Apetito (Italian Accent Applies) 😉
A sandwich place that has a queue wait for 15-20 minutes every single day. For just 5 Euros, you will get a sandwich that can feed two people for lunch. It’s very common among locals, students and tourists alike. This is not your regular sandwich shop, it is an EXPERIENCE.
Cafe Gilli sits in the heart of Firenze since the year 1733. It’s probably THE OLDEST CAFE IN TOWN. R & I often popped by cafe Gilli for a cappuccino & cannoli. Once again, this place is a very snazzy set-up that will transport you back in time. If you find yourself at a time of the day when you’re not quite sure what to eat, pop by Gilli where your options are countless and jaw-dropping.
The first floor of Mercato Centrale is populated with a multitude of restauants, cafes, wine bars, dessert shops, etc. Rajeev & I had made brekkie at Mercato Centrale a ritual of sorts. We ordered a cappuccino with dessert on some days and cheese truffle plate on others. Once you step into this level of Mercato Centrale, you will find yourself wanting to enter food coma with the plethora of options available 😉
How can one go to Italy & not have a gelato? Even in freezing cold, my dear husband found sneaky ways to convince me to enter gelato stores to grab a “small cup” 😉
La dolce vita!!!