There are thousands of restaurants in Florence, so how do you choose the few to try during your short time here? From panini shops to breakfast stops to mom and dad approved restaurants, my list of the top 10 must-try restaurants in Florence should make it a little easier for you – at least until you check all of them off. Then it’s up to you to find your own favorites!
- All’Antico Vinaio
There’s always a line outside of this place for a reason! Just five Euro gets you a freshly made panino (panino is singular; panini is plural) stuffed with the delicious and local ingredients of your choice. There is a menu of their most popular options at the entrance, but if you’re feeling inventive, you can also create your own. Honestly, I can’t even choose a favorite here because I rotated between all of their panini on an almost daily basis (I was lucky enough to live around the corner). “La Boss” (prosciutto, pecorino cheese and truffle spread) was my go-to, but you really can’t go wrong!
Via dei Neri, 74/R, 50100 Firenze, Italy
- Gusta Pizza
While the historic center of Florence is busier, more populated and home to more tourist attractions, “Oltrarno” (the other side of the river) has a unique charm and attractions of its own. One of these attractions is Gusta Pizza – the only pizza I would walk across a river for. This Neapolitan style pizzeria offers about a dozen daily options, all made with the freshest ingredients from Napoli. All are delicious, but the specials, made daily, are to die for. The pesto and mozzarella pizza is only on special and you never know when it will be available, but when you trek across the Arno and you are lucky enough that it is – you absolutely have to try it! I guarantee you will return again and again in the hopes of seeing it on the specials board.
Via Maggio, 46/red, 50125 Firenze, Italy
- Osteria Santo Spirito
Located in the same Piazza as Gusta Pizza, this restaurant is also well worth the walk across the river. Osteria Santo Spirito has the best outdoor seating area for people-watching in Piazza Santo Spirito and is known for its decadent truffle gnocchi. My favorite dish here, however, is the Rigatoni Napoletani. It’s a simple recipe – just rigatoni pasta with garlic and tomato sauce and covered with ricotta salata cheese but it is absolutely incredible. I have never had anything that was less than delicious at Osteria Santo Spirito! (Tip: Any primi you get – order the half portion. It is almost the same amount of food but for half the price!)
Piazza Santo Spirito, 16/R, 50125 Firenze, Italy
- Trattoria 13 Gobbi
Not only is this restaurant adorable inside, with lots of exposed brick, unique artwork and photographs and wine bottles everywhere, but the food is also delicious. It is tucked away on a side street just two blocks away from the Arno and a few bridges past the Ponte Vecchio. My recommendation is one of the most popular dishes– Rigatoni 13 Gobbi. It’s the perfect dish for cheese and pasta lovers – and it’s written in bright red on the menu so you can’t miss it!
Via del Porcellana, 9R, 50123 Firenze, Italy
- 4 Leoni
Popular among tourists and Florentines alike, 4 Leoni is located just on the other side of the Ponte Vecchio. It has a large outdoor seating area perfect for spring weather and is cozy inside for the winter months. My favorite dish at 4 Leoni is the Fiocchetti di pera (pear ravioli). I know, it sounds weird at first but trust me the combination works and it is creamy and rich enough to fill you up but light enough that you will finish every last bite!
Via de’ Vellutini, 1r, 50125 Firenze, Italy
- La Giostra
This restaurant, founded by a Hapsburg prince, is just as popular with celebrities (think everyone from Roberto Benigni to Bruce Springsteen to Angelina Jolie) as it is with Florentines, tourists and study abroad students. It’s on the nicer side so it’s the perfect place to bring your parents when they come visit – just make sure you reserve well in advance. La Giostra is also famous for its pear ravioli (you didn’t believe me that those are a thing, did you?) and the burrata is a great addition to the complimentary appetizers and prosecco you will receive.
Borgo Pinti, 10-18 R, 50121 Florence, Italy
- Le Vespe
Le Vespe is the only restaurant on my list that does not serve Italian food, but once you try it, you will understand why it had to be included. Serving American style food like bagels, smoothies, pancakes and more, Le Vespe is a welcome change when you need a break from the endless pizza and pasta you will find in Florence. Their Sunday brunch is amazing and generally packed but you can head here any day of the week for breakfast or lunch and never be disappointed. My favorites are the Logan (breakfast burrito) and the Via dei Neri, (quesadilla) for lunch. They also have great iced coffee and other coffee drinks as well as larger sizes – perfect for days when a shot of espresso or regular sized cappuccino just won’t cut it.
Via Ghibellina, 76, 50122 Firenze, Italy
- Aqua Al 2
Aqua al 2 is the original location of a restaurant chain that is now also located in Washington DC and San Diego. The restaurant is famous for its killer blueberry steak but is also amazing for pasta lovers. My favorite dish here is the strawberry risotto – another recipe that sounds weird but it is actually the perfect combination of sweet, and creamy. If that doesn’t do it for you or if you are having trouble deciding what to order, try the pasta sampler. The chef chooses 5 different pastas for you (because who can pick just one?!) and each and every one is delicious!
Via della Vigna Vecchia, 40r, 50122 Firenze, Italy
Even if the panini weren’t amazing (which they are) – I would still come here to see Pino, the owner of Salumeria Verdi, better known as Pino’s. Located just past Santa Croce, Pino’s is the perfect place to grab a panino between classes or meet friends for lunch. Pino, his wife and their daughter are just about the sweetest people you’ll meet in Florence and they will make your day as soon as you walk in. My favorite panino is the Turkey Best with spicy sauce but you can’t go wrong with any of the dozens of options on the menu. You can also create your own panino and if Pino loves it, he may even name it after you on the menu! Pino’s isn’t just for panini though – don’t miss out on their homemade pasta. The options change every day, but every pasta I’ve tried was better than the last!
Via Giuseppe Verdi, 36/red, 50122 Firenze, Italy
- Buca Mario
I have to admit, I never tried this place when I studied abroad but when my grandmother, another true foodie like myself, came back from her own trip to Florence raving about Buca Mario, I knew I had to try it when I returned to Florence last fall. When you first walk in, you’ll think you managed to get a reservation at the tiniest and nicest restaurant in Florence, but as you walk toward the back (while being greeted by every single one of the nicest waiters in Florence) you will realize that Buca Mario is actually huge! Any pasta you try will be amazing but grandma had told me that Buca Mario was THE place to try the famous Florentine specialty Bistecca Fiorentina (Florentine steak). I certainly wasn’t disappointed!
Piazza degli Ottaviani, 16r, 50123 Firenze, Italy