When most of us dream about an Italian vacation, food inevitably enters the scene pretty quickly. Hand-tossed pizzas, soul-warming soups, deli meats that would put your standard cold cuts to shame. Whether you’re a meat eater or a vegetarian, a foodie or just a person with a big appetite, you’ll eat well while vacationing in Italy.
Florence is credited by many as the birthplace of true Italian cuisine. From casual, budget-friendly paninotecas (sandwich shops) to upscale ristorantes, the abundance of dining options is delightful. Here are some of our top picks that are sure to delight:
Zoe Bar, via dei Renai 15
If you’re looking for lighter fare or a meat-free meal, Zoe Bar will not disappoint. They offer up a dozen or more salads for lunch every day, which is a welcome change from the heavier options that tend to dominate most menus around town. At night time the scene shifts dramatically into a club and bar.
All’Antico Vinaio, via de Neri 65r
This paninoteca is perhaps the most popular in all of Florence, with simple sandwiches attracting hundreds of patrons each day. Warm bread stuffed with grilled veggies, homemade sauces, and traditional Italian meats are all it takes to satiate the biggest appetite.
Osteria delle Tre Panche, via Antonio Pacinotti 32r
The exquisite flavor of truffles are the center of several notable menu items at this small and inviting osteria, including potatoes, tortellini, and even beef tartare. Don’t miss your chance to mingle with locals while eating some truly inspired cuisine at this lovely spot.
Ete Bistro, via Faenza 55r
This bistro’s sweet sampling platters are best enjoyed when shared by friends and accompanied by a bottle of wine. Opt for the traditional charcuterie selection if meat is your thing, or try their unique honey-cheese offering for something extra special and unique.
l’ Pizzacchiere, via San Miniato 2/1
As if you could come to Florence without eating pizza a few times. Skip over the more touristy spots and head over to l’ Pizzacchiere for a margherita pizza, then finish off the meal with a Nutella-stuffed dough dessert. Delizioso!
Enoteca Pitti Gola e Cantina, Piazza Pitti 16
Wine connoisseurs and casual wine drinkers equally enjoy this upscale wine tasting venue that sits directly on the Piazza Pitti, which makes for excellent people watching as you sample Italian sourced Sangiovese, Nebbiolos, and Pinot Grigios.
Trattoria La Casalinga, via del Michelozzi 9
You won’t leave hungry after visiting this humble trattoria, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013. With its family-friendly atmosphere and huge portions, you’ll swear someone’s grandmother is in the kitchen doing all the cooking.
Gelateria La Carraia, Piazza Nazario Sauro 25
It won’t be hard to indulge your sweet tooth on a daily basis while vacationing in Florence thanks to the abundance of gelaterias throughout the city. Cross the Arno River for some lovely views to pay a visit to La Carraia and you might even convince yourself the walk will be enough to burn off the calories you’re about to consume.
Among its many charms, Florence is one place in the world where no guest goes hungry and no bottle of wine goes unopened. Expect to meet friendly people, eat fantastic food, and enjoy a more relaxed pace than what you’re used to back home. While planning your trip, don’t skip the all-important step of signing up for Italian lessons. You’ll have an even better time in Florence when you can pick up on conversations around you, chat with the locals, and experiment with new menu items as you eat your way through town.