previous page: Q6.10 What is the difference between mozzarella and fiordilatte?
page up: Italy FAQ
next page: Q6.12 Where can I go out for food and beer in Milan (Milano)?

Q6.11 Where is a good restaurant in Florence?


This article is from the Italy FAQ, by Gianluigi Sartori gg@angel.stanford.edu, Paolo Fiorini fiorini@telerobotics.jpl.nasa.gov with numerous contributions by others.

Q6.11 Where is a good restaurant in Florence?

Last modified: March 14 1994

Eating Out in Florence

by David Alexander and Rossella Rossi-Alexander

There are, of course, hundreds of restaurants in Florence: the
Guida rapida of the Touring Club Italiano lists a selection of 48
and the Michelin Guide to Italy mentions 35. But despite these
recommendations, there is still a high risk that the stranger to
Florence will end up in a place that is outrageously expensive and
thoroughly uncharacteristic. The city's great paradox is that the
tourists and the Florentines seem to inhabit separate worlds, but
in the same physical space. Where do local people go out to eat?
Here are some of their favourite locales: to find them, purchase a
good city map from any newspaper stand and see the yellow pages of
the telephone directory if in need of further directions.

Let's start at the top. If one has just won the lottery and
has about 300,000 lire to spend on a dinner to remember, one would
go to Enoteca Pinchiorri or to Ristorante Sabatini in the heart of
the city. The former offers a superb collection of wines, the
finest international cuisine and a historical setting, and the
latter is strongly dedicated to Florentine cullinary traditions.

At the other end of the scale some remarkably good cheap
restaurants are concealed at strategic points around the city. For
example, Ristorante Cibreo can be found in a very picturesque
setting at the side of the Mercato di Sant'Ambrogio. The restaurant
itself is very expensive, but at lunchtime one can go around to the
back door and dine in a tiny room next to the kitchen, sharing a
table with the habitus. The inzimino (squid and spinach in a hot
sauce) is excellent: so is the cibreo, an ancient Florentine dish
made with offal. In the vicinity of Santa Croce, half way down Via
di Mezzo, is a modest building with frosted glass windows in which
one can find the Trattoria da Alessi, which offers the very best
Florentine food at the very lowest prices. There is no sign
outside: one has to know where it is or ask a local resident, but
it is well worth discovering. Alessi once ran an up-market
restaurant, but he closed it in order to run a cheap and cheerful
"hole in the wall," full of local character. The food is utterly
Florentine (Alessi has researched the city's archives for good
mediaeval recipes) and utterly genuine. As with the Cibreo, it pays
to arrive at 12.30 or 7.00 p.m. (very early, that is) as both
places fill up with customers as soon as they open.

The Trattoria Ada (in front of the Campo di Marte railway
station) is one of the best things about Florence. It is run by a
single, but very numerous, family. The minestra di farro (pearl
barley soup from Lucca) is superb, and the prices are reasonable by
Florentine standards. A number of local customers eat there every
day! In more central locations, the Trattoria Tito offers
dependable Florentine food, and the Trattoria da Cesare serves a
very good baccala' (salt cod) on Fridays. The Ristorante Vegetariano
in Via delle Ruote (off Via San Gallo) is excellent for macrobiotic
food: on entering for the first time one acquires an annual
membership card for a nominal sum which is easily recouped on the
low cost of the meal (the daily menu is chalked up on a blackboard
at the entrance and one writes one's own check). Likewise, after
one has payed a tiny fee for membership, the Associazione Miro' at
Via San Gallo 57/59 offers cheap local dishes in very pleasant
informal surrounds.

And now to the Oltrarno, the other side of the river.
Ristorante Omero, at Arcetri in the hills above Florence, has a
very good reputation and is usually thronged with local people,
though it is not cheap. Beneath the Forte Belvedere, and accessible
by the steps that run down from the southwest side of Piazzale
Michelangelo, is the fairly expensive Ristorante La Beppa, which
has a very good reputation. On the down-market side, the popular
Trattoria Nello in Borgo San Frediano is the best place to soak up
the real Florentine atmosphere of the artisan's quarter. The more
expensive Il Drago Verde in Borgo San Frediano is also highly

Thanks to mass tourism, many of the restaurants in the city
centre are overpriced and disappointing. But some are very good. We
recommend: La Maremmana, Il Pennello, La Casa di Dante,
Del Fagioli, and Il Latini. In the quartiere San Lorenzo, Il Girone
Infernale offers much better food than was served up in Dante's
Inferno. Next door to each other at the Mercato Centrale di San
Lorenzo the trattorie Da Mario and Zaza' are both worth patronizing.
The Acqual'due in Via dell'Acqua is a very good place to relax
until the small hours and to eat stuzzicchini, the characteristic
Florentine snacks.

Lastly, pizzerie. The ones dedicated to the tourist trade are
awful, but we recommend several others. I Tarocchi in Borgo San
Niccolo' is very good, as is the pizzeria in the beautiful Piazza
Santo Spirito. In Borgo San Lorenzo there are many, including Nuti,
one of the oldest Florentine eateries. Alternatively, one can get
the no. 7 bus from Piazza San Marco to the main piazze at Fiesole,
where there is an excellent pizzeria. Bus tickets, for 1100 lire
per journey or 4000 lire for four trips (un biglietto multiplo
dell'ATAF), can be bought from bars.

Happy eating!

Trattoria Ada, Viale Mazzini (Stazione Campo di Marte); lunchtimes
only, closed Fridays
Trattoria Alessi, Via di Mezzo (Santa Croce)
Ristorante La Beppa, Via Erta Canina 6 (San Niccolo'); closed
Trattoria da Cesare, Viale Spartaco Lavagnini
Trattoria Cibreo, Via dei Macci (Mercato S. Ambrogio); weekday
lunchtimes only
Ristorante Omero, Via Pian dei Giullari 11 (Arcetri); closed
Tuesdays and all of August
Enoteca Pinchiorri, Via Ghibellina 87; closed Sundays, Monday
lunchtimes and all of August.
Ristorante Sabatini, Via Panzani 41; closed Mondays
Trattoria da Tito, Via San Gallo


Continue to:

previous page: Q6.10 What is the difference between mozzarella and fiordilatte?
page up: Italy FAQ
next page: Q6.12 Where can I go out for food and beer in Milan (Milano)?