best restaurants in florence italy

Florence is rich with flavors. (Photo: Getty Images)

Eat + Drink

Where to Mangiare Like a Local in Florence

You are all set to dive into the culinary extravaganza the city of Florence has to offer, but where to start? With trendy hot spots, iconic mainstays, markets and more, it can be frustrating to do the research and make sure to end up in the right place. Not anymore.

Check out seven foodie favorites you’re sure to find molto buono.

Trattoria Zà Zà

This cozy trattoria delivers one of the best bistecca in town. The traditional Florentine steak is the number-one dish to try during any Tuscan stay . Though it is hard to find a good one, “especially in the city center,” locals say.

Located right in Piazza del Mercato Centrale, Trattoria Zà Zà is the exception.

The family-run trattoria has come a long way from its original five tables, first set in 1977, to the hundreds available today. Yet quality is guaranteed considering the conspicuous amount of people found clinking glasses under the same painted vaults every day.

Alla Vecchia Bettola

This local eatery will feel like your Italian home away from home. Childhood sweethearts Loriana and Carlo, together with their children, have created one of the coolest and coziest trattorias in the city’s San Frediano neighborhood. Stop by to sit on a wood bench and rub shoulders with locals.

Everything from pasta to meatballs and parmigiana will leave a long-lasting impression on your taste buds, which — no matter how much you’ve eaten — will be ready for the tiramisu come dessert time.

Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura

Undoubtedly one of the trendiest openings the city has seen recently, Gucci Osteria is located inside the 14th-century Palazzo della Mercanzia, which overlooks Florence’s most famous square, Piazza della Signoria.

Dishes include unmistakable Parmigiano-Reggiano-filled tortellini, buttery cacio e pepe, a fancy-pants burger and Chianina hot dog.

Behind the restaurant’s green-walled, 50-seat interior stands Michelin-starred Chef Massimo Bottura, who became a darling of the culinary world with his acclaimed Modena-based Osteria Francescana.

Mercato Sant’Ambrogio

best restaurants in florence italy
Shop like a local. (Photo: Getty Images)

Arrive early to this traditional mercato Mondays through Saturdays to fully embrace the experience of walking around an Italian fresh produce market.

Don’t be in a rush to browse around the meat, cheese, fruit and veggie stands. Rather, take it as an opportunity to talk to vendors, do some tastings and possibly walk away with a special recipe as well as a bag full of specialties.

Ciblèo Ravioli and Tortelli

Chef Fabio Picchi adds a hint of Japanese and Korean flair to Tuscan food at Ciblèo Ravioli and Tortelli. The secret of his Tuscan-Asian fusion cuisine is mixing Italian ingredients with traditional Eastern cooking and preparation.

His interest in Asian cuisine was piqued in 1988 when Picchi first fell in love with a small restaurant while in Kyoto. After working in Japan for five years, he came home to Italy with a seed of the Far East deep inside of him and ultimately opened the cozy, 16-seat Ciblèo.

Giotto Pizzeria-Bistrot

best restaurants in florence italy
The chef at work. (Photo: Courtesy of Giotto Pizzeria-Bistrot)

What kind of pizza do you like?

Those who have traveled to Italy before know there are multiple answers to this question. Luckily, the city of Florence offers a solid array of Neapolitan, by-the-slice, traditional and gourmet pizzerias.

Special mention goes to Marco Manzi at Giotto, which — thanks to Manzi’s pizza heaped with mozzarella cheese, organic walnuts, lardo di Colonnata (a type of charcuterie), aged acacia honey and olive oil — has been oft featured as one of Italy’s top pizzerias.

L’Antico Trippaio

The lampredotto sandwich is to Florence street food what tacos are to Mexico City.

Religiously savored along the city sidewalks, the king of all Florentine panini is made with tripe that’s boiled in broth with herbs and tomatoes, cut into strips and served in a bun, topped with salsa verde and spicy extra-virgin olive oil.

Declaring the best trippaio (tripe seller) in town is almost impossible, but locals consider L’Antico Trippaio, located in Via dei Cimatori, a true landmark (check with a local to make sure there are no active bans on eating on the street before doing so).