Best Restaurants of Florence: From Casual Meals to Formal Dining

By: Genevieve Mc Carthy / Last updated: April 8, 2024

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

If your priorities while on vacation are great food and even better wine, welcome to paradise! Tuscany’s proud capital has long been one of Italy’s most exciting food destinations, and the local philosophy of using only fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients remains unchanged today. That is not to say, however, that more refined and modern interpretations of Tuscan cuisine aren’t available; Florence is a city that now enthralls with both inventive, avant-garde cooking and tried and tested Florentine dishes. Game and meat dishes are the two major highlights, although plenty of divine pasta dishes and more unusual combinations can be found.

Best Restaurants in Florence

Indeed, since the cultural reawakening of the Renaissance in the 15th century, when Florence was the cultural heart of Europe, the city has fostered a love of the finer things in life: great art, culture, fashion, food, and, of course, wine. The Tuscan region is enjoying a food heyday, now boasting over 24 Michelin-starred restaurants, cementing its status as a significant culinary hot spot.

But like all major tourist destinations, Florence has its fair share of expensive disappointments. Visitors sometimes complain that they have dropped over 70 euros a head and have experienced indifferent food and service,  wondering why they are bothered. Florence is a city that demands insider knowledge regarding dining out. Research and recommendations are invaluable, so we have compiled our list of the best restaurants in Florence below. Buon appetito!


Cibreo Restaurant

Cibreo is the destination for authentic, delicious local cuisine lovingly prepared by owner and head chef Fabio Picchi. This traditional yet thoroughly 21st-century restaurant has long attracted a faithful clientèle, trading on its reputation for great food and top-notch, professional service. Luminaries such as Woody Allen have been spotted at Cibreo, which has a sister bar and trattoria. Picchi hunts for the finest local produce from the Sant’Ambrogio farmer’s market, creating treats such as rabbit, roasted pigeon stuffed with fruit mustard, calamari, and spinach stew, not to mention the best chocolate cake in Italy. Service is faultless and engaging without overbearing, and the setting is elegant. Open daily for lunch and dinner, Cibreo is a must-visit restaurant during your Tuscan adventure.

Via Andrea del Verrocchio, 8, Florence

Price: Mid-range


Restaurant Pinchiorri

According to many a discerning foodie and critic, this is Italy’s best restaurant and, judging by the excellent, inventive cuisine being prepared at this icon of modern Tuscan cooking with French overtones, we’d have to agree. Pinchorri also boasts the most incredible wine cellar in Italy, containing over 120,000 bottles, from local wines to the finest vintages of Latour and Lafite. The restaurant was initially conceived as a collaboration between current head chef Annie Féold and Sommelier Georgio Pinchiorri. They would prepare dishes to complement Pinchiorri’s wine offerings at the National Wine Cellar. Since 1972, this dynamic duo has worked together, successfully holding onto the highly coveted status of running a three-Michelin-starred restaurant since the 1990s.

Feold’s cuisine is best described as Tuscan/Provencal fusion, applying classical French gastronomic principles and techniques to excellent local produce and ingredients. Unmissable highlights include wild sea bass, mushroom and shallot zabaione, the double breast of pigeon with liver sauce, and Feold’s divine young roasted duck with apple ravioli and a walnut and ginger sauce. The setting is similarly refined: a 15th-century Florentine Palazzo updated with clean, stylish modern décor and, conversely, antique furniture. It is an exceptional restaurant and a must for that special occasion. Open Tuesday-Saturday in the evenings.

Via Ghibellina, 87, 50122, Florence

Price: Expensive

Il Palagio del Four Seasons

Il Palagio del Four Seasons

The signature restaurant of what is undoubtedly Florence’s best hotel serves exquisite, seasonal cuisine in the most luxurious surroundings. Indeed, it’s worth a visit for the setting alone. A spectacular vaulted ceiling dining room lends the restaurant a suitably opulent air, with large French doors opening up to the city’s best outdoor dining terrace, offering views of the stunning hotel gardens. Recently awarded one Michelin star, executive chef Vito Mollica focuses on crafting inventive, modern Italian cuisine without adopting the tricksy, over-experimental approach of some of his peers in the fine-dining world.

His menu naturally changes with the seasons, but standout dishes include his ricotta cheese and zucchini raviolini with tomato sauce, the fried veal sweetbread on a zucchini and mint cream, and the utterly delectable Bellini’ almond tartlet with white peach – our favorite dessert in Italy. Oenophiles always leave with a broad smile: the restaurant has one of Tuscany’s most extensive wine cellars. It offers everything from Super Tuscans to more affordable options by the glass – magnifico! (Open every day for lunch and dinner, Il Palagio also offers a Sunday brunch between June-October 12-and 3 pm)

Borgo Pinti, 99, 50121, Florence

Price: Expensive


Restaurant Ora d'Aria

This intimate and elegant restaurant is the benchmark for Florentine fine dining. Tuscan Chef Marco Stabile is one of the region’s greats, having been awarded his first Michelin star in 2011; we are sure that a second or third star will follow. His highly innovative but always delicious food combines the traditional and the unexpected; Tuscan old-style beef re-cooked in winter tomato, parsley, and artichoke is just one of the many star attractions. In line with Stabile’s modern take on local cooking, the setting is minimalist chic, with grey and white décor complemented by contemporary artworks from a famous local gallery.

But perhaps the unique aspect of this super venue – apart from the cooking – is its name, meaning ‘hour of air.’ Its origins relate to the restaurant’s previous location, opposite a prison where the owners would observe prisoners taking their mandatory exercise hour, hence how the name Ora d’Aria was born. Today, you’ll find this legendary restaurant in a more central location behind the Uffizi Gallery, serving such delights as home-made tagliolini with guinea fowl and goat cheese or perhaps potato and walnut gnocchi with black truffle and clam. As you’d expect, the wine list is long and varied, showcasing Tuscany’s finest wine estates—open lunchtimes Tuesday-Saturday and for dinner Monday-Saturday.

Via dei Georgofili,11R
50122, Florence

Price: Expensive

Il Santo Bevitore

Arrive early or make a reservation to claim a table at this highly regarded and trendy restaurant. Packed every weekend with both locals and visitors in the know, Il Santo’s cuisine isn’t overly complicated or inventive; it’s just downright delicious and perfectly executed! Run by the effortlessly charming couple Marco and Martina Baldesi and Stefano Sebastiani, the restaurant prides itself on only selecting the finest, freshest seasonal produce, handpicked by Head Chef Claudio Salvadori from local Tuscan markets. His cooking is all heart and soul: Mediterranean-inspired dishes such as purple cabbage soup with mozzarella cream, leg of rabbit with prunes, and coffee crème brûlée served with a moreish helping of rum ice cream. The setting and service are also marvelous: foodies dine by candlelight in a vaulted, whitewashed dining room attended by professional, courteous, and devoted staff.

Via Santo Spirito, 66r, Florence

Price: Mid-range

Il Desco

Il Desco boasts one of the finest locations in Florence: nestled in the heart of the city’s historic center, a stone’s throw away from Academia Gallery and the Piazza Duomo. Daily miracles are performed in their small but exceptionally well-stocked kitchen, with fresh produce from the family’s organic farm. Only open during the day for breakfast, lunch, or a light snack, Il Desco is the perfect place for a leisurely lunch after a hectic morning sightseeing, with a delightful summer terrace and street-side tables for the warmer months. In contrast to traditional Tuscan fayre, the food is light, fresh, and a welcome antidote to the heavy food that abounds in Florence.

They pride themselves on their organic produce and offer a gluten-free and vegetarian menu – a rarity in Tuscany! They do excellent, imaginative things with antipasti and pasta; the desserts and coffee are legendary, too. You could start your lunch with Parmesan flan on creamed green beans and confit cherry tomatoes, followed by their divine Lasagna with white meats ragout, and finish with the best apple pie in Tuscany. Service is bright and breezy, the wine selection short but exceptionally well chosen, and if Il Desco has any faults, it’s that they don’t open for dinner. Tables aren’t numerous, so be sure to book in advance – open daily for lunch.

Via Cavour, 27- 50129 Florence

Price: Great value

Il Latini

Restaurant Il Latini

One of Florence’s great family-run trattorias, Il Latini, is seldom anything less than wholly packed to capacity; it is undoubtedly the city’s nosiest, most crowded, and most entertaining trattoria! Your host, the genial Torello Latini, puts serious energy into ensuring that all his guests are having a great time – aficionados of hushed, stuffy fine dining venues should avoid Il Latini at all costs. But you’ve come to the correct address if you want hearty, tried, and tested delicious Tuscan dishes.

There are no menus; the owners will suggest a delicious selection of antipasti, pasta, and meat dishes, which are guaranteed to be delicious. The restaurant started as a family kitchen, serving home cooking to eager patrons in the nearby cellars of Palazzo Rucellai. Today, a lively crowd enjoys timeless Tuscan classics – you must try the Bisteca Florentine, the best in the city. The wine offering is extensive and reasonably priced, and the staff is professional, engaging, and remarkably efficient, considering the enormous demands on their time. Make sure to reserve a table far in advance; Il Latini is closed on Mondays.

Via dei Palchetti 6/r (Palazzo Rucellai), 50123, Florence

Price: Mid-range


Restaurant Casalinga

Nowhere in Florence does excellent food at value prices better than Casalina; the name incidentally means ‘housewife.’ Florentines and tourists flock to this ‘old-fashioned and proud of it’ local trattoria, which has been serving delicious home-cooking to a satisfied audience for decades, including the best ribollita in Florence. Indeed, style, ethos, and cooking have changed little over the years, but why mess with a winning formula?

Casalinga represents the quintessential trattoria experience in Italy; paintings clutter the walls, you’re barely a conversation away from your neighbor’s table, and the place is always jammed. It is a beautiful and delightfully unpretentious venue serving large portions of Tuscan classics in a convivial setting. The antipasti alone are enough to swoon over, but leave room for the divine cannelloni, their signature Bisteca Florentine, and the crowd-pleasing lemon sorbet. Service is prompt and friendly, and waiters are always on hand to help visitors decipher those Italian menus! Casalinga is open for lunch and dinner, Monday to Saturday (Closed on Sundays)

Via Michelozzi 9r, 50125, Florence

Price: Great value


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Genevieve Mc Carthy

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